GM And Facebook: It’s Complicated, But It Might Work Out

By Justin Lafferty 

Not long after General Motors pulled its $10 million advertising campaign from Facebook, the Detroit auto giant is considering connecting with the social network again, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In May, GM decided to stop advertising through Facebook, as CEO Dan Akerson said that the ads were not effective. The $10 million spent through Facebook in 2011 represented a fraction of GM’s $1.8 billion advertising budget. A report came out not long after the split, saying that GM wanted too much control over its Facebook page. Since then, one of GM’s biggest domestic rivals — Ford — came out in support of Facebook, saying that the ads are effective.

But now, the Journal reports that talks have opened up between Akerson and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg (the newest member of Facebook’s board of directors).

Bloomberg reported that GM is willing to advertise through Facebook again if the auto maker sees sufficient return on investment.

The Journal summarized the talks between Facebook and GM:

(GM Global Marketing Chief Joel Ewanick) and Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s global sales head, met for the first time since the blowup at a June event in Cannes, France, a person familiar with the meeting said. Everson said Facebook is willing to provide GM with better data on how its ads can turn into dollars, as it has agreed to do with other advertisers, this person said. Facebook won’t provide any special treatment for GM, however.

Facebook is trying to prove its value to large brand advertisers such as GM, which complained that there weren’t enough concrete data that proved the value of Facebook ads.

So far, GM isn’t committed to a return, saying it will engage only if Facebook can better prove its effectiveness, people close to the auto maker said.

Readers: Do you think GM made a mistake in pulling its campaign in the first place?