Facebook has snagged Michelle Morris, Google’s auto industry director, to help lead auto sales at the social network. As U.S. industry lead, auto, at Facebook, Morris is based in the company's Detroit office, working with automakers to help them build their brands on the platform. She reports to Dan Creekmore, U.S. group lead, auto, in New York.
Morris spent seven years at Google leading ad strategies for the company’s North American automotive team. Before that, she led the Chrysler brand account at BBDO and held management positions in the agency’s corporate marketing, retail sales training and human-resource departments.
“With Facebook’s offerings, automotive marketers can build and strengthen brand opinion, consideration and loyalty while maximizing efficiencies at every level of the purchase funnel,” stated Morris in today’s announcement.
General Motors famously pulled its advertising from Facebook last year, just before the social network’s IPO, citing a lack of effectiveness. Earlier this year, however, GM returned as an advertiser to Facebook following the July 2012 dismissal of Joel Ewanick, the automaker’s former CMO.
During Facebook’s third-quarter conference call, COO Sheryl Sandberg acknowledged that auto historically has not been a strong ad vertical for the company. But she cited a recent campaign for the Alfa Romeo 4C, giving users the chance to test drive the sports car with A Formula One driver, as an example of how Facebook is making inroads in the category “client by client.”
The company says it works with every top auto brand including Hyundai, Nissan, Volkswagen, Ford, Chrysler, GM, Toyota and Subaru in the U.S. With its rollout of “partner categories” for targeting audiences based on their online purchase histories, Facebook this year gave marketers the ability to direct ads to in-market auto shoppers for specific car makes and models.