It didn't take long for critics to question whether General Motors is wrong to pull $10 million in direct ads on Facebook. Despite the criticism, GM is not changing its stance. The world's largest automaker believes that it is better served not running direct ads on the world's largest social network.
GM issued a statement explaining its decision to cut back on Facebook marketing saying, "...while we currently do not plan to continue with advertising, we remain committed to an aggressive content strategy through all of our products and brands, as it continues to be a very effective tool for engaging with our customers."
This raises a key question for Facebook advertisers and investors: Is the social network an effective way of marketing your brand?
Ford thinks so. In fact, GM's rival is making a point of proclaiming how valuable Facebook is for marketing Fordcars and trucks. "It’s all down to execution. We’ve found Facebook ads to be very effective when strategically combined with engagement, great content and innovative ways of storytelling, rather than treating them as a straight media buy," Ford said in a written statement.
Ford is quick to add that it has 4 million fans on its Facebook Mustang fan page and its reveal of the 2011 Ford Explorer on Facebook (and other digital outlets) yielded better results than a Super Bowl ad — for a fraction of the cost.
All of this comes down to one key question: Where does a company get the most bang for its advertising buck? For some companies it may be Facebook. GM doesn't think so, at least for now. Does that mean GM is not using Facebook effectively? There's no way of knowing. How to best spend ad dollars is still more an art than science.