(Guest post from Maureen McKeown. Creds below)
With all this talk about GM not understanding social media because they dissed Facebook’s new ad platform, I wouldn’t say GM doesn’t get Facebook as much as I’d say Facebook doesn’t get advertising. I know this is a bold statement. But I say it with 25 years of ad experience including working on GM’s social media campaigns when they started up at Big Fuel, as well as working for Facebook on a once “top secret” ad-unit reinvention project in 2010 well before the new timeline.
My thoughts on GM
GM was certainly forward thinking enough to jump on the social media bandwagon early. They were appreciative of their custom Facebook pages filled with content and promotions they could link too from all media channels.
Hell, they (and also Ford ) even launched a new car by live-streaming it on Facebook, and while ever-so-cheesy, they made it “magically” appear out of thin air at a car show in Vegas while people watched virtually from all over the world. GM also used its pages to post short films, a Superbowl Momentum Meter with a virtual cheering section measuring team support pulled in via Twitter hashtags, many community engagement programs, and major events like the Table of Brotherhood for Martin Luther King in DC. Nearly every GM car has it’s own Facebook page filled with content. The beauty of Facebook WAS the advertisers ability to set default pages, and list many others on a moment’s notice, where they could create engaging promotional content – the old fashioned way.
My thoughts on Facebook
Facebook just cut the legs out from under its advertisers with the new timeline and ad rules that don’t allow companies to as much as have a call to action in their HUGE company page header space. And now that there are no default pages to point to, and only three buttons up top limiting pages that get seen to three, certainly no one will find them or go looking for them. Back in 2010, Facebook came to Ogilvy (and several other top agencies) looking for ideas to improve their ad units. Being the award-driven creatives we are, we (a small team of three) my partner, myself and and ECD agreed to give Facebook a ton of ideas for free, just because they were, well, Facebook. The rule was to keep the ads as “unobtrusive as possible,” as they should naturally blend in with user content. Hmm.
We served up a slew of ideas including:
• (pre-Pinterest) a photo clipper to clip favorite products and coupons from a companies Facebook page
• ad units with coupons
• ad units you and your friends could “star in”
• ad units you could directly “buy” and “ship” from
…and many, many other ideas using what works in direct advertising and promotion.
What does Facebook do? Ignore them and instead choose to blend company ads into user updates hoping they will magically standout. Facebook has hurt its advertisers by ignoring proven advertising methodology and instead relying on user content for ad sales. That’s what I think.
What do you think?
Maureen McKeown is the founder of WOM Works, a social media company that blends traditional advertising into the social media space. She’s also a self-described tech nerd who, for fun, writes GoTechMom.com All opinions are her own.