By on May 15, 2012

Happy 28th birthday, Mark Zuckerberg. Your baby is about to go public, but GM still had to rain on your parade by pulling their advertising from Facebook because GM ad men didn’t think it was effective.

The Wall Street Journal explains the move

GM, started to re-evaluate its Facebook strategy earlier this year after its marketing team began to question the effectiveness of the ads. GM marketing executives, including Mr. Ewanick, met with Facebook managers to address concerns about the site’s effectiveness and left unconvinced advertising on the website made sense, according to people familiar with GM’s thinking.

GM is said to spend (or, have spent) about $40 million per year on maintaining a Facebook presence, but only a quarter of that went to advertising. The remainder goes to creating content like fan pages and other social media initiatives, which will still continue. GM’s digital marketing guru Joel Ewanick told the WSJ that he still sees value in these programs, and a statement from GM obtained by Reuters re-affirmed their commitment to this side of the marketing equation.

As much as GM gets singled out in this column, GM may be doing something right in terms of both budgeting and strategy. One report claims that 57 percent of respondents have never clicked on a Facebook ad. For young people who have grown up next to online content and advertising, this number is undoubtedly much higher. This demographic sees these kinds of ads more as background noise than anything of value – or, as marketers would say, “a way to forge an authentic connection with the brand and enter into a conversation with the consumer.”

The bigger leap of faith for GM, and a number of OEMs, is to refine how they interact with consumers via social media. What do Facebook “likes” or Twitter followers really mean in concrete terms? The field of social media has impacted many of us in positive ways, but it’s also create a disproportionate number of charlatan “social gurus” who pitch their dubious knowledge to companies that are afraid of getting left in the dust if the let their Twitter or Facebook pages lie dormant. Ford likes to cite how many millions of “impressions” the Fiesta Movement program got, but sales of the Fiesta have given Ford little reason to throw a party. In fact, GM’s apparently ineffective Facebook campaigns have helped the Cruze outsell the Focus in 2011 (though the Focus is ahead through April, 2012), while the Sonic (which only went on sale last fall) is outselling the Fiesta through April, 2012.

Tout them all you want, but “likes”, “retweets” and “impressions” (perhaps the most ill-defined of them all) are empty metrics that sound great when trying to justify one’s absurd consulting fees, but don’t translate into good products or good profits, the two things that make the automotive world go ’round. Then again, cognitive dissonance is a powerful force.

This story really has bigger implications for Facebook than GM. GM is the third biggest spender on ad dollars in the USA. Their exit may not harm Facebook in the short term, but if big institutional clients keep dropping out, then Zuckerberg’s baby may see some compromised revenue streams. I’m going to take this as a sign of positive changes for GM. Maybe they’re starting to take a closer look at the social media mania that’ stricken other OEMs and realize that it has to be done right, or you will lose them forever. And by them, I mean the people you are trying to bring in, and targeting with marketing initiatives that really need to be axed right this second.

 

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54 Comments on “Generation Why: General Motors Pulls Facebook Ads, Social Media Fever Entering Remission...”


  • avatar
    Botswana

    Wow. This actually makes sense, sure it’s GM?

    I keed! I keed!

    Social media is all the rage with corporations, like offshoring in the early 2000′s. A lot of people see the value, but few are able to use it effectively.

    Ads on Facebook are worthless. I have not once clicked on an ad for Facebook. My son barely uses Facebook and I’m not sure my wife is even aware of the ads. It’s called “Inattention Blindness”, it’s a real thing and keeps ads from being effective on most any webpage.

    However, good for them on keeping up with fan pages. I think those have some value and they’re damn easy to forget when you’ve “liked” something. I’m still getting updates from the Syndicate page even though I hated that game and traded it in after less then a week. I think it’s a much more effective way of building product awareness and reaching interested customers.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      It depends on how they are set up & what the advertiser expects.

      For example, if GM is launching a new car, simply getting an image of it with its name and a catch phrase may be enough for people to know it exists and they can research it if they are in the market. They may not even remember seeing it, but it did its job.

      On the other hand, if they expect people to click the ad, have an IM conversation with a sales associate and schedule a test drive, it’ll be an utter failure.

      What amazes me is how they can spend $30M “maintaining a facebook presence” (non-advertising). Seriously, couldn’t they just hire three people who know what they’re doing to set up profiles, answer questions, cull news & reviews, etc?

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      “Social media is all the rage with corporations, like offshoring in the early 2000′s”

      So was the dot com bubble, sometimes I wish I was 5-10 years older than I am because I could have been working in it making some nice Y2K money and then collecting unemployment during the ‘rebuild’.

    • 0 avatar
      play3rtwo

      ads? adblock+ = no ads

  • avatar
    graham

    Interesting, especially more so considering it’s GM. I’ve had a similar experience with FB ads for my own company, although I’m working with 1/1000th the FB Ad marketing budget GM has been using. Our FB Ads generated a hundred or so “likes” and a few Wall posts (within a targeted reach of about 40,000 FB users) but very few if any direct sales.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Oh, so their OTHER advertizing is effective ? I don’t do facebook, but the last GM commercials that I remember were the Cadillac/Led Zeppelin one, the Cadillacs racing front to rear, and the Like a Rock truck commercials.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      And what do you know – younger people went to the showroom and bought the CTS and Escalade (which were the big sellers during that ad campaign). The ad campaign ran from 2002 to 2007, hardly “bleak” years for the Cadillac brand – if anything the heart of the Renaissance of what was a few years earlier, a dead brand walking (think Lincoln and darn close to what Acura is becoming today). Five years for an ad campaign? In the 21st century? For an automaker?!?! I mean other than Ford Truck Month or the Toyota fall Salesathon I can’t think of too many ad campaigns that last that long in this industry.

      In marketing/advertising circles – the “break through” ad was considered one of the best of that year – and it seemed to move the needle on brand perception.

      If you’re going to evaluate an ad you need to look at it through the eyes of the target customer [INSERT SNARK HERE] not your own eyes.

      I would never buy a Kia Soul for me – but when I saw the first spokesrodent ad to the old school rap of Black Sheep, I knew that Kia had a KILLER ad campaign that was firing a shot right to the heart of their target demographic.

      I’ll give you another example. Toyota is running an ad showing a man in his late 30′s or 40′s, a chiseled, unshaven face right from a manly razor ad, short hair, hands at 10 and 2, smiling on his face, enjoying the power of 200 HP under his right foot, flying fighter planes and galloping horses by his side – oh wait, white horses because this is a hybrid. They never once talk about speeds or feeds just MPGs. But the message is very clear. The Toyota Camry is powerful, and it’s manly to drive it. They are targeting younger buyers than the graying demographic. I look at that ad and think to myself, “ridiculous,” performance car driving people don’t give a crap about MPG (to a point) and my 394 HP car would mop the floor with a SE Camry. But if I look at that through the eyes of the Toyota customer – hey – that’s a good ad. Get a hybrid Camry, its powerful and you’ll enjoy driving it.

      You want a what the Hell were they thinking, everyone in this room should be fired, did we really pay the ad agency for this crap campaign? The initial five personalities Honda Civic ad campaign. The lumberjack with birds in his beard??? The hoodie ninja (the only ad salvaged from the campaign). The giant mall shopping contact lense wearing female overweight monster thing? A CUBICLE ZOMBIE???!?!?! Seriously. A cubicle zombie. Hi. Buy a Honda Civic and you too can be a golfing range ball hitting out of league woman hitting on tired in the morning hate your job cubicle zombie. Ya…that made me want to run out and buy a Civic. And although the Civic Si ad was better – the song choice, actions of the talent, and the visuals made me go – a Honda Civic Si, a total chic car, I would have to be completely emasculated to buy one of these. It was a horrible ad campaign and it landed with a flop to its target market.

      Here is another example of a bad ad. Lincoln was running ads maybe a year ago that highlighted a single feature in the Lincoln sedan (I’m guessing this was an MKZ but not 100% sure – which just goes to show how craptastic the ad was). It highlighted the features in MyFord Touch and had a line on something like a luxury sedan deserves luxury appointments. Holy ass crackers where to begin with this abomination. The person behind the wheel had gray hair, but of course handsome, and appeared to be in his late 50′s. So Lincoln was targeting an older male demographic. Oh gee, they were targeting their existing base. Showing MyFord Touch. Which their existing customer base hates and can’t figure out how to use. Now I’m going to defend the marketing weasels at Lincoln because a craptastic ad like this comes out for two reasons. One – you don’t know who the Hell your customer really is or what they want, so you pick what YOU think is the cool feature, the sizzle of the steak, and run with it. That’s the fault of Ford product management if that happened. Or, second, you don’t have a compelling product to present in the first place, so you grasp at something bright and shiny to show the customer and hope they are dazzled. That also would be the fault of Ford for building a crappy Lincoln.

      One last bad car ad example. The VW Routan ads with Brook Shields. These ads were disturbing. They were disturbing for their target demographic. They were disturbing to watch. By a VW Routan and you will be compelled to breed. Breed I tell you, breed and have more children! More children! Strong children! We shall reign for a thousand years! Seziken zee dumpkoffs! Ess rotten sanka ein scweinen! Beir ess gutten a thozend zelons ess Deutcheland!!! Umm, sorry, sorry, excuse me, got carried away there. The campaign was short lived, and did nothing to aid in Chrysler minivan, sorry VW minivan sales.

      The key to being a good marketer is knowing your target and reaching out to them. It also helps to have a product you can market in the first place (that’s a bigger issue for GM but getting better – and generally getting better for all car makers)

      Gads I’d love to write a column about this stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven Lang

        Great post. Do it. I enjoyed this immensely.

      • 0 avatar
        daveainchina

        pretty good post. you cover a number of the automotive commercials.

        As much as this is about GM, I think this is more about Facebook and I think that Facebook is overhyped and not nearly at the value people seem to feel it is.

        While I’m not the young target market in many ways I am similiar with my IT background and love of gadgets and technology. I’m definitely an early adopter of technology. I ignore web advertising as much as possible and I positively loath advertising that feels it has to intrude into my experience. I make not of the companies doing that and try to remember them so I DON’T purchase from them.

        I do click on ads, not often though, most ads because they are so targeted on the internet I already know what they are going to say, so why should I care about them? I know if I will buy the product 99.999999% of the time before I see the ad. What I NEED to be seeing is ads that aren’t directly aligned to my interests and showing me things that I might not have already seen or though of.

        THAT to me would be smart marketing and frankly right now the way internet advertising is working, it’s the exact opposite. I don’t learn anything new and frequently I’ve already read a review before I even see an ad for a product.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        Lincoln’s still running that same ad campaign. The white haired guy is John Slattery – Roger Sterling from Mad Men. Now, if the ads involved him in character boozing and womanizing his way down the road in some sort of reborn suicide door Continental, it would be genius. Instead, you have an old guy with hipster glasses in a front drive genericar reading ad copy about how infotainment systems are the new definition of luxury. Puke.

        This campaign was an instant failure, and Lincoln’s been milking it for over a year. For as smart as Ford is supposed to be, it’s amazing how utterly out to lunch they are when it comes to their luxury division.

      • 0 avatar

        DaveinChina, what happens most often to me is that I research a purchasing decision, I spend a lot of time thinking about it, and then I decide.

        A day or so after I make my decision and already own the product, ads for it start coming up on my screen!

        A good example of this was Nikon. It was time for me to upgrade my camera. A lucky stock market break got me some money. So I decided to go for the top of the line Nikon D4, a super expensive camera whose marquee feature is being able to take photographs in almost no light at all. So there I was, finding everything I could about the D4 and its cheaper sibling D800. After due consideration, I completed my research and placed the order for the D4.

        Shortly after that, I started seeing ads for Nikon’s D800. I was kinda upset. Why?

        Because you truly cannot get a Nikon D800 (or a D4) for love nor money. The backorder list is months long.

        It seems quite ironic Nikon would spend sizable sums of money to generate demand for the camera, when the only problem with D4/D800 marketing is that they cannot make enough to satisfy demand!

        As for Facebook ads, the real problem is that I’m not at my desired point of purchase. If I want a Nikon D4, and I search Google for it, I am focused on getting that D4. So naturally the “D4 available, just $5,995!” ads are effective.

        But the same ad on Facebook falls flat. Why? Because even if I’m interested in the D4, I’m not focused on buying it. Instead, I’m focused on what my friends are doing. So if I see the ad “Nikon D4! $5,995!”, I might not bother to click.

        Well, I would. Because I’m determined to get a D4. But for any other product? Not a chance.

        On the other hand, Zatarians, a maker of high-quality prepared frozen food products based in New Orleans, had a great Facebook ad campaign. Something like this: “Zatarians :A taste of New Orleans. Have some jazz on us”. I love Jazz. Zatarians makes some fine frozen food products. Of course I clicked, listened to their music, had a good time and gave them their much-deserved like.

        Of course there’s something tricky here. I already buy their Blackened Chicken Alfredo. Am I going to buy more of it thanks to the campaign? Probably not. I will buy it when I feel like eating it, which is pretty often. But at least they have a communications channel to me, so if they want to tell me about a new product, they know I’m disposed to listen to them. That’s arguably worth some free jazz music.

        And that means a Facebook campaign can be effective, especially if this post made a few TTAC readers hungry :).

        But I dunno if this works for cars. Zatarians had a great hook they could use, people’s affection for New Orleans and Jazz. Do people have enough affection for GM for an ad campaign to work? Tough one.

        D

      • 0 avatar
        chicagoland

        The Lincoln ads use actor John Slattery, of the Mad Men. He happens to have gray hair and is “only” 48. Don’t automattically assume grey=old=hates technology, kids.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        “Don’t automattically assume grey=old=hates technology”

        I agree, I’m 30, work in IT, and I pretty much hate all technology post 2003. Nothing has really impressed me since LCD monitors (later televisions, same tech), CD Burners, PS2, and USB 2.0 came out. Myspace/Facebook/Groupon/Digital cable/smart phones/Vista/Win7/Ipad/phone/pod are all pretty stupid, and touch pads/talking computer/GPS navigation in a car are a natural evolution of 90s tech. Wake me when they build a new Continental or failing that, a real Cadillac.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “…but sales of the Fiesta have given Ford little reason to throw a party.”

    How many “Likes” does the Powershift have on Facebook?

  • avatar
    aristurtle

    Looks like Facebook’s bubble is popping before the IPO, instead of immediately after, as I predicted.

    What a shame.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    It will be interesting to see if the mass media picks up this story prior to the FB IPO. I’d be surprised. While this is a good move for GM, their usual pattern says they’ll more than offset it with something completely inane. Cold calling cell phone users to sell them Silverados maybe?

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    FB is a terrible place for businesses who shouldn’t be relying on someone else to build their communities. Build a site that you control. Then make it work for your likely customers. Then make them want to do more business with you because you really are their “friend” and they really do “like” you.

    PS You have to run the rest of your business right as well. That should be a given, but sadly I felt I needed to point it out, so…

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Outside of anomalies like Toyota City, businesses are pretty much forced to rely on communities built by others.

      One thing that is nice about FB, is how much people reveal about themselves there. With experience, businesses and their marketing men ought to be able to leverage that information into something valuable for targeting ads. And doing market research.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        But GM is saying the opposite. They are saying ads on FB won’t work. And really, I don’t have an opinion on advertising on FB. My problem is with the idea that having a FB page and using it as a way to communicate with customers is a substitute forca proper on or off line community and communication center.

        A CEO that accepts this should be ejected along with his idiot board members. Even if FB is everything your company wants and needs, it may not be tomorrow. You have no control and may have to pull the plug at any minute (only you can’t really do that AFAIK). Be responsible, earn your pay, do your own thing.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        +1 stuki

        Facebook isn’t about ads. Well, not really, not like TV or print is. The point of it is to build up a highly targeted profile of a prospective buyer based on what it knows about you.

        In this sense, GM is right. Facebook is a stupid place for any significant ad spend. What it is, however, is a demographic goldmine and content-delivery network.

        Married? Have two kids? Mention the work “pregnant” and chances are you’re more likely to see ads for a minivan or crossover splattered across all the sites you visit. Talk about buying a car with your tax refund or bonus? Get more targeted ads for a an even nicer car. Check your credit card balance in the middle of the night? Expect not to see car ads, because you’re a likely credit risk.

  • avatar

    Facebook is the MySpace of this (limited attention span)generation.
    Lots of people will make money off it, and for now remain a dominant player in social networking, but in 10 years or so we’ll be talking about FB in past tense.
    Eventually people will bore about posting too much information and move on to something else.
    It won’t crash and burn like pets.com but a long slow decline is assured.
    Don’t weep for the founder though, he’ll have long since moved on to something else.

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      While its usually a safe bet to say that current internet colossus is going to go all AOL eventually, I don’t think people will bore of something like Facebook.

      People are kinda silly and boring. That’s not a FB thing, that’s a life thing.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    “Tout them all you want, but “likes”, “retweets” and “impressions” (perhaps the most ill-defined of them all) are empty metrics that sound great when trying to justify one’s absurd consulting fees, but don’t translate into good products or good profits, the two things that make the automotive world go ’round.”

    This is the EXACT argument that I’ve used to rightly convince my general manager to NOT dump money into advertising our small independent dealership on FB, POF, or anything else. The ‘returns’ are specious at best. I’d rather use a fraction of the money paying myself extra to post on Craigslist.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Make no mistake about it. Mark Zuckerberg is a freakin’ genius. He’s timed this IPO, waited a decade for the moment to be right, turned down countless smaller offers that would have turned him from millionaire at first to billionaire over night. This guy is crazy like a fox and everything he does is for a reason.

    He is striking when the iron is hot, when the value he thinks is at is peak, when he has the most to gain. It won’t matter after 5/18. Mark Zuckerberg will be one of the richest men in the world.

  • avatar

    Facebook will look silly in a few years compared to Google.

    I believe Google’s autonomous car program is going to dramatically help their bottom line and change advertising forever for two reasons.

    1. More screen time = More Impressions = More Clicks = More $$$. What are commuters going to do when they don’t have to drive? Probably browse the web and be entertained on their mobile or in car devices.

    2. Google will know intent. Let’s say you tell your autonomous car you want to go to Starbucks. Google could then serve advertising to your device based on the fact that it knows where you’re going and what you’re probably going to do there. (Buy Coffee) So if you’re reading TTAC on your way, banner ads for the local coffee house could be shown, maybe with a special offer, trying to get you to change your mind in REAL time…

    Being able to get this targeted with advertising would bring in many more advertisers. Perhaps this advertising could subsidize internet connections for cars much like the way radio advertising pays for the transmission of it’s content….

    Facebook can’t compete with this.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Facebook for advertising doesn’t work because there’s no ‘social contract’ in place. When you watch TV, it’s implied that the the commercials pay for the air time of your favorite program. But Facebook, and web ads in general, don’t have that contract because they don’t ask anything in return. The only internet ads I find that are effect are the ones that are no more than 10s before a video clip. Otherwise, web ads are like billboards, they don’t give you anything for the time that you can tangible perceive, and they don’t ask anything of you.

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      I don’t think we need to bring a social contract into it.

      FB ads are a tiny line of random crap on the right side of the screen. They are totally ignorable. It’s terrible design if the goal is to actually get people to click the ads.

      That said I don’t know if FB is where you would want to go. I don’t see many people discussing buying cars. It seems like Google would have a lot better idea of when you were looking at a new car than FB.

      But it took FB about two years to figure out I liked cycling. Now I get ads for “Christian” themed spandex shorts (not a buy) and like $8000 custom bikes. So basically when they do manage to place semi-relevant ads, they aren’t really well calibrated.

      I think FB has maybe not spent as much time on figuring out how to place ads as they would like. More potential than reality.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Before anyone dumps any more $$$ on FB ads, let’s remember that last year two thirds of ALL new cars in the US were purchased by buyers over fifty years old. In FB manufacturers are chasing a market that has no money and no brand loyalty.
    Better to put the ads in the AARP magazine.

  • avatar

    Facebook is a small potato for me. I wish fervently that carmakers stopped loading their websites with Flash.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I don’t do facebook but DO see where it can be handy for SOME things, but not for what it’s being marketed as as a whole.

    Part of it is the end users, us, the people who sign up for an account, pop on, friend everyone and then throw stuff on people’s walls, there is just too much potential for abuse – and there obviously has been plenty of it over time.

    I’ve heard that if you use if for business contacts to be very, very careful as one smart ass can ruin it for you with your business contacts and then there are other family/relative contacts so I just don’t do FB.

    However, that said, it seems to be not anything remotely like MySpace, which is now old news and barely existing anymore – at least I don’t hear anything much of it, if anything at all anymore.

    As for online ads, i don’t click on anything generally and wherever I tend to search, the ads tend to follow me anyhow but still, I don’t click.

    BTW, I agree that social media sites like Twitter and FB will eventually die, but as others have said, it may well be a slow death.

    I hope so as sites like Live Journal have slowed WAY down from its active community as people migrate to the “shiny and new”, stop posting and/or commenting. Right now, about half of my friend’s list is inactive, the rest that do post, barely comment on my posts, or on others for that matter.

    Blogging/journaling will be around as it’s a MUCH more insightful way to communicate than brief 140 character tweets or brief postings on what you’ve just done/bought, ate etc on FB.

    But like anything else, it takes a commitment to sit down, write out a thoughtful post, add a photo or two, post it and respond to any comments as they appear but sites like FB, generally don’t require that kind of a commitment so it’s easy to grab that phone and post a pithy, quick I just ate cheese post to your wall and leave it at that without even having to think about it.

    I’d rather have the in-depth prose to read that leaves me thinking over some trite post without any real thought/effort put into it.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    GM, Ford, and Chrysler are a mismatch for facebook. The majority of heavy facebook users tend to be younger and technologically sophisticated. Usually, these people trend to Toyota/Honda/Subaru type stuff. GM, Ford, and Chrysler vehicles are usually purchased by an older demographic and by fleet buyers … not the people you find on facebook.

    Bottom line is as long as GM, Ford, and Chrysler sales are more to the older person and to fleet buyers, facebook is a miss. One thing I have noticed is GM, Ford, and Chrysler pages seem to be filled with a bunch of pro-Detroit propaganda … not sure who posts that stuff but those opinions posted are so different than my east and west coast experience … makes me wonder if Detroit marketing has hired a bunch of professionals to post pro-Detroit propaganda … that is my hunch.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      One more comment … I don’t think the GM decision is a problem for facebook. I would bet that brands which fall into the correct demographic, like Toyota/Honda/Subaru, are being served well with facebook. The lesson: You can not take a brand and make it cool with east coast/west coast young by posting ads on facebook.

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      Eh. I honestly think FB ads are terrible. You seen them? It’s a wee little bar on the right side. For people who have been dumping banner ads down the memory hole for 10 years, it might as well not be there. I am totally unaware of them most of the time. I think FB ads are generally useless.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “One report claims that 57 percent of respondents have never clicked on a Facebook ad.”

    I’ve always found this to be a rather odd metric.

    Back in the good old days of newsprint, we never “clicked” on anything. We didn’t massage or invert or stroke or caress the ads, but that didn’t mean that we didn’t notice them or that they didn’t influence our behavior.

    Of course most people aren’t going to click on the ads — even if they were paying attention, most of the readers should have already gotten the gist of the message from the initial display ad. They don’t need to peruse it carefully or join an online community or subscribe to a corporate e-newsletter or be jumped into a consumer products e-gang in order to have noticed or taken interest in the product being offered.

    If the ad can’t tell the story in a few seconds, then it probably isn’t a good ad in the first place. If the ad demands that someone crawl through a virtual tunnel in order to find your story, then your story probably wasn’t worth telling.

    • 0 avatar

      Your “good old days” reminiscence reminded me of an old advertising chestnut: only half of all advertising works, the problem is that you never know which half. By providing metrics that TV, print and radio (not to mention billboards and park bench ads) could only hope for, you might think the web would have wiped out the “old media” by addressing this age-old truism. The problem is that better metrics just provide an opportunity to blame failure on the conclusion that “online ads don’t work.”

      My feeling (without the benefit of experience as a Mad Man) is that ad agencies are better at selling their abilities than their clients’ products. Old media’s lack of precise metrics simply gave agencies the leeway to exercise this ability, to exaggerate their effectiveness. Now, with every impression, clickthrough and conversion measurable, there’s nowhere for the agencies to run. Nobody to blame for subpar results but themselves. Use the metrics to improve the ads (or, as PCH points out, make the ads non-clickthrough-dependent), not as an excuse to run away from the web.

      That said, FB ads ain’t cheap by online standards. If FB can’t deliver results with the targeting it claims makes those rates worth the money, well, good for GM for kicking them to the curb. Add this to the faddish hucksterism of 90% of FB-based “social media engagement,” and I am inclined to join the naysayers when it comes to that firm’s long-term future.

      • 0 avatar
        toxicroach

        Having had a fair amount of experience over the last 18 months trying to manage advertising for my business, I have to agree.

        I’ve yet to see a marketing product that actually delivered nearly as much as the salesman wants you to think it does. Trying to pick the ones that suck the least is a major challenge. I’d be pretty close to a new BMW with all the money I’ve pissed away on bad marketing. Had a few very painful lessons.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “The problem is that better metrics just provide an opportunity to blame failure on the conclusion that ‘online ads don’t work.’”

        Pretty much. Or, to put it another way, the internet 1.0 marketing people invented and promoted this metric, which has not only blown up in their faces, but that was probably never a legitimate measure in the first place.

        And the emergence of internet 2.0 has continued to perpetuate this bogus metric. Combine the hucksters’ ongoing desire to promise more than they can deliver, with the egomania of advertisers who expect far too much engagement from consumers prior to the sale, and you end up with a boom-bust cycle of euphoria and hype, which is followed by a trough of disappointment.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        +1 for PCH

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Good for GM. Others should follow suit. I’m sure FB has its uses even though I don’t use it, but as an advertising medium? I question that strategy. Apparently, the more “likes” a FB page gets, that means something, but I don’t know what. The internet radio station I listen to, “www.martiniinthemorning.com”, promotes “liking” them on FB. They must get something, otherwise, why do it?

    • 0 avatar
      BlueEr03

      They want people to “like” them so they can justify the money they spend on FB advertising. Few companies have any indication of just what a “Like” is worth. So when the men in charge come and ask marketing why they are spending a few hundred thousand dollars in FB ads, the marketing people can say “but we got 10,000 likes!” No one mentions that 9,900 of those people who “liked” it were already customers.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Sounds like getting paid by the page-hit which is how advertising value used to be determined at least when I was in college. Trouble is for the enterprising young webmaster there was always a way to defraud the page hits, I know because I did it… spoof the IP and then call the address internet explorer among other methods. Wouldn’t be surprised if this was still happening on FB.

      • 0 avatar
        afflo

        When you “like” something, it shows up on friends news feeds.

        I know my friends interests… If I see someone with similar interests or tastes to me “like” something, that is going to grab my interest far more than the ads that are blocked in the banners.

        I pulled the plug on cable about a year ago. I watch a good amount of stuff on Netflix, but also on Hulu. On Hulu, I can click “yes/no” if an ad is relevant to me. I can adjust my settings so that the ads that are an annoyance mostly disappear, and I see ads for things that actually do interest me.

        Hulu doesn’t show me ads for feminine products. I don’t see ads for ED, or metamucil. I do see ads for motorcycles, cars, travel, technology… things I like.

        Funny how fast things are changing… 10 years ago, I would find it strange to be annoyed that I can’t skip tracks or ban artists from radio stations. The idea that I should be able to shape my ad experience would have been completely wild. I’m 30 now… will I recognize the world when I’m 50 or 60, and supposedly in my prime as a buyer or new cars?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Zack, I don’t use FB either but I think GM is making the wrong decision here. FB and other social media are where the eyeballs are at and that’s what any seller wants and needs, the eyeballs.

      If GM wants to succeed at some distant point in the future it has to sell more cars. In order to sell more cars GM has to attract potential buyers. In order to attract potential buyers GM needs to be visible in and on the media where the eyeballs gather.

      And that’s not TV, or movie theaters, or bill boards. The place to advertise is social media in today’s world. Today’s youngster is tomorrow’s buyer. Indoctrinate, indoctrinate, indoctrinate!

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        @highdesertcat:

        I suppose that’s the other side of the coin. If more “eyeballs” makes people more aware, that’s good. I just hope that the more eyeballs that see GM cars aren’t reminded of the political hoo-haa over the bailouts! Judging by all the negativity to the bailouts I read on TTAC, that may not be a good thing! I hope I’m wrong.

        The only thing I have to say about the bailouts is I agree with what Jack Baruth said yesterday: It was necessary, just HOW it was done was wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Zack, as time progresses and NEW eyeballs see the GM ads, the bail outs, hand outs and nationalization of the past become less significant because the people will be further removed from the events of 2008 and 2009. Some were too young to remember and some were too young to be employed back then.

        Also, the future is NEW buyers. That would be primarily first-time buyers who are now faced with the dilemma of a crowded market space, overwhelming in itself by the plethora of vehicles offered from different auto manufacturers at different price points.

        It is highly unlikely that former GM buyers who abandoned ship and voted with their feet because of their previous GM ownership experience are ever going to buy another GM product. Why would anyone with half a brain want to reward a manufacturer for selling them a bad product? I owned Chevy and Ford. These days I buy Toyota and Jeep.

        I think GM would be well-advised to saturate social media to attract potential new buyers. That’s what Ford is doing and my money is on Ford because I believe Ford will sell a ton of new cars to future buyers because of their ads on social media. Young people don’t care about the reliability issues of old. They care about toys! Connectivity! Electronics! Social interaction! They care about what’s cool.

        It is a highly competitive market and every sale counts. But most people can also understand that GM can be lackadaisical in its pursuit of potential new buyers because they have nothing to lose. They already lost it all and were bailed out, their failure nationalized at taxpayers’ expense.

        GM is government-owned, speculates with the taxpayers’ money, and whatever little profit GM makes is icing on the cake since they never have to give any of the profit money to the Treasury to repay the bail outs.

        And should GM experience financial setbacks in the future, Congress will always be there to back them up and bail them out.

        Congress will never let GM fail, no matter who is in power or who occupies the White House. The precedence was set during Bush/Paulson’s “too big to fail” and doubled-down on by Obama. How can Congress ever tell their constituents that bailing out GM was a bad thing? It can’t be done. That would only serve to demonstrate how mindless and brain-dead the legislators were.

        But the big hangup here as I see it is dated product on GM’s part. The Cruze is great but doesn’t present as much value as an Elantra. The Volt is ahead of its time and Revolutionary but will never be as widely accepted as the Evolutionary Prius line of vehicles. And the Malibu was outdated when it was introduced because it can’t even pretend to be in the same ballpark as a Camry, which continues to be America’s best-selling sedan, in spite of DOT’s efforts to discredit Toyota with trumped up allegations.

        Cadillacs attract a fanbase of their own, but there aren’t enough of them to break even in the division. Buick and GMC lose money on their own and are only propped up by profits from the Chevrolet Division.

        And pickup trucks, the real money makers for GM, or SUV/CUVs? Fuggetaboutit! The trucks are downright dinosaurs when compared to Fords and the SUV/CUVs can’t even come close to Ford and Toyota equivalents. You’d have to be a real GM fan to buy one of those GM products over a similar Ford or Toyota.

        But advertising is the key. Running and hiding and keeping a low profile never sells cars or trucks. In my region (El Paso, TX) the 2012 GM trucks are now being sold with $10K off MSRP already, and it is only May. Visit the elpasotimes.com to see for yourself.

        Getting a brand spanking new 2012 half-ton truck for $25K-$30K depending on style and trim is a great deal if you need a truck. Money talks and BS walks!

        No such luck for similarly equipped Fords. RAM is not a player since it is now a foreign-owned company like Tundra or Titan.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    Ray Wert has only been on the job two days and already he’s shaking up the entire online advertising world. The man is a machine, an absolute machine!

    *edit* Perhaps I should add a :) to this comment.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    Facebook will be MySpace in 5 years, only an idiot would get near the IPO. Mark Zuckerberg is just another Mark Cuban, a guy that was in the right place at the right time. He’s certainly no visionary, FaceBook was just a college version of mySpace. A 28 year old programmer in charge of $100 billion company, I’m sure it’s only up from here on out.

    Companies are already seeing the futility of advertising on Facebook, the dwindling user base will be the next shoe to fall.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      My friends in Law Enforcement tell me that social media is a treasure trove of information furnished by the willing participants.

      In my area several perps were caught because of the information they so willingly put on their pages. One drug dealer bragged about all the cars he owned, quite a feat since this guy had never held a job and was only 22 years of age.

      Another guy was apprehended because facial recognition software matched his picture on FB with an illegal alien child molester.

      So let’s not be too harsh on FB and social media since Law enforcement will be sad to see the participation diminish.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Local law enforcement tips aside, this information is also giving a woody to the intelligence community both here and abroad, not to mention our gray suited friend at IRS, FBI, or ATF which like it or not have had some sinister episodes with innocent citizens at one time or another, and of course your friendly local pedophile community who loves to read about your kids and their birthdays, school, and after school activities. Social media is a very dangerous thing, please do you part by putting as much bogus stuff out there as you can. If your doing wrong law enforcement is trained to investigate and stop you, but otherwise you should keep your business to yourself.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Well put!

        Even so, some adults have put their life’s story on social media and once out there, there’s no way to get rid of it.

        The pedophile involvement was recently brought out in my area as LE arrested a whole slew of pedophiles in a village north of me as part of an international ring.

        They seized tons and tons and tons of pictures of kids taken from the social sites, some of which that were photoshopped with the kids’ heads cropped onto naked bodies.

        Sexting by teens has also become a rich source of nude-teen pictures that will haunt these kids forever, even after they have grown old and wrinkly.

        But that aside, social media is a great source of interaction and a rich ground for advertisements. GM should not reduce their exposure. And people should be careful what they divulge about themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      Its a bubble, all that’s needed I think is a nice juicy scandal, maybe something outside of the company involving improper use of the information in their databases. People would dump their accounts in droves.

  • avatar
    rmwill

    How much of GM’s pulling out is related to the constant barrage of “Government Motors” and anti bailout comments on their posts on Facebook?


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