GM Dumps Facebook – What is the Message?
May 15, 2012 by
General Motors (GM) announced today that it will no longer run paid ads on Facebook.
To say that this is a bummer for Facebook is an understatement. Facebook’s long-awaited IPO starts trading Friday, as is currently planned. GM is the 3rd largest advertiser in the US.
GM’s marketing executives decided Facebook’s ads had little impact on consumers.
GM said it will still have Facebook pages marketing its vehicles, but it will drop use of paid ads. Anyone can create a Facebook page at no cost. GM pays no fee to Facebook for its pages, which allow the automaker to reach consumers directly.
I’m not at all worried about Facebook or GM. As an aside, I do believe that Facebook may have peaked, as I wrote on January 24. GM peaked years ago. Both will very likely be powerful companies 10 years from now.
As the title asks, what is the message in this? More importantly, what is the message for advertisers?
- Don’t try to sell your product on Facebook
- Feel free to engage with, educate and entertain your customers (and prospects) on Facebook
- Understand the medium
Facebook the medium, while huge, requires a deft hand in managing your brand there. The audience is so large that you will be tempted to sell product there. Don’t do it.
Joe Smith and Molly Brown didn’t sign up for Facebook so they could be sold a car. Decades of training have taught them that if they watch relatively cheap network television, someone will try to sell them something. Up until the DVR and in some cases now, Joe and Molly are OK with that.Joe and Molly have made no such deal with Facebook. That being said, they still buy cars.
If you are good or lucky enough to engage their eyeballs on Facebook, try to offer them something fun or useful. They will probably remember that you are a brand they like.
It’s Facebook. They aren’t there to buy a car.