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Ford Continues Facebook Advertising After GM Quits

Ford Retains Confidence in Facebook Ads as GM Quits

While General Motors may halt Facebook advertising, according to a Wall Street Journal story today, Ford has a different attitude toward paid promotions on the social site.

Scott Monty, head of social media at Ford, told ClickZ late this afternoon that his Detroit brand is still bullish on pre-IPO Facebook. The automaker, with its 10.2 million likes across brands on the social site, he said, plans on "accelerating our efforts in Facebook and other social platforms."


In an email exchange, Monty continued, "It's all down to execution. We've found Facebook ads to be very effective when strategically combined with engagement, great content and innovative ways of storytelling, rather than treating them as a straight media buy."

The social exec also lauded the idea of working directly with Facebook engineers to create "first-of-a-kind vehicle reveals, advertising, and innovative ways of sharing content."

In March, Ford ran a large, unique ad unit on the Facebook logout page. People visiting the Facebook logout page were greeted with an image of the sleek 2013 Mustang, in black. It was a still of the video which could be played directly on the logout page. The large image was accompanied by the post, "Seen the latest Mustang spot? Watch now, then grab a Mustang badge."

ClickZ reached out to Monty to see if his company was seeing results that jibe with GM's. The latter, according to the Journal, has had a $10 million Facebook ads account. Based on unnamed sources, the publication reported that GM is stopping Facebook advertising. The article goes on to quote GM marketing exec Joel Ewanick, who said his brand "is definitely reassessing our advertising on Facebook."

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Echoing Monty's sentiments, Simon Mansell from TBG Digital told Search Engine Watch on the phone today that GM's move does not reflect a general unwillingness among brands to advertise on Facebook.

However, in his experience a lot of brands don't know how to measure performance properly, saying "Facebook advertising is not as simple as Google - you can't put a dollar in and get a $1.20 back. Direct conversions from advertising don't stack up to easily draw a direct comparison with paid search so it is harder to measure. Yet removing all your ads from Facebook is a bit short sighted when the social network accounts for 15% of people's total time online (in US). Brands need to put a bit of extra effort in to ask the right questions and find the metrics that work for them."

Mansell gave some example questions centered around brand recognition, loyalty and advocacy. Do searches increase for a product in tandem with Facebook advertising? Do existing customers spend more after connecting to a Facebook Brand page? Will a user who plays a Facebook game or enables a Facebook app introduce three more people to the service?

Research from TBG Digital shared in a presentation shows social ads showed around a 30% lift increase in purchase intent and improvement in cost-per-acquisition. In a specific example TBG found that 64% of users who engaged with a fan page would recommend that product than compared to 42% of non-fans.

Mansell said that ultimately it all depends on the product category but there is still a lot of opportunity to grow for brands willing get to grip with the new metrics, adding, "I would be interested to know how much work GM had done in this area before they made this decision."

This story was originally written by Christopher Heine for ClickZ and Jonathan Allen contributed the interview with Simon Mansell to adapt this story for Search Engine Watch.


Views: 967

Tags: Advertising, After, Continues, Facebook, Ford, GM, Quits


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Comment by David T. Gould on May 23, 2012 at 6:26am

I agreed Ralph. There is more politically to this than meets the eye. Broadcasting their backing out during that high of an exposure media week has to have been planned. I have no inside connections but have wondered if GM tried to strong arm Facebook during that vulnerable week. Current FB stock price $31. Zuckerberg got his $38 / share regardless. I have not seen anything positive posted about GM's decision, except maybe posts that praise them for not wasting the 10 million because of their ineffectiveness, not Facebook's. 

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 19, 2012 at 4:57pm


Comment by John L Mecham on May 19, 2012 at 3:12pm

Makes us all go, hmmmmm.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on May 19, 2012 at 10:36am

A few years ago I had an office in Dearborn and spent most of my working days in the Detroit area on behalf of ADP Dealer Services.  I became friends with the Facebook executive responsible for driving OEM advertising revenue into Facebook.  It was a tough gig for Tom Chisholm, but he was persistent and very persuasive... His data and metrics were such that it was tough to ignore the opportunity for advertising on Facebook.  His first big deal was with a GM executive who left about a year ago, and his last big deal was with Ford.  The Ford executive he worked with is still there and very much considered successful.  The GM executive who left after making his deal with Tom has since left and his work has fallen out of favor at GM.  I remember many times when Tom would ask me "How do I get Ford to spend money on Facebook advertising?".  So... It does seem ironic to me that now we see GM making headlines about cancelling their Facebook ads... Did GM make headlines when they cancelled their Cosmopolitan Magazine advertising? No... Did GM make headlines when they pulled their Cruze TV ads from NBC... No. This all makes me wonder about a couple of things.  Why would GM issue a press release that they are cancelling Facebook ads only days before the company's stock goes public? How much of GM cancelling their ad campaigns with Facebook is due to the personnel rotations at GM which have been like a merry go round since 2009? Does the fact that Tom Chisholm left Facebook, the man who made the deal with GM, and that the GM executive who Tom made his Facebook advertising deal with also left GM, does that have anything to do with GM cancelling their Facebook ad campaigns? If Tom Chisholm was still with Facebook and Chris was still with GM, would the Facebook advertising from GM still be happening?

As in many business transactions, people matter and have a lot to do with whether those transactions continue to occur... How much of this cancellation of Facebook advertising by GM is based on people leaving both companies, is probably not a "has nothing to do with it" correct answer... But, why GM chose to make their ad campaign cancellation such a big public brouhaha right before Facebook does their first IPO, when GM does not normally announce cancellation of ad campaigns does truly make for some speculation fodder by the conspiracy theorists amongst us.

Comment by John L Mecham on May 18, 2012 at 2:14pm

Can old dogs learn new tricks?  Not a GM.  Ignorance is an uncomfortable thing to watch, stupid is just plain ugly.

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 18, 2012 at 12:46pm

@Brent Albrecht - Thank you!  You are right on!

Comment by Keith Shetterly on May 18, 2012 at 12:05pm
Comment by Brent Albrecht on May 18, 2012 at 11:46am

Ralph, great post. So obviously we can't speak directly to the results that GM is seeing, however, using Facebook ads for individual dealerships to reach their local community with targeted ads, we are seeing very positive results. In terms of both fan count and impressions, the growth using Facebook ads is in some cases double that of similar dealerships not using Facebook advertising at all.  We see that dealers want to be able to reach their local communities and develop and encourage relationships with people in these communities. Typical advertising speaks at the consumer, and in many cases this advertising is speaking to an entire population, whereas, Facebook Ads offers them a cost effective means to start these conversations with prospects and customers in their local market. We have seen vehicle sales and service interactions taking place on Facebook between a dealership and their fans, so we are confident that as Facebook ads build a dealer's social community, it leads to increased business.

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 18, 2012 at 11:15am

I am astounded by the amount of data available in tracking consumer movement on the web.  If you are just looking at click-through and conversion rates, you are limiting your insight into influence, branding and long-term relationships.  I give GM credit for saying they are sticking with Facebook as a presence, but I question why they would give up advertising.  $10 million is a drop in the bucket of their total advertising budget. (I know... $10 million here, $10 million there adds up to a lot of money)

I would love to know what metrics they used to make that decision.  Obviously, other companies like Ford disagree (at least publicly).  And why did they choose the eve of Facebook's IPO to announce it (hmmmm)?  Could it be a pressure tactic?

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