While General Motors may halt Facebook advertising, according to a Wall Street Journal story today, Ford has a different attitude toward paid promotions on the social site.
Scott Monty, head of social media at Ford, told ClickZ late this afternoon that his Detroit brand is still bullish on pre-IPO Facebook. The automaker, with its 10.2 million likes across brands on the social site, he said, plans on "accelerating our efforts in Facebook and other social platforms."
In an email exchange, Monty continued, "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."
The social exec also lauded the idea of working directly with Facebook engineers to create "first-of-a-kind vehicle reveals, advertising, and innovative ways of sharing content."
In March, Ford ran a large, unique ad unit on the Facebook logout page. People visiting the Facebook logout page were greeted with an image of the sleek 2013 Mustang, in black. It was a still of the video which could be played directly on the logout page. The large image was accompanied by the post, "Seen the latest Mustang spot? Watch now, then grab a Mustang badge."
ClickZ reached out to Monty to see if his company was seeing results that jibe with GM's. The latter, according to the Journal, has had a $10 million Facebook ads account. Based on unnamed sources, the publication reported that GM is stopping Facebook advertising. The article goes on to quote GM marketing exec Joel Ewanick, who said his brand "is definitely reassessing our advertising on Facebook."
Echoing Monty's sentiments, Simon Mansell from TBG Digital told Search Engine Watch on the phone today that GM's move does not reflect a general unwillingness among brands to advertise on Facebook.
However, in his experience a lot of brands don't know how to measure performance properly, saying "Facebook advertising is not as simple as Google - you can't put a dollar in and get a $1.20 back. Direct conversions from advertising don't stack up to easily draw a direct comparison with paid search so it is harder to measure. Yet removing all your ads from Facebook is a bit short sighted when the social network accounts for 15% of people's total time online (in US). Brands need to put a bit of extra effort in to ask the right questions and find the metrics that work for them."
Mansell gave some example questions centered around brand recognition, loyalty and advocacy. Do searches increase for a product in tandem with Facebook advertising? Do existing customers spend more after connecting to a Facebook Brand page? Will a user who plays a Facebook game or enables a Facebook app introduce three more people to the service?
Research from TBG Digital shared in a presentation shows social ads showed around a 30% lift increase in purchase intent and improvement in cost-per-acquisition. In a specific example TBG found that 64% of users who engaged with a fan page would recommend that product than compared to 42% of non-fans.
Mansell said that ultimately it all depends on the product category but there is still a lot of opportunity to grow for brands willing get to grip with the new metrics, adding, "I would be interested to know how much work GM had done in this area before they made this decision."
Jonathan Allen contributed the interview with Simon Mansell to this story.