Be Like GM – Should You Abandon Facebook Advertising?
By Zach Bonnan, Sr. Copywriter, Interaktiva Digital Marketing
When General Motors Co. announced on Tuesday (5/15) that it will stop advertising on Facebook, many marketers were surprised. Abandoning Facebook just days before the social networking giant was due to go public is an interesting move by the nation’s third largest advertiser (behind Procter & Gamble and AT&T Inc.).
GM’s marketing executives have seemingly decided that Facebook’s ads had little effect on consumers and will drop use of paid ads. Is this a smart move? Some apparently think so.
Nate Elliott, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research serving Interactive Marketing Professionals, said in a recent blog posting, “…as good as Facebook has been at evolving to serve consumers, that’s how bad it’s been at serving marketers.” And maybe this is true. He noted that in the past five years Facebook has staggered from one advertising model to another; none of which really achieved much success. Even its ‘major marketing announcement’ in February was more so the latest iteration of its existing ad model. Elliott also declared that Facebook often stands directly in the way of marketers’ efforts to measure the performance of their programs.
If GM’s marketing chief says the automaker is pulling its advertising investment from Facebook because it does not believe there is a positive ROI, should other marketers start to reconsider their Facebook ad investments? Not necessarily.
I’m certain GM has heavily analyzed and scrutinized their Facebook efforts before making the decision to remove their presence from Facebook ads. It’s also true that it is getting harder to stand out in the Facebook ad space since many more brands are advertising now.
Brilliant Examples: What Makes Some Campaigns Work Better Than Others
Creative copy, creative visuals and pushing the boundaries of how the ads work are the key ingredients to an effective campaign. This is how we can continue to successfully use tools like Facebook to reach large groups of people.
Consider some of the highly successful campaigns out there such as the very amusing Burger King “Delete 10 friends for a Whopper” or the “Ikea Showroom Giveaway” campaign – we can see that the difference is creativity in using the media. Ikea’s campaign produced multiple short- and long-term benefits, among them, brand visibility, new Facebook fans and a tool with which to maintain relationships with a large group of consumers.
Another brilliant example includes The Facebook Album Flipbook by Volkswagen Amarok. It utilizes more than 200 images in the Facebook Photo Gallery to create a very interactive and fun ad for the Volkswagen Amarok right on Facebook, engaging its 172,000 plus fans. On the philanthropic side, Kohl’s department stores last year gave away an unprecedented $10 million to 20 schools through its Kohl’s Cares program, which in turn generated 1.5 million new likes for the company.
Without the creativity factor, I agree that Facebook ads may not be 100 percent effective, but as digital marketers, it is our job to make them effective. Facebook is an incredible medium to reach vast audiences and deepen brand engagement and loyalty – we would not jump ship.
Zach Bonnan recently joined Interaktiva Digital Marketing, a leading digital marketing firm based in Miami, as Senior Copywriter. Bonnan previously worked for Euro RSCG Chicago.