GM brands track social ROI with Facebook integration

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Automotive brands GMC and Buick have integrated their online vehicle-configuration tools with Facebook to better track social media ROI. The General Motors Corp. brands worked with digital agency MRM Worldwide on the initiative.

Consumers who customize a vehicle on the brands' sites can share it with their Facebook friends and solicit comments and “likes.”

“Everyone is trying to figure out how to use Facebook to market your product,” said Jim Kruger, digital and social media manager at Buick. “This offers an opportunity beyond just [publishing] a Facebook page.”

In addition to sharing vehicle configurations, consumers can also view their friends' comments and likes within the vehicle-configuration tools.

“We already know that consumers are asking their friends and family about their vehicle selection, so why don't we just bring that together in one seamless experience on GMC.com?” said Janet Keller, GMC's digital and social media manager. She added that one-quarter of GMC.com's monthly visitors use the vehicle-building tool.

Kruger said the Facebook integration will let the brands see how consumers design their vehicles and which configurations are liked. GMC and Buick will also be able to tie those metrics to purchases, improving the social media ROI that marketers are seeking.

“The ultimate gold standard is to be able to connect how people are engaging on GMC.com and with the tool and ultimately be able to lead that into sales and how this tool helps to facilitate sales at the bottom line,” said Keller.

Neither GMC nor Buick have mechanisms in place to remarket to consumers who build and share a vehicle, other than messaging to those who “like” the brands' Facebook pages. Consumers who connect their vehicle designs with their Facebook accounts give the brands permission to access their basic profile information. Keller said the automakers may use a consumer's publicly shared interests to tailor future marketing communications.

The Facebook integration is only available on the brands' desktop Internet browser sites. However, Keller and Kruger said both GMC and Buick plan to develop a “Build a Vehicle” Facebook app, as well as a mobile-friendly version. Kruger said he hopes the Facebook app will be available this year.

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