Ad boycotts lead to 40% dip in UK social media adspend

Ad boycotts lead to 40% dip in UK social media adspend

The #BlackoutTuesday protests online on 2 June in response to the death of George Floyd hit hardest in the UK, according to the latest Q2 trends report from social media marketing platform Socialbakers.

The impact of the Facebook ad boycott saw ad spend decrease by as much as 40% in the last week of June. By comparison, in North America, spend decreased by 31.6% in the second half of June.

The Socialbakers’ Social Media Trends Report Q2 2020 has shown a return toward pre-pandemic levels in areas such as advertising budgets, cost-per-click (CPC) for paid ads, and the amount of time Facebook users spend online.

Organic video content on social media also grew, offering marketers a high engagement rate with an audience that is working remotely or otherwise locked down at home during the pandemic.

Adspend rises towards prepandemic levels

Around the world, social media adspend increased significantly in Q2 2020. Globally, brands spent 26% more on advertising during Q2 compared to the end of Q1, when budgets were still very much impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Every industry analysed showed an increase in adspend over the last three months. However, at times adspend temporarily declined, likely due to #BlackoutTuesday and the Facebook ad boycott, organised by civil rights and activist groups.

With the boycott expected to last further still, adspend likely will continue to decline in early Q3,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO, Socialbakers.

Facebook users return to pre-pandemic online activity

The data indicates that as communities around the world came out of quarantine, the time they spent online largely returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Relative Facebook interactions dropped from 100% to 50.8% in Q2, before increasing again at the end of the quarter. This decrease was mostly a return to a normal level after an abnormal spike in mid-March.

Fashion brands dominated on Facebook interactions in the UK, with Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing coming out on top, with more than 7,600,000 and 4,200,000 interactions respectively in Q2. The Body Coach came in third, with over 3,800,000, and Netflix trailed just behind with almost 3,650,000.

Instagram dominates in audience size, interactions

Instagram continued its rise in Q2, as the platform expanded its audience and nearly reached its peak for interactions at the end of the quarter.

However, the UK is more in tune with brands on Facebook than other countries: globally, the audience size of Instagram’s top 50 biggest brands profiles is now 31% larger than on Facebook, but in the UK, the figures are almost equal. Engagement is, however, significantly stronger on Instagram, with 18.7 times more interactions than Facebook globally, even though 70.7% of all brand posts appeared on Facebook.

In the UK, interactions are 8.3 times higher, despite 44.5% of brand posts being on Facebook. Again, fashion brands dominate on Instagram in the UK, with Oh Polly garnering almost 25,000,000 interactions versus second place Aston Martin’s 12,500,000. Missguided came in third with over 10,500,000.

Cost-per-click rises worldwide, but still lags year-over-year

Worldwide, the average cost-per-click for online paid ads increased by 55.3% in Q2 2020, after reaching its highest point in early March before the pandemic really hit.

The most dramatic increase took place in South Europe, where CPC rose by 94%. Across all brand accounts, CPC rose by 42.7% in Q2 to $0.107. However, in the main feeds CPC still shows a decline year over year, meaning the opportunity still exists for brands that have the budget to make their message reach a wider audience than it normally would.