As the dust settles on this summer’s Facebook boycott, we look back at the issues that brought this into being, and by looking ahead at various scenarios we hope to help you make an informed decision as to how you put together your marketing plans in this light.

Prominent brands and civil rights groups have led the charge for a July 2020 boycott of Facebook ads, claiming that Facebook has tolerated racism and hate speech and “turned a blind eye toward voter suppression on their platform.” These groups want to see changes implemented to Facebook and are organizing under the hashtag #StopHateForProfit.

This was unprecedented and sent shockwaves across the business landscape.

Previously we have examined this from the consumer perspective, but what does it mean for you as a business?

Consider this: Facebook and Instagram platforms are likely to collect 23.4% of U.S. digital ad revenue this year, second only to Alphabet Inc.’s Google and far ahead of its next closest rival,, Inc., according to research firm eMarketer.

Whatever your views on these issues, it’s important to make an informed decision about how your business will approach this boycott. The experts from suggest the following steps if you decide to look at alternatives to Facebook ads.

  • Have an SEO professional help optimize your PR and social content so that you retain lasting value from your PR efforts. They can also provide baseline brand search volume reporting. That way, you can anecdotally measure increased brand search volume — and thus brand awareness and conversion intent resulting from all these upper-funnel tactics.
  • Coordinate with your paid media team to ensure you have the proper pixels on your site to assess conversions and track visitors for retargeting.
  • Sync with your email team to drive email sign-ups from site traffic generated by awareness tactics. This will fuel both your email marketing and custom audience lists to give conversion-focused paid media retargeting a boost.

If you’re one of the businesses that have decided to leave Facebook and its sister site Instagram in the short term (or even longer), there are other social media options for you including TikTok, YouTube, Reddit and Snapchat — all of which have a large reach with Gen Z and Millennials.

According to Digiday, TikTok has extended an olive branch to new advertisers, offering free ad credits in the hopes of convincing small- to medium-sized businesses (Facebook’s core advertising constituents) to try TikTok for the first time.

Meanwhile, here at Baltimore Sun Media we recently had a customer who wished to reach a Millennial audience but wanted to explore other options besides Facebook. We advised a targeted plan across Reddit, and utilizing its highly specific communities or “Sub-Reddits”. This campaign paid dividends and drove an engagement rate as good as Facebook.

On the other hand, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, companies like NorthFace are also likely to increase ad spending with current partners such as Google and Pinterest, Inc. But many brands are also exploring opportunities in affiliate marketing, in which websites get commissions for referring traffic to a brand, and targeting consumers elsewhere around the web, reports the WSJ.

Lastly, brands are exploring the use of streaming TV services, drawn in part by increased viewing during the lockdowns.

No matter how your brand decides to move forward, there many options — and customers — ready to be reached during this uncertain time in our country. People want brands they can trust.