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Is the Digital Boycott a Radio Opportunity?

July 7, 2020

And the hits just keep on comin’ …

As of this writing, over 350 companies have “paused” their social media campaigns. This does not mean they are halting all of their digital spend. This is being done to get Facebook’s attention about the proliferation of mis-information and hate speech on its platforms.

Companies like Ford, Best Buy, Coca-Cola, and Target are willing to take a stand – and potentially sacrifice sales – in order to change how Facebook, as a digital ecosystem, operates. While Facebook is in no danger of going out of business any time soon, this amount of revenue loss will certainly get its attention.

Is this an opportunity for radio?

As an industry, we have taken quite a hit in both revenue and reputation thanks to the digital spectrum. It would be very easy for us to now point fingers and join the negative chorus.

There is only one problem with that tactic – Facebook/Instagram advertising works. Companies like Pfizer, Adidas, Clorox, and Conagra don’t spend hundreds of millions of dollars in that space because it seems like a good idea. Radio is right in the middle as we offer Facebook marketing in our own suite of digital services.

What radio can do is provide an alternative.

This is a great time for our industry to leap into this void and reacquaint the digital gurus with the power of radio.

We can use this to get our foot in the door with agencies and buyers who are looking at “paused” budgets (and no commissions).

We can educate them about radio’s incredible reach. How radio speaks to its local communities with a voice of credibility.

Radio commercials run. They are not buried below the fold.

Radio commercials work. We have numerous studies to prove that.

And, more importantly, radio commercials run in an environment that is safe for their brand messaging.

We can’t be crass about this. However, we can be opportunistic.

This boycott will not last for long. With so many dollars at stake, Facebook will have to grant some sort of concessions to Microsoft, Pepsi, Unilever, and Hershey’s.

Now is the time for radio to seize this opportunity.

-Steve Allan, Programming Research Consultant