Posted by Shirley Brady on July 2, 2012 10:13 PM
Two months after pulling its paid ads from Facebook, General Motors is "in talks" to return to the site as a paid advertiser in return for access to "better data," according to the Wall Street Journal (which broke the original story of the pull-out on May 15th). GM CEO Dan Akerson and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg have spoken about the issues — GM's desire for better measurement and analytics to gauge the effectiveness of any paid Facebook advertising — that led to the falling out, WSJ reports.
GM's chief marketing officer Joel Ewanick and Facebook's global ad sales head Carolyn Everson reportedly met for the first time at the recent Cannes advertising festival to discuss what would bring the automaker back to the table, the Journal heard from a source. At that meeting, "Everson said Facebook is willing to provide GM with better data on how their ads can turn into dollars, as it has agreed to do with other advertisers, this person said. Facebook won't provide any special treatment for GM, however."
Whether or not GM can take credit for getting Facebook to improve its metrics and reporting (or receives any "special treatment," cheaper ad rates or additional data), it's certainly good news for other marketers feeling a similar need for more granular data in the never-ending quest to "prove" the ROI of paid Facebook advertising.
The Journal also noted:
The social network's top advertising executives have been on the offensive since its (pre-IPO) quiet period lifted last month, trying to counter criticism that advertising on the site doesn't work. "It is a myth that Facebook advertising doesn't work," said Brad Smallwood, head of measurement and insight at Facebook in a June interview. Behind the scenes Mr. Smallwood's group started working with measurement teams at big brands to help them track the effectiveness of Facebook campaigns. "Buried deep within these companies are measurement teams," said Mr. Smallwood. "The first step is finding those people and saying, 'What techniques do you use?'" Mr. Smallwood said it takes about a year to get the results of one campaign.
After the stand-off became public, GM had reassured its Facebook followers that it wasn't planning to abandon the site completely and would continue engaging fans on its (unpaid) Facebook pages, adding that the pull-out was temporary ("at the moment") while it assessed Facebook. Rival auto brand Ford, meanwhile, took advantage of the publicity to announce that it was expanding its Facebook advertising commitment. GM also recently announced it was pulling its ad budget from the 2013 Super Bowl and reallocating funds to sponsoring Manchester United and a Chevy China Cup to woo Chinese car-buyers.