The Wall Street Journal reports that the two sides are talking again. The chatter has even escalated to having Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and GM CEO Daniel Akerson discuss the conditions for the leading automaker's return as a paying advertiser on the leading social-networking site.
GM and Facebook weren't necessarily big marketing partners before parting ways two months ago. GM reportedly spent just $10 million on Facebook advertising last year, a tiny sliver of both its own $1.8 billion marketing budget last year and Facebook's $3.7 billion in revenue.
However, it was the way that GM broke ties with Facebook -- publicly, just days ahead of the dot-com giant's IPO -- that makes this a matter worth watching.
At the very heart of GM's reason to bolt is its concern about the effectiveness of paying to advertise on Facebook. It wants better tools to gauge campaign effectiveness. Facebook got a welcome assist shortly after GM's public breakup. Ford
Online advertising works. There's a reason Google's
Everyone seems to remember how GM dissed Facebook just as it was going public. Few seem to recall that GM also announced that it won't be buying ads in the next Super Bowl, the country's most-watched televised event of the year.
Does Facebook need GM? No. However, there's a lot to gain if the American car giant returns. It would be a sign to advertisers big and small that Facebook is effective -- and, by proxy, even more cost-effective than shelling out millions for a Super Bowl spot.
Facebook can't lose here. It doesn't have GM now, and if it does come back, it will be an encouraging sign for the platform's viability to attract greater marketing dollars in the future.