Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Disney, one of Facebook’s leading advertisers, had quietly slashed its Facebook ad spending, seemingly putting the company in alignment with the #StopHateForProfit campaign and the hundreds of other advertisers that had publicly announced they would refrain from advertising on Facebook during the month of July. But, Disney wasn’t the only major company that stealthily paused advertisements on the platform.
Walmart, GEICO, Allstate, Kellogg’s, Kohl’s, Dell, McDonald’s, Peloton, and Ikea also quietly paused Facebook advertisements in early July. This has been previously unreported and is based on an analysis of industry data, independent research, and conversations with people familiar with the actions. Combined, these nine companies had spent over $335 million on Facebook ads in 2019 according to Pathmatics, a firm that tracks digital spending.
Walmart cutting its spending on Facebook is right on par with Disney slashing its Facebook spending. In 2019, Walmart was Facebook’s second-biggest advertiser, spending well over $145 million on ads. So far this year, Walmart is among the top 15 spenders on Facebook advertising. Walmart’s spending ground to a halt in early July; their last few ads appeared on July 1 and none have run since.
GEICO is currently among the top 35 of Facebook spenders. GEICO briefly paused ads in early June as part of a social media blackout in support of the George Floyd protest; the ads resumed once that blackout period was over. GEICO again paused Facebook ads beginning June 26 and has not run any since. Prior to the pause, GEICO was on track to significantly increase ad spending with Facebook. During the first half of 2020, GEICO had already spent more money on Facebook ads than it did during all of 2019.
The pause may likely lead to a recalibration of GEICO’s investment in Facebook ads.
Allstate has also stopped spending on Facebook. The insurance company’s last few Facebook ads appeared on July 1 and none have run since.
A spokesperson for Kellogg Company confirmed in a statement to Media Matters that the company has paused all ads with Facebook. Kohl’s department store also appears to be refraining from advertising with Facebook; the company has not run any ads on the platform since July 2.
Dell has also apparently paused all Facebook ads; its last ads ran on July 1 and none have appeared since. Beginning June 30, McDonald’s slashed its spending with Facebook. A source with knowledge of McDonald’s action advised Media Matters that the company was in the process of reevaluating its advertising with Facebook.
Both Peloton and Ikea have stopped running ads with Facebook. Ikea has not had any ads running all month. Peloton had a few that ran on July 1, but none since then.
Facebook should expect that advertisers will continue to distance themselves from the platform as long as it refuses to institute real change in response to the Stop Hate For Profit campaign. While Facebook has given tangible, meaningful concessions to bogus right-wing pressure campaigns for years, it has totally failed to address the underlying causes of platform-wide hate, abuse, and damaging disinformation.