#DeleteFacebook May Be Fading, but Deactivations Continue: What Advertisers Should Be Aware Of

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If you’re one of the 5 million businesses that advertises or markets on Facebook, the recent hubbub around the social media’s misuse of user data should be a concern.

Mark Zuckerberg’s recent highly-publicized appearance on Capitol Hill was just another nail in the coffin after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which revealed that personal data was harvested and misused through Facebook.

When this disaster hit the news, tens of thousands of Facebook users — including several high-profile and influential people — began using the hashtag #DeleteFacebook to encourage people to remove their profiles (and personal data) from the social site.

Understandably, if you’ve been investing ad dollars into Facebook, you should have concerns about the effects of this bad press on your advertising results.

What the Data Tells Us: Deactivations Preceded the #DeleteFacebook Trend

As you know, we’re all about the data, so naturally, we started measuring traffic to the Facebook deactivation page after the #DeleteFacebook movement took off.

Interestingly, Jumpshot data shows a spike of traffic to the deactivation page that measured at a 70% increase over the baseline visits to that page. And this spike came two days before the hashtag spiked on Google Trends.

Within 10 days or so, the traffic on the deactivation page returned to about average, but during the Zuckerberg hearings before Congress, there was another pronounced increase in traffic to the deactivation page.

And It’s Not Just Happening in the US

While the 70% spike occurred in the US, ours was far from the only country that saw visits to the deactivation page. Argentina and the UK also saw prominent increases in deactivation page traffic, while Brazil, France, and Mexico saw almost no increase at all.

But Does Visiting the Deactivation Page Mean People Actually Deactivated?

We asked ourselves the same thing, so we also worked out a way to measure how many people who make it to this deactivation page actually follow through and deactivate their account.

There was definitely correlation between visiting the page and completing the actual deactivation process: approximately 89% of the US visitors to that page successfully deactivated their accounts (and about 87% globally).

So we can safely assume that Facebook is seeing a major increase in deactivations as well.

What Does This Mean for Advertisers?

Though once the hype around #DeleteFacebook as a media hot topic died down, many surmised that it hadn’t had as big an impact as expected, there are certainly plenty of Facebook users who abandoned the site without fanfare or hashtag.

For advertisers, this should be of concern, because you may have a smaller targeted audience you can reach through Facebook. Facebook is of course downplaying the impact all the negative press has had on its advertising revenue and user base, but only time will tell how many flee Facebook in the (futile) hopes of finding a social media channel that doesn’t jeopardize and abuse their personal data.

The best thing to do at this point is to pay attention to what happens next and perhaps look for other places to diversify your advertising and marketing efforts, so as to not put all your eggs in the proverbial Facebook basket.

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