Facebook Commits to Third Party Audit, Provides New Ad Options
As explained by Facebook:
"As a partner to over 4 million advertisers across a wide range of organizations and objectives, we want to provide transparency, choice and accountability. Transparency through verified data that shows which campaigns drive measurable results, choice in how advertisers run campaigns across our platforms, and accountability through an audit and third-party verification."
To assure and assist advertisers, Facebook's offering or undertaking the following.
1. "More Impression-Level Data"
In order to provide advertisers with more context and insight into ad performance, Facebook's looking to provide marketers - on both Facebook and Instagram - more detailed 'in-view' information about ad impressions.
Facebook will now give advertisers data on the following three new measures:
- Milliseconds that an ad was on the screen
- Milliseconds that 50% of the ad was on the screen
- Milliseconds that 100% of the ad was on the screen
How helpful this is, of course, will be relative to your business and goals, but having access to more data is always better. The more specific breakdowns will also provide more context as to which elements of your creative are working and which are turning people away.
2. MRC Audit
Facebook has also committed to being audited by the Media Rating Council (MRC) to verify the accuracy of the information they provide.
The move is already being praised in the advertising community, with many noting that the audit will help alleviate advertiser concerns and establish more trust in the platform's metrics.
3. Third Party Verification
Facebook's also expanding its pool of third party verification partners.
"We've been 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. Independent verification continues to expand and we now have 24 global third-party measurement partners so marketers can work with their preferred vendor."
The efforts underline just how serious Facebook is taking the concerns about the accuracy of their ad metrics - Facebook knows that if they lose advertiser trust, the damage could be significant.
And with reports like this one from Nielsen, which shows video view counts were significantly inflated under the system before the reported errors, it's easy to see why Facebook needs to do everything they can on this front.
4. "New Choices for Video Buying"
And lastly, Facebook's looking to provide more options for video ad buyers, with three new options to be made available "later this year".
- Completed-view buying - Advertisers will only pay for video ads that have been viewed in their entirety, for any duration up to 10 seconds
- Two-second buying - Compliant with the MRC video standard, where at least 50% of an ad's pixels are in-view for two continuous seconds or longer
- Sound-on buying - Advertisers will have the ability to buy sound-on video ads
These are some interesting additions - particularly "sound-on" buying. Previous research from Facebook has shown that:
"...when feed-based mobile video ads play loudly when people aren't expecting it, 80% react negatively, both toward the platform and the advertiser"
Given this, it's surprising that they'd be looking to offer "sound-on" as an option, but the details of how that system might work are not clear as yet.
Facebook's ad metrics issues are a big problem for the platform. While The Social Network continues to grow, its importance as an ad platform also rises, but the key to maximizing the potential of The Social Network's massive scale lies in its ability to maintain advertiser trust and keep delivering results for those paying for reach.
And while Facebook is clearly performing well on the ad revenue front, it still has significant potential to grow, and any seeds of doubt will cause ad spend to shift. This is evident in some the data following Facebook's initial announcement of their metric errors last year - Standard Media Index, for example, reported that spending targeted specifically at video on Facebook dropped 32.4% in the last three months of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015, while spending on YouTube grew 11.9% during the same period.
Those shifts could quickly become wide-scale trends, particularly if Facebook continues to report metric errors.
The Social Network needs to take action to ensure that doesn't happen.
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