Do You Buy GM Cars Via Facebook Ads?
Jayme Soulati President, Soulati Media, Inc.

Posted on May 16th 2012

Do You Buy GM Cars Via Facebook Ads?

The headline in today’s Wall Street Journal put me into a tailspin. It knocked me off the regularly scheduled program and prompted this emergency blog post.

“GM Says Facebook Ads Don’t Pay Off.”

Let me get my reaction immediately onto the table:

1. Is this sour grapes, or what?

2. Are you flippin’ kidding me? Since when do people buy a car by clicking on a Facebook ad? Really?

3. What kind of cover story is this just prior to the Facebook IPO when a publicly traded company attempts to downgrade stock price and pose ponderings about a $104 billion valuation by a start-up with a CEO under 30-years-old?

4. Do GM investors want to snap up more shares for less price per share?

Now let me read the story; hang on a minute.

K, I’m back…here is the gist of the article:

1. GM spent “only about $10 million in 2011 to advertise on Facebook; a fraction of GM’s total 2011 U.S. ad spending of $1.8 billion.”

Uhmm, if that paltry percentage is being spent on Facebook advertising, then naturally someone isn’t going to click on a car ad on Facebook and buy the vehicle from the website…right? I mean, don’t you buy your car direct from a website, sight unseen without the lovely dealer experience?

2. “General Motors plans to stop advertising with Facebook after deciding that paid ads on the site have little impact on consumers’ car purchases, according to a GM official.”

Love the timing of this; just before the Facebook IPO in a few days and it helps get GM some extra publicity. I wonder what GM will do with its $10 million not being spent on Facebook ads? Will it go to charity? Or, maybe they’ll use it on Pinterest where women can click on the picture of a car and go buy a car from a website!

3. “GM’s decision raises questions about the ability of Facebook to sustain the 88% revenue growth achieved in 2011. Facebook said last month its first-quarter ad revenue was down 7.5% from the previous three months.”

I have no idea how to respond to this; it’s got to be the reporters (three of them) playing both sides of the fence.  Should the timing of GM’s announcement affect Facebook’s IPO? Will it? Should it even matter? I seem to recall an auto industry bailout that put the U.S. economy into a downward spiral. I don’t recall reading that Facebook ever strayed from its growth goals, so why should it quake in its boots because GM is playing chess? (Although $10 million is likely not chump change to Facebook.)

So, a few disclaimers here – I’m not in advertising. I’m not a Facebook shareholder (but, I’d sure like to get my hands on a few of those on Friday). I’m not a financial analyst or investment adviser.

What I am is this:

A Business-to-Business Social Media Marketer with a Public Relations core (how’s that for key word attention?). I probably should be applauding the GM investor relations team for its smarts to push such a story on the cover of today’s national financial paper. But, it stinks putrid to me (I said to me) in my rantings above.

What do you think?

Jayme Soulati

President, Soulati Media, Inc.

Jayme Soulati is a hybrid PR professional offering digital, content and social media marketing powered by public relations and message mapping. She is an award-winning professional blogger and author of Writing with Verve on the Blogging Journey.

She is president of Soulati Media, Inc. and a past president of the Publicity Club of Chicago.

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Good article ! Facebook is popular, prolific and effective. But, one size does not fit all. I already know about GM, I won't buy a GM product because it gets a zillion "likes". I'll go to a local dealers' webpage (not their Facebook page) to see if they have what I want (a truck that can haul a 3-horse, slant trailer: a "cowboy Cadillac" of sorts that I can sleep in without my legs sticking out the window).

Facebook's step of going for an IPO will generate all kinds of coverage, but 10 years ago there was no "social media", it's a phenom that will create its own type of headline and statistics.

I appreciate your comment! This headline was so ridiculous, and it's caused a frenzy of other advertisers jumping on the "no more Facebook advertising" trend just before IPO.

As said, I probably have to congratulate the investor relations/PR team for pulling this coup for GM; I guess they need some good publicity, eh?

Thanks for saying! ~Jayme

Nice read! I agree man this social media like facebook are just means to help improve sales some sort of a marketing strategy. They could also help in bringing popularity but they are not the deciding factor.

I agree, social media like Facebook and other social networking sites can somehow help improve sales by those advertisement posted on their sites but still it wouldn't be a deciding factor that would make an intelligent or wise consumer  buy a specific product. In buying luxuries like cars online and online parts for sale, I go to forums or other communities only to get ideas and reviews from other people who already had experience with that car. But in the end the decision relies on me, I always go to a trusted site or their main site and purchase there. By doing this, I think GM is just creating publicity.

I don't know what GM is thinking!!

I wouldn't go to far with Facebook, buying a car is a complex process, I don't think one could simply do it online even if it had all the information for it. I am however using Facebook to check for some tips on improving gas mileage.