Statistics and opinions almost equally vary about whether or not Facebook ads work. In the automotive realm, of course, there’s General Motors. The company has been a very public critic of the paid social ads, which have the ability to target consumers based on their "like" interests. But that hasn’t stopped Lincoln or Lexus from recently throwing serious coin Mark Zuckerberg's way.
Lexus, in fact, utilized Facebook's ads and apps in an attempt to win the day at the North American International Auto Show last week in Detroit. The Japanese firm debuted its 2014 Lexus IS and IS F Sport models with a 10-minute live stream on Facebook that was pushed using the site's Page Post and Sponsored Stories ad treatments, targeting the brand's fans on the social site as well as their friends.
Facebook users could watch the live stream in their News Feed. According to Brian Smith, Lexus marketing vp, 100,000 individuals watched it live and some 600,000 had viewed it online by Friday of last week. Smith said his company also tried a so-called "big reveal" strategy on Facebook last year, i.e., live streaming the unveiling of a new Lexus model on Facebook, but the results weren’t as appealing because the video didn’t appear in users' News Feeds.
"The News Feed is why we got so many people to see it live, and it was kind of a game changer," he said. "We loved it."
In addition to ads, the company began pushing the video stream on Jan. 14 via Facebook while offering an RSVP app on the brand's page. Facebook users who made an online reservation to watch the stream shared the activity in the News Feeds, exposing the promotional event to their friends.
Brian Bolain, Lexus marketing director, suggested that Facebook's potential as a video-marketing platform may be a largely untapped resource.
"Everyone is so familiar with YouTube as a video destination," he said. "This is putting a different spin on Facebook and what the expectations might be for consumers. I am not sure it's fair to make a comparison between YouTube and Facebook yet. But this is certainly a good start for the learning process."
Bolain added, "We have 1.8 million fans on Facebook. For us not to do this would be foregoing a great opportunity."
Meanwhile, Boston-based Moontoast last week secured $5 million in Series B funding. The four-year-old tech vendor previously raised $6 million and counts Universal Music Group, Procter & Gamble, Time Inc. and Simon & Schuster as clients.