Facebook and GM restore ad relationship after public spat

Nearly a year after the carmaker claimed Facebook ads don't work, it changes its stance and fires up advertising on the social network again.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
The General Motors page on Facebook. Screenshot by Jonathan Skillings/CNET

When General Motors pulled its $10 million advertising campaign from Facebook last year, it caused quite a commotion. Now, the carmaker seems to be having second thoughts.

GM has confirmed that it will reignite its ad campaign on the social network, according to Ad Age. This is a major turnaround from last year, when it proclaimed that Facebook ads simply didn't work.

"Chevrolet is testing a number of mobile-advertising solutions, including Facebook, as part of its 'Find New Roads' campaign," Chevrolet's U.S. VP of marketing, Chris Perry, told CNET. "Yesterday, Chevrolet launched an industry-first, 'mobile only' pilot campaign for the Chevrolet Sonic that utilizes newly available targeting and measurement capabilities on Facebook."

Four days before Facebook's initial public offering last May, GM made waves when it decided to yank its ad campaign from the social network, saying that the spending did not translate to increased sales. At the time, GM was Facebook's third-largest advertiser in the U.S. The carmaker continued its efforts on its Facebook Pages, however.

Despite GM mending its ad relationship with Facebook, it's still unclear why it changed its mind and why now. According to Perry, GM's new Facebook ad campaign is mobile only and specific to the Chevrolet Sonic.

Several reports last year said that Facebook's advertising wasn't effective because users never clicked on the ads. But it appears some of that sentiment has changed -- especially in the case of mobile ads. An eMarketer report released last week said that the social network is expected to earn nearly $1 billion from mobile ad revenue in 2013, coming in second place behind Google.

For it's part, Facebook appears to have no hard feelings over GM's flip-flop. "We've had an ongoing dialogue with GM over the last 12 months and are pleased to have them back as an advertiser on Facebook," a Facebook spokesperson told CNET. "We look forward to working even more closely with GM in the coming weeks and months."

Updated April 10 at 10:00 a.m. PT with comments from Chevrolet's U.S. VP of marketing, Chris Perry.