Facebook, GM Discussing Paid Ads. Again. Still. Kind of.By: Josh Wolford - January 17, 2013
The most noted Facebook ads ship jumper from 2012 is possibly considering a change of heart.
Facebook and General Motors are still “actively talking” about a return to paid advertising on the site, according to a report from Reuters. Here’s a quote from GM’s interim marketing head Alan Batey:
“We’re still actively talking to them and looking at opportunities that come our way…I wouldn’t tell you that there’s a Mexican standoff here. We just didn’t see the value [in the ads].”
Alan Batey steeped in to replace Joel Ewanick, the former GM marketing chief who resigned back in July, barely two months after pulling the Facebook ads. Forbes reported that he was actually being removed for “failing to properly vet the financial details of a European soccer sponsorship deal.”
In the time since General Motors publicly yanked all of their paid advertising on Facebook, plenty of companies have decided to spend a significant amount of money on Facebook advertising. Plenty of companies have also made the decision to lessen their Facebook ad budget.
But we keep talking about General Motors and Facebook. Why? Because their breakup was just so juicy. You remember, right? Just days before the big Facebook IPO, GM announced that they were pulling all of their Facebook ads. They said that they weren’t sure about their effectiveness and how they fit into future marketing strategies. Of course, to the average reader that simply sounds like a bunch of jargon for “Facebook ads aren’t worth our time or money.”
Sure, a few days later GM said that they were making big advertising decisions across the board. No hard feelings, Facebook. It’s just part of a bigger strategy, and a coincidence that it happened three days before the IPO. But the fact that it may have been a more innocuous move than previously thought didn’t do much to neutralize the sting of it all. And as Facebook’s stock price tanked out of the gate, people began to discuss monetization issues, and of course that led to talks about advertising strategies, which of course led to GM as the big example of a company who pulled the plug.
Just a few weeks after all of this went down, reports emerged that Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg had talked to GM CEO Daniel Akerson about the car company reigniting the Facebook flame. Also, Facebook global sales head Carolyn Everson was said to have been preparing “better data on how their ads can turn into dollars.”
So it appears that Facebook and GM are, and probably have been in discussions for some time. And that will continue. GM was reported to have only really been spending $10M in actual ad spend on the network, but for Facebook, getting GM back on board could signify to other companies that it’s safe to open up their Facebook ad budgets – if just a little more.