7 Quick Thoughts About GM Pulling All Their Facebook Ads

by Esteban Contreras on May 16, 2012

Originally published on Facebook

Editor’s note: According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, General Motors is stopping all of their Facebook advertising. Their Facebook ad budget was $10 million a year, a big bankroll to say the least.

There is little in the way of facts about why GM is pulling their ads, but plenty of commentary.

‎7 things that came to mind in 7 seconds but took me 7 minutes to write down:

1. Seriously? GM thought Facebook ads were going to result in car sales… just like that? 20 seconds, 20 minutes or 20 months later? And how exactly did they determine that it was or was not helping anyways? Did they poll people to ask them “Excuse me, since you last saw one of our Facebook ads, did you or did you not buy one of our cars?”

2. Facebook is awesome but it’s a business and this business’ advertising solutions have been optimized so that brands do PAID + EARNED + OWNED. You can’t do one without the other. At least not if you hope to compete with the other Fortune 500 trying to do it right, even if with minimal budgets. Does GM know this?

3. Has anybody told GM that Facebook ads can be done with just a few bucks? I mean, small businesses spending $10 a day in Sponsored Stories are going to get more targeted reach on Facebook than one of the most iconic US brands of all time.

4. Ok, ok I get it. GM has a cool + innovative campaign unlike anything we’ve ever heard of and they’re doing it soon so this is their way of saying “We got this.”

5. Wait. Maybe this is just a STUNT. PR stunt. Could it be? This is easy buzz on Facebook IPO week. Right? I mean this HAS to be temporary. It’s not like someone at GM can say “We shall never ever advertise on Facebook and so be it!”

6. Where is Christopher Barger when you need him? Hopefully they have him on speed dial because they might need some help from the guy who led their social + community engagement during the 2009 crisis.

7. Did I mention I spent 7 minutes typing this? Well, congratulations to you American Express because your always-on ad strategy on Facebook might be paying off. I just spent 7 minutes with this post.. and one of your sponsored posts. Maybe I’ll go and get a new card from you simply because we’ve spent so much time together.

What did you think?

Post Author

Hi, I'm Esteban, the Social Media Marketing Manager for Samsung USA. I'm passionate about the convergence of tech, marketing, and social media. I blog about these topics at socialnerdia.com. Learn more about me at estebancontreras.com....

  • great and fun read! Thank you Esteban. 

  • Sarah_klein

    thanks for sharing. i think others has a same perspective of GM and the dollars they put forward and their expected return.

  • this post needs to be added on every comment area of every post around this subject. great! thanks.

  • jessicamalnik

    Whoa, quick to judge there. Do we really know GM’s reasoning for stopping their Facebook ads? Aside from a quick blog post or news release about it. Maybe one of the biggest misconceptions in the social space is the idea that big brands have to be on every new SM shiny object that comes their way. Facebook ads are far from the end all be all, that people make them out to be. Yes, they are cheap and can be effective. But, it’s also just one tool in a giant social media marketing strategy toolbox.

  • I agree with everything you wrote. Even though I have first hand experience in corporate social media marketing  — and this was originally meant as nothing more than a Facebook post — you’re right that this was written quite hastily, and without all the facts.

    My hope is that GM knows what it’s doing. I say this especially because it is a brand I’ve come to respect in large part BECAUSE of their fantastic social media presence, particularly between 2009 to 2012. Ford’s Scott Monty will be one to say so himself (read Christopher Barger’s “The Social Media Strategist” and you’ll quickly note the friendship between the two). However, I do think that the timing of the “news” is rather strange and a large reason for the cynicism around the topic. 

    Consider my post a reaction to the media and blog frenzy that occurred as this developed yesterday. You can also consider this a “well, actually” post written for both savvy social strategists and people who are quite honestly not familiar with how social ads actually work.

  • jessicamalnik

    I couldn’t agree more about the timing of their announcement. With the announcement coming right around the time of Facebook IPO, this was obviously a bit of PR/media ploy, especially when you consider GM”s Facebook ads make up about 1% of their total media budget. A lot of money, but not exactly a significant percentage for a brand as pervasive as GM. 

    That being said, I’m fairly sure GM knows exactly what they are doing. It will became crystal clear in the coming months. This is a brand that has completely reinvented themselves (in large part through the social space) since 09. 

  • Sounds like we’re on the same page. I do hope GM knows exactly what they’re doing and I wish them the very best.