The backing out with no indication of GM coming back isn’t going to leave FB a shattered entity. The $10 million in GM dollars is a minor portion of Facebook’s $3.7 billion. But as New York Times reporters mentioned, the dispute could get the ‘neighborhood’ talking, especially considering FB is about to go more public than previously expected (sharing 18% of company rather than 14%).
Before the public offering, some advertisers are wondering how effective the Facebook platform really is as an ad tool. An advertising exec observes, “It’s (Facebook) one of the most powerful branding mechanisms in the world, but it’s not an advertising mechanism.”
Analysts at Forrester research admit that GM isn’t alone in its decision towards investing in Facebook advertising. “My colleagues and I have spoken with several other advertisers who were already thinking of putting their dollars elsewhere. Now that GM has done so in such a large and public way, many of the fence-sitters will know that they’re not alone.”
Yesterday I sympathized with General Motors. It seems the reversal of Facebook-invested fortunes makes sense. Advertising is a game of ‘something-for-something.’ Advertiser dollars are meant to predate eventual sales. If GM believed ads would inspire sales, it would’ve stayed parked.
However, today I would like to introduce another avenue GM could have explored. Facebook’s ‘GM’ Mark Zuckerberg, is an industrious chap, one known for acquiring brands and people. I’m not saying GM would want to be acquired by Facebook or could be; but, could some sort of ‘partnership’ been had? These are two, large brands with some extra cash to spend if needed. It’s odd GM decided to part ways with such a buzz-worthy brand just before the latter’s IPO. Perhaps there’s more to the story then we know about.
Let’s drive down another avenue in the same neighborhood. GM states Facebook ads aren’t working for them. However, could another car brand, similar to GM, fare better? Those in online marketing know sometimes a simple modification or rearrangement of wording can make a difference in A/B testing.
All the stories are focusing on the separation; but, did GM release any sort of information related to ‘why’ (specifically) it wasn’t getting the return on investment? Is the real story about Facebook’s ad opportunities or is it that a huge brand like GM lacked the digital strategy despite having the $10 million to invest? How many of you out there think you could have done something positive with GM’s $10 million regarding implementing the funds into the Facebook ad system? Could have some savvy executive pitches been made, aligning GM a bit more with Facebook? Did GM drive into Facebook recklessly? And did it drive away too soon?