GM Quits Facebook Advertising, But Why?

Ad Age and others are criticizing General Motors, not for quitting Facebook but for failing to get the most from the social network. The timing was unfortunate for Facebook, in the midst of its initial public offering, but there's little evidence that the withdrawal impacted Facebook's IPO success. GM-Facebook

Ad Age calls GM's Facebook presence, for which the company spent $30 million, "wrong" and "boring," with the following examples of posts:

  • We're excited to announce the return of a V-8 powered, rear-wheel-drive performance sedan to our robust U.S. lineup, the Chevrolet SS!" (Well, of course you are. Maybe you should ask us if we're excited.)
  • "Check out this picture of our Chairman and CEO, Dan Akerson." (Don't know about you, but I go to Facebook hoping to see the Chairman of GM's picture.)
  • "Just wanted to let our millions of Facebook fans know, we're still here, and we 'like' you back!" (OK, thanks for checking in.)
  • "GM is full of history and classic cars that we all know and love." (Uh huh. That's so exciting.)
  • "Check out our latest Faces of GM video to find how John uses what he does at the race track to make the cars he works on even better." (Wake me when it's over)
  • "Ever wonder what happens with leftover scrap metal from our vehicles?" (Umm, no, can't say that I have)
  • "Happy Administrative Professionals Day to the women and men who keep our offices and dealerships running all across the globe! Thanks for all you do each and every day." (I'm sure they felt very rewarded by this post.)
  • "We're thrilled to announce that Chevrolet sold 1.18 million vehicles worldwide in the first 3 months of 2012." (Of course you're thrilled. But we don't really give a damn.)
  • "Hey GM Fans! Let's have a little fun before the weekend begins... What's your favorite current GM vehicle and why?" (Whose idea of fun is this? And the reason we have to have this fun is that GM is not online during the weekend, even though the Internet is, and always has been, 24/7, 365 days a year. Yes, even weekends. Hint: you want to make some trouble for GM? Post on Facebook and Twitter during the weekend. They won't see it til Monday.)
  • "It may be Friday the 13th, but we think of it as just another day for you to drive your GM vehicle." (We live to drive our GM vehicle.)
  • "One in four Buick Veranos sold have worn the most colorful hue offered, Crystal Red Tintcoat." (If that's not thrilling, tell me what is.)

For another view, Reuters critized Facebook, saying that the company didn't adequately sell GM on the benefits of paid ads. The article explains GM's decision this way:

"GM dropped its Facebook ads because they were less effective than other options such as Google's AdSense, the sources said. Facebook's ads garner about half the clicks per page view, a measure of effectiveness, compared with the average website.

"Moreover, Facebook's ad prices were expected to rise after the company's IPO. Ad prices are set in auction and vary depending on the target audience."

 Discussion Starters:

  • What's your view? Did GM fail to take full advantage of social networking on Facebook, did Facebook fail to deliver, or is there another story here?
  • Regardless of the decision, how could GM have done a better job engaging customers on Facebook? Rewrite a few of the company's posts, above.