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Ford: Facebook Ads Work, GM's Just Using Them Wrong

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Have Ford's swipes at GM tempered any damage done by GM when it mentioned to the Wall Street Journal that it was withdrawing $10 million in advertising from Facebook? | Getty Images

Facebook's got a friend in Ford.

After General Motors announced it was killing its Facebook advertising just days before Facebook's IPO, Ford sent a tweet aimed at its auto rival (h/t Business Insider):

Ford Motor Company
It's all about the execution. Our Facebook ads are effective when strategically combined with engaging content & innovation.

A GM executive told the The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that Facebook advertising was ineffective. Critics have used metrics such as click-through rate to cast doubt on the product-pushing power of Facebook. A Webtrends report puts the Facebook click-through-rate (ad clicks vs. views) at 0.05 percent, far less than Google Display's 0.4 percent.

GM declined to comment for this story.

A Ford spokesman later reinforced the company's message, saying the old rules don't apply on such a new platform.

"You won't make the right choices if you view Facebook as an advertising network," Matt Van Dyke, Ford's director of marketing communications, told Forbes. "You can't just pick up advertising that would run somewhere else and put it on Facebook as an ad banner."

Ford, for its part, says the company has had success integrating paid advertising and content together on Facebook, according to Forbes. Ford also says it has collaborated directly with the social networking site.

A source familiar with Facebook's advertising deal with General Motors said the automaker had misused the platform. When GM tried to promote an application for its Chevrolet Plant a Tree campaign last fall, it focused on developing the app without properly investing in the channels to get it seen -- a combination of paid advertising and content -- according to the source, who asked not to be identified.

"You can't take an 'if you build an app, they will come' approach," the source explained to The Huffington Post.

The idea behind the application was that Chevy would plant a real tree in a national forest for every virtual one planted by a user. Although the application was posted on Chevy's page, it didn't receive additional distribution via paid media, the source said.

In addition, the application, developed by an agency hired and later fired by GM, appeared below the fold of the presentation and was designed as a one-time interaction "instead of giving users a reason to come back over and over again," the source added.

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