Report: GM Wanted To Take Over Facebook Pages

By David Cohen 

Why did General Motors pull $10 million of advertising off Facebook? According to reports, it came down to an issue of page control, meaning, GM wanted to take over an entire page with its branding, and Facebook declined.

AdAge reported that the discussion took place at a meeting between GM Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick, other top GM marketing executives, and sales executive from Facebook.

According to AdAge, GM wanted a higher-impact presence, feeling that sponsored stories and the ad units the social network offers on the right-hand side of its pages weren’t enough, but Facebook held fast to its mantra of not bombarding its users with advertising.

Facebook Vice President of Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson told AdAge not to expect anything resembling a homepage takeover on Facebook, adding:

Marketers that don’t quite get that those are the two fundamental pillars that make us different often will refer back to the formats that they’ve been used to over the past couple of decades.

We have 900 million-plus people on the platform, and our job is to make the advertising on the platform as good and as compelling as content from (users’) parents, or their friends, or their boyfriends or girlfriends. So when a marketer asks for something like that, that’s just not what works on Facebook, so we would say no.

Everson also pointed to the logout ads Facebook introduced in February, but their effectiveness is debatable, considering the high number of users who never log out of the social network.

Nigel Morris, chief executive officer of Aegis Media Americas and a member of Facebook’s invitation-only client council, provided AdAge with the counterargument:

The issue fundamentally (is): Within the confines of the platform, will it be able to grow advertising as fast as it needs to? And it’ll depend, as it does in all media, on showing how effective the platform is and demonstrating the ROI (return on investment), especially in a world where more and more options exist for brands to engage with consumers. There are more options but fewer scalable ones.

Readers: How do you think the battle between keeping the Facebook experience as advertising-free as possible and the need to grow revenue will play out?