Is Facebook a Strong Ad Investment for Ford?

Ford (NYSE:F) is approaching social media marketing differently than rival General Motors (NYSE:GM), which has drawn criticism from Ford executives for having abandoned Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) advertising, an announcement GM made only yesterday.

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According to Ford’s Director of Marketing Communications Matt VanDyke, Ford is doing more advertising on Facebook and is using the social media site as a critical part of the company’s media mix. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is more than an advertising network, he said, and advertisements must be catered to the site. Social media is massive in its reach and if appropriately guided and applied, advertising on Facebook can be potent. A Ford marketing insider was critical of GM’s most recent move, calling it odd to summarily cut off paid advertising on Facebook.

On Tuesday, GM announced its decision to abandon Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). GM’s move rocked the social-media and advertising worlds in part because the news came a few days before Facebook’s planned IPO on Friday, valuing the company at over $100 billion. GM is not the only company reluctant to hop on the social media marketing bandwagon. Other big-brand marketers have voiced uncertainties about whether paid advertising on Facebook is worth the investment.

GM has paid Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) nearly $10 million a year for advertising, which amounts to roughly two days’ worth of overall media buying by the company. GM executives noted that they are still spending roughly $30 million a year on their brands’ overall Facebook presence, including content initiatives that can be integrated with paid advertising.

On the other hand, Ford’s global head of social media asserts that the company has made its Facebook presence productive for its brands and nameplates by ensuring that paid advertising is integrated with content on Facebook and directly pertinent to vehicle launch. Ford collaborates with Facebook to decide what will work, focusing on meaningful partnerships to generate engagement, according to VanDyke.

Recently, Ford combined paid advertising and content on Facebook in a “customizer” app for the Mustang, which included sponsored placement of a video on the logout page. The video received over a million views in one day.

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