The global boycott of Facebook last summer gave us the perfect opportunity to test the true incremental value of paid social marketing spend – with surprising results.
Last July, more than 1,000 companies boycotted Facebook as part of #stophateforprofit. The campaign called on businesses to pause advertising for a month, and major brands – including some of our clients – did just that.
This presented the perfect opportunity for us to A/B test whether Facebook ads actually make a difference on underlying revenue. To find out, we compared sales for the month of the boycott with a prediction of what sales would have been had brands continued to spend with Facebook. We used the last three years of Google Analytics data to produce a prediction.
And the results were so surprising that we had to run the numbers several times to prove it to ourselves:
Incredibly, switching off Facebook had no discernible impact on bottom line revenues for the brands in the dataset.
So could the money they’re spending on Facebook (globally, in 2019, brands spent nearly $70billion on Facebook ads) be pointless? Could they have earned exactly the same money without wasting this budget?