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Today's Topics

3 charts today exploring:

  • The growing boycott of Facebook's advertising platform.
  • How TikTok is dancing its way into the mainstream, after an absolutely mammoth few months of downloads.
A number of major brands have announced in the last week that they'll be hitting pause on their advertising on Facebook - in protest at the platform's handling of hate speech and misinformation. Unilever, adidas, Ben & Jerry's, Ford, Microsoft and The North Face are just a sample of some of the mega brands that have announced boycotts. 

A drop in a big blue ocean

According to CNN, 37 big brands in total have now joined the boycott. It sounds like a lot, but Facebook's total list of advertisers is really, really long. Data from Pathmatics reveals that the 100 largest advertisers on Facebook spent $4.2bn in 2019. So even if every single one of their 100 largest advertisers pulled out, they'd still only lose about ~6% of their advertising revenue. A smattering of 37 brands is unlikely to be huge in relative terms.

So Zuck doesn't need to worry?

Not too much. Facebook is still massively supported by small and medium-sized businesses, that can't necessarily afford to switch off social media marketing. That said, if the boycott keeps picking up steam, that 37 number could get pretty meaningful pretty quickly. The brands announcing a boycott get some free publicity, all while saving on their marketing bill during what's probably a tough time.
Facebook's advertising boycott isn't the only thing they have to worry about as its competition continues to gain traction. TikTok, the lip-syncing and sometimes cringe-inducing social app was downloaded more than 315 million times in the first quarter of 2020. According to Sensor Tower that's the most downloads of any app in a single quarter – ever.

Facebook can be criticised for a number of things – but bad acquisition strategy is not typically one of them. Buying WhatsApp for $19bn in 2014 was a phenomenal sequel to the $1bn acquisition of Instagram in 2012 – which at the time was decried as kind of crazy by a lot of commentators because Instagram had no revenue and just 12 employees.

So it will no doubt frustrate Facebook executives then that they missed TikTok – despite holding talks with them back in 2016. At the time called, TikTok was eventually snapped up by Chinese company ByteDance for $800m in 2017 - which after some phenomenal growth now works out at an acquisition price of about ~$1 per active user.

The fountain of youth

If your parents have been cramping your style on Facebook – you go where they aren't – and they aren't probably on TikTok. Almost 70% of TikTokers are under the age of 25. Just 30% of Facebook users are. The most famous TikToker is Charli D'Amelio. She has almost 67 million followers – and just turned 16.
Of course, the grass is always greener, because despite being a lot 'cooler' than Facebook - TikTok is actually desperately trying to grow up and appeal more to adults... and of course brands which they can eventually monetise.

While TikTok may have had a stand-out first quarter, the second isn't going quite so well. India has just banned TikTok, along with 58 other apps, that it believes are 'prejudicial to [the] sovereignty and integrity of India'. Whether the ban is linked to the recent flare-up in tensions between India and China, or simply just the next chapter in concerns over TikTok's aggressive collection of personal data is unclear.

Data Snacks

1) Lululemon has announced they are acquiring home exercise start-up Mirror, in a deal worth $500m. The product video kind of creeps us out for some reason, but the reviews look pretty good.

2) 2 lawsuits against Harvey Weinstein are going to be settled for $18.9m according to the New York Attorney General.

3) It's officially halfway through 2020. That's it, that's the whole data snack. Second half has to be better right?

4) 83 tonnes of gold bars were used as collateral for billions of dollars of loans to Wuhan Kingold Jewelry Inc. – the only problem was that some of those gold bars turned out to just be gilded copper.

5) Dr. Fauci (remember him?) has warned that COVID-19 cases in the US could hit 100,000 per day.

6) The University of California San Francisco has admitted it paid $1.14m to hackers who were threatening to spread malware on their system, after a negotiation over the dark web.

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