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GM To Spend $1.5 Billion Online Through 2010

In what could be "the online marketing shot heard 'round the automotive world." GM is saying it will dedicate half of its $3 billion marketing budget to digital and one-to-one marketing over the next three years. Because of the marketer's size--GM is the country's third-largest advertiser--some think its stated commitment to digital advertising could have a significant ripple affect across all U.S. brands.

GM is looking to focus on search, gaming, mobile and a broad array of other interactive application. The move represents yet another step in the migration of auto advertising to the Web, as manufacturers increasingly accept that the buying process now frequently begins and ends online. Hyundai, for example, plans to double its online spending in 2008 over the previous year.

This is not the first indication from GM that it plans to be more aggressive with its digital efforts. Brent Dewar, vice president of field sales, service and parts in North America told Ad Age last year that the manufacturer will persuade its dealers "to shift their focus to digital vs. spot TV" starting this spring.



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