GM Facebook AdvertisingUnless you’ve been in a bubble for the past few weeks, you’ll be aware that Facebook recently went public with an IPO.

You may (or may not) also be aware that a few days before said stock market launch, General Motors cancelled their $10 million advertising budget with Facebook.

Kinda begs the question – “Do they know something we don’t?”

Well, yes and no.

The reason they cancelled was, I’m certain, because Facebook advertising is not good at selling commodity items such as cars.

Let’s look at it a bit more: – think of the mindset of going to Google to search for something. You know what it is you’re looking for, you type it in, and Google produces all the relevant information you could possibly want about your chosen topic / product / service / research, etc. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for “plumbers in Belfast”, “cheapest deals on iPad 3” or you want to know “why does ice float?”, you want to know something, and Google will deliver you an answer.

In other words, at that moment, you’ve got an itch, and Google will help scratch it for you.

Now consider your average Facebook user – in broad terms they’re there to interact with friends, catch up on what’s happening in their peer group, and generally engage with other users – in other words, they don’t have a specific reason for being there (in fact, they’re probably there to kill some time!), and they’re certainly not there to be sold to.

And this is an important difference – to give an analogy it’s like the difference between chatting with friends in your local coffee shop and looking for something in the Yellow Pages.

At the coffee shop, it’s social. With the Yellow Pages, it’s focused on an outcome and, well, itch-scratching!

Anyway, back to General Motors and their Facebook ad-slap.

I’m not saying Facebook is not a good advertising platform, but it does depend on your company / brand. There are certain types of company / brand / product which suit better for Facebook advertising. For example, if you can build a personality around it; if your business is based around events, travel, entertainment, or any kind of user experience; if your product is customised, personalised, or other has any other unique selling point; then you may have a chance with Facebook advertising.

But I believe the objective for Facebook (and FB advertising in particular) should not be the sale, but to attract and engage with a prospective customer.

Give them a reason to connect with your business, build trust and develop a relationship with them, and sell to them later.

By Aidan Breslin – Google+