The Real Reason Why General Motors Pulled Their Ads from Facebook

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General Motors just pulled $10 million of advertising from Facebook because it wasn’t working.

Would you like to know why?

It’s because Facebook is a bad environment for selling commodity items like cars.

See for yourself: Go to and plug in the answers for GM. GM gets a 4 out of 10, a pretty low score. General Motors should have consulted my free web tool before they blew their $10 million.

What works in Facebook advertising? Let’s compare it to Google:

  • Google is about the itch you’re trying to scratch today. Facebook is about your identity, the tribes you belong to and your culture.
  • Google is the Yellow Pages. Facebook is the Coffee Shop.
  • People go to Google to make decisions. People go to Facebook to avoid making decisions.

So how do you sell cars on Facebook?

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Well, think of it this way. If you put a car on display in a coffee shop, what kind of car would it need to be for customers to not get an “aw yuck” reaction?

I bet a 1934 Ford Street rod would look really cool in a coffee shop. It would probably also sell well on Facebook.

If the cars you sell are a form of escapism, you can sell your cars there. Facebook is a good place to advertise Mini-Coopers and VW Bugs and Corvettes.

But Facebook is a bad place to sell Ford Escorts and Buicks and Toyota Corollas. Ho-hum.

Whatever you sell on Facebook, it has to have personality. Make your product an escape from the humdrum and it’ll have a fighting chance on Facebook.

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

5 Comments on “The Real Reason Why General Motors Pulled Their Ads from Facebook”

  1. Except Ford — the 6th largest advertiser in the world — is doubling-down their Facebook advertising, and they’re advertising the Ford Fiesta largely through Facebook and linked-up YouTube and Twitter events.

    It’s not that Facebook is necessarily the wrong place to sell cars, as Ford is proving — it’s just the wrong place to ADVERTISE cars.

  2. Thanks for the great advice, as usual. I used your points on a yahoo finance message board thread that was attacking facebook for how ineffective the advertising was vs. google.
    And as you’ve mentioned before, FB is a place to try and get their attention, get them to opt in, and sell them later.


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