The rift between the auto manufacturing giant and the social media titan is temporarily over. General Motors is cautiously returning to Facebook advertising only 11 months after making a high-profile exit from the network’s advertising platform, having decided that “paid ads on the site have little impact on consumers’ car purchases.”
The drama began last May, when General Motors (GM) announced that it was pulling paid ads from Facebook, stating that the cost of the ads weren’t worth it. GM’s “Facebook exodus” was highly publicized and prompted fears that other companies would follow suit – many marketing execs worried that GM, as the third largest advertiser across all U.S. media, knew something that they didn’t.
Despite the initial panic, Facebook advertising has remained pretty robust. With a $10 million Facebook advertising budget, GM’s decision did not greatly affect Facebook’s $5+ billion in gross revenue for that year. GM seems to be the one that suffered: its Chief of Marketing, Joel Ewanick, resigned a few months later without explanation.
And now, almost a year later, GM’s slow ease back into the world of Facebook advertising has not been nearly as well-publicized as its departure. GM has claimed that the return is a test-run: one ad campaign for their Chevrolet Sonic that will run only on mobile devices. Why the quiet return?
The announcement coincides with the arrival of Facebook’s new system of targeted advertising “based on loyalty card uses at grocery stores and elsewhere, based on public records like auto registration, and based on email addresses consumers give out at retail checkout counters.”
In the always-on world where connectedness is omnipresent, Big Brothers like Google and Facebook are becoming expert at following your trail of digital breadcrumbs in order to effectively target you as a consumer. GM’s participation in this new system will help them jump aboard and more accurately target their potential customers.
With the recently unveiled Facebook Home, the company has shown that they’re still on track to controlling every aspect of your digital presence. Now, collected data will be able to tell them even more accurately and incisively things like what type of car you might like, and whether you can afford one – and this is exactly what GM wants.
As GM slinks back to the site’s ad platform, Facebook proves that social media continues to be a big player in the field of advertising, making social media agencies and Internet marketing teams even more crucial to the company’s business strategy. And for now, it seems that Facebook continues to reign supreme.