Impact of Ad Boycotts on Facebook Revenue

Goals

To understand how much Facebook could potentially lose as a result of the recent ad boycotts.

Early Findings

Impact of Boycotts

  • Since the launch of Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which aims to hit Facebook's annual $70 billion revenue, over 180 companies joined the boycott campaign.
  • Examples of major companies that have joined the boycott campaign include Unilever, Honda, Verizon, Patagonia, Coca-Cola and Starbucks.
  • Last week, Facebook stock closed with an 8% drop, with a trading volume of 76 million indicating a significant move in the stock.
  • According to an estimation by Bloomberg Intelligence, the boycotts could result in as much as $250 million loss in revenue for Facebook.
  • However, some analysts believe that the impact largely depends on how long the boycott goes on. Some put the worst-case scenario as 10-20% multiplied by the duration of the boycott.
  • If, for example, the boycotts last for three months, an analyst at Wedbush Securities estimates it to be around 25% of the year (as three months is a quarter of a year) multiplied by 20% of ad revenue. In that case, the math gives an estimation of 5% loss of annual revenue--a worst-case scenario.
  • Note that Facebook is projected to grow 10% this year. Thus, a loss of lower than 10% means that the company will still grow at positive rate.

Summary

The initial one-hour research has provided an estimation by Bloomberg in a dollar value and by another analyst in percentage terms. There are, however, different estimations as there are many uncertain factors such as the duration of the boycott. Thus, further research is needed to look into a number of different aspects that drive different estimations.

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