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GM 'friends' Facebook — for now

General Motors resumes advertising on Facebook after deciding that mobile spots on the site weren't selling enough cars

  • Choosing a car at dealership. Thoughtful grey hair man in formalwear leaning at the car and looking away

General Motors has confirmed it will resume paying for Facebook advertising after deciding last May that mobile spots on the social network didn’t help sell enough cars.

“Chevrolet is testing a number of mobile advertising solutions, including Facebook, as part of its ‘Find New Roads’ campaign,” said Chris Perry, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet marketing. “Today, Chevrolet is launching an industry-first ‘mobile-only’ pilot campaign for the Chevrolet Sonic.”

The move comes almost one year after GM decided Facebook ads were not yielding an adequate return on the $10 million a year the company was spending annually. Joel Ewanick, GM’s former chief marketing officer, made that decision, but he was fired last July for not disclosing the full cost of a promotional agreement with the Manchester United soccer franchise.

GM maintained its Facebook brand pages, which anyone can create for free, but the episode caused some to question Facebook’s business model as the social network was preparing to sell its stock to investors.

Facebook executives have been courting GM to resume buying ads.

“We are pleased to have them back as an advertiser on Facebook,” Facebook said in a statement. “We look forward to working even more closely with GM in coming weeks and months.”

The social network has launched an advertising initiative that allows brands to pay to “promote” posts in users’ news feeds.

It was not immediately clear whether GM is paying to promote posts about the Chevy Sonic in the site’s news feed.

Doug Frisbie, Facebook’s head of automotive vertical marketing, said in a recent interview with the Detroit Free Press that auto brands would benefit most by getting their content into the news feed rather than the side rail.

“You have to be part of the news feed,” he said. “Be timely, be relevant, be always on and reach people on mobile.”

  • GM 'friends' Facebook — for now

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