With social connections all the rage, a perpetual question is now coming to a head in the public square: Do Facebook ads really work? And for that matter, do ads really work on any social media destination? GM’s Joel Ewanick said its paid ads on Facebook haven’t done much for car sales. Now Facebook is on the offensive with GM and other skeptics, saying that advertising definitely does work.
Who is correct? More likely is that both sides are correct…and incorrect. Traditional advertising–with its old-school methods, expectations and metrics– doesn’t work well on Facebook and other social channels. But using Facebook to sell products–well that’s a different thing altogether. It takes a much different approach that will challenge any legacy company that grew up decades ago.
But GM seems to be on the right path, seeking new content-driven approaches on Facebook and beyond. Let’s hope that–in support of radical openness (view recent TED talks)–GM and Facebook keep their tussle and journey in the public eye. It will be good for PR, good for their businesses, and good for the rest of us too.