GM is Pulling their Facebook Ads – Should You?

As you may or may not have heard by now, GM recently came out and said it is pulling their $10M spend from Facebook ads.

Gasp!

What do you mean an advertiser like GM is pulling their spend!?

Does this mean other advertisers will follow?

Does this mean we should stop using Facebook ads?

Whoa whoa whoa…

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Before we drive ourselves all crazy and pile on the “it’s time to jump off the Facebook ship”, let’s take a step back and put things in perspective.

Chump Change

GM’s spend on Facebook ads reportedly represents about ~0.5% of their total advertising budget.  If $10M is 0.5%, you do the math.  It’s chump change for GM.

And, what many people don’t know is that GM is reportedly trying to cut $2B (yes, that’s billion, with a “B”) in marketing costs over the next five years.  They even came out a few days after their Facebook ads announcement and said they’re not going to buy Super Bowl ads next year.

Congrats GM, you’ve just removed yourself from likely the biggest televised event for car marketing and the largest social media platform in the world, with 900 million people (and growing) in one fell swoop.

Too Big To Ignore

So why doesn’t this move freak me out in terms of my business?

Ford’s head of social media, Scott Monty, hits the nail on the head, I think.

In a recent article in USA Today, he said:

“We can’t judge GM’s decision. We’re just focusing on what’s right for us. When you have 900 million people on Facebook and 500 million log in every day, it’s just too big to ignore.”

Exactly.

I get what GM is trying to do in cutting costs, and can even understand where they’re coming from, but are they making the smartest choices?

Precarious Timing

I don’t want to set off conspiracy theory alarms but the timing of GM’s announcement is a little odd, don’t you think?

They had to have known they were going to pull their Facebook ad budget for some time, but yet they decided to do it a few days before Facebook’s IPO.  That’s a little odd to me.

Did GM have an axe to grind with Facebook?

Maybe…

Reports have surfaced this week that GM wasn’t very happy after asking Facebook if they could run “bigger, higher-impact ad units” than what they currently run in the Marketplace area on Facebook.  They apparently wanted to run full-page ad takeovers and Facebook rejected it.

As a Facebook member, I’m glad it was rejected and hey, good for Facebook for protecting the user experience and for not allowing full-page ad takeovers!

But less hurrah-ing from me.  Let’s get to how this affects you and your campaigns.

How is GM Measuring Their Campaign’s Success?

All of this begs the question — how is GM measuring the success of their Facebook ads?

In my years of experience doing online ad sales, the process goes like this:

Primarily, in most online advertising outside of Facebook, auto companies run ads that drive people (no pun intended… maybe a little) from their ads to their website.  The auto companies then want those people to do something on the website like “Request a Quote” for a car or “Locate a Local Dealer.”  All actions that will hopefully result in selling a car.

If their ad campaign is efficient in getting people to take these actions, the campaign is likely deemed a success.

But is advertising on Facebook the same as what GM does elsewhere online?  Should it be measured the same?

My opinion?  No and no.

Let’s face it.  Someone isn’t likely going to click on a Facebook ad and order a car.  Nor do I think GM should gauge success based on the amount of people they’re sending to their website from their Facebook ads.

Rather, they’d be better served to focus on using Facebook ads to build a thriving community of people who are passionate about GM cars. People that want to talk about GM and share their passion with their friends. That’s the real power of Facebook.

They can interact with their community every day in a fun and engaging way.  With this trust, they can then offer their marketing messages, and ultimately sell cars.

What You Can Learn From All of This and Why You SHOULD Be Advertising On Facebook

The silver lining in all of this is that there’s a lot we can learn and apply to our own Facebook advertising.

1) Be very clear about your objectives and set realistic goals for your Facebook campaigns.

  • Knowing what you want to accomplish with your ad campaign should be your first priority.  You’re wasting your money otherwise.
  • Your targeting, type of ad, landing page, headline, ad copy, and image are all a result of the goal of your campaign.
  • Do you want to increase Likes on your page?  Collect email opt-ins?  Sell products?  Brand your business?
  • Have a clear plan in place based on your goal and how you’re going to measure it.

2) Create unique promotions that people can only get on Facebook

Something I think GM could have done a better job of is offering Facebook-only promotions.

  • How cool would it be for GM to incentivize people with discounts that are only available on Facebook?
  • How about “Facebook Fridays” where people can share a story about their GM car in order to get a coupon code for a free oil change?
  • What if when a GM dealer sold a car, they took a picture with the new owner and posted it on GM’s Facebook page?  The dealer then offers the new owner $100 for every person they referred back to the dealership.

Programs like these can then be advertised to tens of millions of people on Facebook.

Ford used Facebook to launch their 2011 Explorer.

They launched a CAR on Facebook.

This is more along the lines of how GM should be thinking, wouldn’t you say?

It’s modern advertising for a modern world.  With the advancements in technology, people just don’t shop the way they used to.

You’re not going to sell skinny jeans like they sold acid-wash Jordache jeans.

You have to change the way you advertise as the perspective of the world changes.

3) Build a qualified/engaged community of Fans on your Facebook page

Regardless of your goal, if you are advertising on Facebook you should also focus on building a community of qualified and engaged Fans on your Facebook page.

…speaking of which, have you Liked our Facebook page yet? Facebook.com/irockpaidtraffic Just sayin’…

This means providing great content every day, multiple times per day.  Great content can include videos, images, questions, quotes, articles, stats, etc.

The key is ENGAGING with your Fans.  Facebook, like other forms of social media, is all about open, transparent communication with people.

The more engaged you are with your Fans the more trust you will earn from them.

Trust = more sales. Period.

When it comes down to it, you have to remember that Facebook is all about the people; the community.  You’re selling to “friends.”

When you make your audience your friend, they’ll feel like they won when you make a sale.

THAT’S what you should be focusing on:

Make people happy, make a lot of money.

Simple as that.

**********

As you know, there have been a TON of changes to Facebook’s ad platform.  The ads – specifically the way you create them – are completely different from what it was a few months ago.

That’s why I’m psyched to be preparing to release the second edition of “Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Started with Facebook Ads.”

With this edition, I’ve taken the wealth of responses from my recent survey and have addressed the most pressing concerns throughout the text.

More to come soon on the release date.

Stay tuned!

Leave a reply