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Facebook Is Trying To Woo Automakers To Advertise On Its Platforms

Facebook is going after automakers to increase advertising revenue from an industry that hasn’t been a big buyer of ads on the social media network platform.

According to a report in Bloomberg News, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer, will host a Facebook Automotive Summit, marking her return to Detroit after five years. She also participated in a women-only event in which she shared the stage with General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra before touring a factory and talking with hundreds of GM employees, reported Bloomberg.

The idea behind the efforts is to get the word out that automobile manufacturers can make money by selling ads on Facebook. “Our industries are converging. Detroit’s writing software and Silicon Valley is building hardware,” Sandberg told about 400 auto industry professionals at a downtown theater, according to Bloomberg. “The opportunities to learn from each other have never been better.”

Sandberg said at the event that a recent OnStar ad targeted uses of GM’s services that don’t have a data plan. The executive said that the campaign boosted data plan sales by 7 percent. A GM Cadillac ad generated 42,000 leads, which resulted in 450 sales, she said.

When it comes to digital advertising, the social media company is wildly successful, but in the auto industry, it hasn’t made many inroads. TV is still the preferred choice when it comes to where most car companies spend their advertising dollars. With automobiles, there is no way to show an ad on Facebook’s platform that leads directly to the purchase of a product like in other markets. But the social media company thinks there are other ways to prove the return on an investment from marketing on its platform.

E-Marketer predicts 71 percent of carmakers’ digital advertising spending in 2017 will go toward mobile. “The U.S. automotive industry is the second-largest spender on digital advertising behind retail. That makes it an enormously important target for Facebook,” Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst at eMarketer told Bloomberg in a statement. “Facebook obviously wants more of those mobile ad dollars.”

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