GM is pulling their Facebook ads – should you?

According to the Wall Street Journal, GM is all set to slash their $10m Facebook advertisement budget to $0. Why? According to the company, Facebook is a good platform for engaging their clients, but not an effective network for marketing the company’s vehicles. That sounds just about right – since the network was created to facilitate person-to-person connection and engagement.

Selling ads is a relatively new Facebook product. Now that the company is public, I expect it to grow and improve rapidly in order to satisfy shareholders. While the network is a vast database cataloguing the personal lives and preferences of over 3 billion users, Facebook has failed to provide marketers with the level of access and diversity of product that would deliver shared success from advertising.

So how would you know if Facebook is not a good place to spend your advertising dollars? Here are three things to consider:

1. Long-term ads perform better than short-term placements
There are a lot of people on Facebook, but they are not there to click on ads. It takes a long time for users to view and then click on an ad. The longer your campaign run-time, the better the results will be.

2. Awareness or action – there is a difference
What is the purpose of your campaign? If want to generate awareness of a product or cause you can do that pretty quickly through an ad campaign based on impressions (the amount of time your ad will appear because someone is looking). Alternatively, if you are trying to get someone to click, or “like “– or take some other action, your campaign will need a lot of time, and more money. Facebook’s CPC (cost you pay for each time someone clicks) campaigns work great – but slowly if you are a small buyer.

3. Friend, fan and follow – now what?
Growing your list of followers can’t be the only goal of our ad campaign. If that’s the case, your campaign won’t perform well – and your fans will not engage your brand beyond a “like”. A successful ad campaign will need a full engagement plan to keep fans and subscribers happy and spreading the word about your brand, service or cause.

Social media advertising presents a great opportunity for marketers to access a tremendous amount of information about their target audience. It’s really the next frontier for customer engagement and lead generation. Perhaps one of the best things that could happen to this new field is Facebook going public – I believe a top performing ad platform is finally in the making (fingers crossed!)