Earlier today news broke that American motor giant GM had pulled its entire $10 million dollar paid advertising budget from social media platform Facebook. While the marketing team at GM mentioned that it is routine to shift budget between various social media platforms over time, it is quite obvious that GM feels negatively about Facebook advertising as a whole. They plan on continuing to use Facebook for its content and interaction purposes, but will no longer take part in Facebook’s growing paid advertising program.
For many in the world of digital marketing, this comes as a major surprise. While a move such as this by a major corporation can sometime indicate inadequacy (in this case with Facebook Advertising), it can also indicate poor strategy on behalf of the brand (in this case GM).
It has been proven over the lifespan of Facebook advertising that the platform has incredible strengths when it comes to building your social reach and running campaigns focused around branding. It is widely known that Facebook is not a major direct sales driver, and any business who is using it under that impression is most likely making a substantial mistake. Facebook can be a big player in the big scheme of things, but it is important to create expectations and place attribution on the value of your campaigns.
So what are some of the reasons GM may have pulled these ads? Let’s take a look at common mistakes and misconceptions when it comes to Facebook Advertising.
Common Misconception #1 – We Don’t Need to Plan
Just like any other advertising platform, Facebook requires a well thought out strategy. Based on what we know about Facebook’s strengths such plans could include increasing fans by a large percentage, increasing fan interaction, and increasing awareness. Drilling down to specifics in these and associated categories can give you a concrete vision of what you want to accomplish with Facebook.
While none of these tactics are directly resulting in sales, they play an important role in widening a brand’s audience and creating more of a community feel around the brand. Social media is the community in which your brand exists, and to increase awareness is only to become more popular and well-known within your niche.
Common Misconception #2 – Facebook is Going to Directly Result in Tons of Sales!
Can you sense a common theme here? It is not wise to make a direct correlation between Facebook advertising and sales because you will always walk away disappointed. Instead, you need to realize the importance of what you are doing when it comes to the big picture. If you set a plan based on fan growth and fan interaction numbers you can use those as a baseline for measuring your success in Facebook Advertising. To judge Facebook’s advertising platform purely based on sales in ludicrous in a world where having well defined expectations for community growth will nearly always have a positive affect on overall growth.
Common Misconception #3 – Facebook is Only About Branding
Here is where we flip the script on you a little bit, and that is because technology is a great thing. While it should be quite obvious at this point that Facebook is not a direct sales driver, there are still ways to measure attribution and measure the effectiveness any given Facebook campaign has on your sales numbers. A recent trend in analytics has been the use of multi-channel funnels, which is a solution that attributes weight to each medium a user reaches in the lifetime of the purchase cycle. For example, we can now tell if a user who first engaged a brand through social media next searched for them in Google and what other steps they took on their path to making a purchase. Social plays a big part here, and so far we are seeing that Facebook and other forms of social media are strong contributors to an effective online strategy.
Now there is no reason to assume that GM was this far off base when it came to their Facebook ads, but there are indications that the automotive giant may have been a little too loose with their expectations and a little off base with their strategy. Facebook advertising is still a very viable form of marketing that can build your brand and have incredible effects on the big picture as well. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to give Anvil a call we are always willing to chat.