​Facebook agrees to independent metrics testing

The social media giant bowed to pressure and agreed to a third party metrics audit following admissions of misreporting to advertisers

Facebook has bowed to pressure and agreed be more accountable via an audit and third-party verification, providing increased transparency on how advertisers run campaigns across its platforms.

The move follows the social networking giant's own admissions in November last year that it had been vastly overestimating average viewing time for video ads on its platform for two years. The metric for average time users spent watching video had been inflated by up to 80 per cent because it was only factoring in video views of more than 3 seconds. On top of this, a bug discovered in its page insights overestimated organic page reach by up to 55 per cent on 28-day reporting, and 33 per cent on 7-day summaries.

Adding further pressure was Proctor & Gamble CMO, Marc Pritchard, who last month in his presentation at the IAB conference in the US called for digital publishers including Facebook to allow an independent body, the Media Rating Council to audit its metrics.

Pritchard, who was also recently appointed as chair of the US industry body Association of National Advertisers, announced the FMCG group will be overhauling agency contracts and embracing industry-wide transparency and viewability standards to combat poor media supply chain practices.

“I confess P&G believed the myth, that we could be the first mover on all the shiny new options despite the lack of measurements and verification,” he said. “We accepted multiple viewability metrics, publishers self-reporting with no verification, outdated agency contracts and fraud threats with the somewhat delusional through that digital is different and we were getting ahead of the digital curve.

“We have come to our senses, and realise there is no sustainable advantage in a complicated, non-transparent, inefficient and fraudulent media supply chain. Getting to a clean, productive supply chain is the level playing field we all want and need.”

As a partner to more than 4 million advertisers across a wide range of organisations and objectives, Facebook last week agreed to an audit by the Media Rating Council (MRC) to verify the accuracy of the information it delivers to advertising partners.

Over the course of the year, the social media giant claimed it will ensure its verification partners will receive more detailed information about ad impressions on Facebook and Instagram to help provide marketers with better insights.

Facebook also claimed it is already working closely with marketers to understand their measurement needs on key topics such as reach, attribution, audience demographics, brand lift, offline sales and mobile app measurement.

Meanwhile, video campaigns will be overhauled later in the year, with Facebook claiming it will provide more choice for advertisers with three new buying options for video ads across Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network.

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