It seems GM has come to the conclusion that paid advertising on Facebook hasn’t been effective for them. This article explains why, and underscores my opinion that “going social” isn’t going to work for all brands, at least not without some serious innovation and relevant value for consumers. Marketing via Facebook and Twitter may be growing, but like many fairly new advertising channels, there are two significant issues. First, it takes time for brands to figure out how to use them well. Until they do, consumers won’t pay attention. Second, just because the channel exists, doesn’t mean it’s the right place for every brand to advertise. This is exactly what GM has seen.
Think about their product. Cars. Are cars on your mind when you’re on Facebook? For some people, perhaps yes, cars are on their minds – somewhere. But even someone that is ready to purchase a car right now is going to rely on plenty of existing channels to get information about GM or any other car company. A car is not an impulse purchase, so a simple click-through kind of ad isn’t going to have a huge impact on whether they consider a GM model or not, and when they’re in research mode, they’re already on GM’s primary website, or AutoTrader, or Edmunds, or Consumer Reports or any other number of established websites with information about cars.
I think GM made the right move. That’s not to say there isn’t a place in their overall portfolio for Facebook, but it should be limited.