Most automakers still favor Facebook as advertising channel

Article by Anita Panait, on June 23, 2012

Social networking giant Facebook continues to be one of the favourite online sites where car manufacturers market and advertise their products. In fact, carmakers Honda, Audi, Scion and Kia remain committed to Facebook, saying that the social media giant is producing a sufficient return on investment. General Motors, however, thinks otherwise as it decided to cut advertising and sponsored content on the social networking site.

At Honda, its marketing unit is feeling the positive impact brought about by its recent Facebook activity to help launch the redesigned CR-V. Facebook has helped the CR-V achieve five months of record sales, according to John Watts, American Honda Motor Co.'s senior manager of digital marketing. Watts said that Honda is happy with what they are reaping from their Facebook activity.

Watts remarked that Honda's advertising costs in Facebook is "modest" compared with GM's $30 million budget. He said that sponsored content – which means paying Facebook for better placement of News Feed items -- is "worth it" as it was able to increase audience who receives Honda's message.

Doug Simpson, Facebook manager of global marketing solutions, quipped that companies have to approach the social media site as a branding investment initially, rather than expecting that their Facebook presence would immediately result to more car sales. Simpson added there are costless forms of advertising that companies could employ to market their products like engaging loyal customers to create word-of-mouth awareness and recommendation. He disclosed that around 88 percent of U.S. new-vehicle buyers have Facebook accounts, with 27 percent using Facebook during the purchase process.

Facebook also allows companies to conduct data mining. Simpson revealed that Facebook will employ a new analytics platform that will enable advertising partners to access the behavior and "likes" of those who follow their brand, allowing for more targeted content and contact in the future.

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