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News, Marketing

The Apartment Industry's Calm Response to the Facebook Boycott

July 06, 2020


Facebook advertising has become an important topic in corporate marketing lately with Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, Starbucks and Pfizer halting advertising on the social media platform because of disagreement over how Facebook is monitoring its posts that many consider to be hate speech.

Many smaller companies – including apartment communities – rely on Facebook advertising to be an affordable and often effective method to reach their customers.

Mike Whaling is President of 30 Lines, one of the leading apartment online marketing service providers to apartment communities. He spoke recently about Facebook’s role in apartment marketing.

“We haven't had any clients dial back their spending specifically as part of the hate speech boycott, but we are offering clients the option to redirect their ad spend to other channels if they want,” Whaling says. “Beyond Facebook, we also haven't seen any requests from our multifamily clients to limit sites where programmatic display ads appear.

He says he has had a number of clients who have dialed back their spending across the Facebook platform during the past 18 to 24 months for other reasons.

“One main reason is that Facebook doesn't do enough to protect housing advertisers from discrimination lawsuits. While Facebook places restrictions on how housing ads can be targeted, the way they show users why they're seeing a given ad is confusing and doesn't clearly identify that the advertiser is not targeting ads in a discriminatory way – even when no Fair Housing guidelines have been broken. As a result, many of our clients have moved away from Facebook ads entirely, or they only use these ads for retargeting purposes.”

Parts of the Facebook platform (particularly Instagram, Messenger, Marketplace and Groups) continue to drive organic engagement for many multifamily operators, Whaling says.

“A lot of resident customer service happens in those channels, too,” Whaling adds. “So even as some clients reduce their spending on ads, Facebook remains an important place to connect with and communicate with prospects and residents. Many clients are sharing messages of unity, diversity, and solidarity with their audiences, and Facebook/Instagram is one of the main places where those messages are being shared.”

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash