Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why Facebook ads don't work for GM

Yesterday, the world's second largest car company decided Facebook ads weren't effective while the world's most profitable auto maker said they were.

What's going on here?

Facebook isn't working for General Motors because their marketing strategy doesn't align with the platform. There's no logical connection between their off-line marketing and the on-line social network.

Ford, on the other hand, uses Facebook, among other things, to extend the conversation created by their "Swap Your Ride" campaign.

GM cutting Facebook ad dollars makes sense given that their strategy doesn't align well with the platform. 

Just because Facebook is big, just because it's in the news, just because it works for Ford, doesn't mean it's right for GM.

That's the sign of a professional marketer. They let the strategy drive the tactics, not the other way around.


  1. Great point. I can't help wonder if there is a broader lesson here. Not every brand lends it self to social purchasing. Some brands never will. Others need to create the social component offline first if they want to integrate a social component, they need to first create the social aspect to their brand's purchasing pattern, as Ford did with Swap My Ride.

  2. What's even more interesting is I don't ever remember seeing a facebook ad for GM but have seen several for Ford. Guess I'm not in their target market. :)

  3. I agree with your point that it was smart for them to stop running them because it didn't align with their overall or offline strategy. However shouldn't GM be taken to task for 1) not having an integrated strategy, like Ford and many companies are now successfully doing and 2) running the ads (or $10MM worth anyway) in the first place without having the integrated strategy and because they didn't align or connect with anything they were doing offline?

    1. Patrick, thanks for the comment. I was wondering when someone was going to pick up on that. I started taking the post in that direction, but frankly it would have been way too long. Maybe a post for another day.

    2. Thanks Harvey, glad we're on the same page. I would enjoy your thoughts on it if it makes it up on the blog another day.