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General Motors Harnesses Facebook To Fuel Impressive Vehicle Recall Rate
A strong national campaign that featured custom Facebook Ads to unengaged drivers helped GM create one of the most successful recall rates of all-time.
There are 2 million General Motors vehicles on the roads that were created with a defective ignition switch that cause drivers to lose control without any warning. The faulty switches have led to at least 42 deaths according to the LA Times. A recall was needed and GM found themselves looking to social media for a solution.
GM tried the traditional methods, direct mail, phone calls and leveraging dealers to help resolve this deadly issue. While 99% of people became aware of the recall, the sheer number of folks getting their cars fixed was underwhelming. They then tried offering $25 gift certificates that helped spur tens of thousands of responders and tickets to auto shows and state fairs that brought in a few more thousand. Then GM hit social media.
According to the LA Times, GM used the data marketing firm Acxiom to reach a list of unengaged targeted drivers digitally. GM was able to show targeted recall ads to the unengaged users on Facebook as well as other locations such as MSN, AOL, and on apps like Candy Crush or Words With Friends. The messaging helped educate owners on the program that specifically related to their make and model. GM also provided followup support on Facebook to spur drivers to get the recall completed.
The results of these campaigns have been overly effective. In nine months 60% of the vehicles have been repaired, making it one of the most successful large recalls to date. Not bad results, especially for a company that just a few years ago denounced the effectiveness of Facebook Ads altogether.
The lesson learned here is that the unique targeting capabilities of custom audiences and behavioral capabilities that Facebook offers can be leveraged for many practical marketing applications and even to help save lives.