Early in February 2017, Facebook announced a strategy for being more accountable to marketers, and offering them more choices in how to run their campaigns in the coming year.
Citing its partnership with more than 4 million advertisers across a range of organization types, Facebook says it will use verified data for greater accountability and transparency on measurable campaign results.
The network will also implement an audit and third-party verification. In the industry, many see the move as a response to some reporting mistakes in 2016.
Whatever the motivation, the social media network has a detailed plan for better measuring. Let’s take a look at Facebook’s accountability plan for 2017, and see what the industry has to say about it.
Facebook’s 4-Part Plan for Accountability to Advertisers
Its plan has four major parts for addressing transparency, choice and accountability:
1. More Impression-Level Data
Facebook’s verification partners will get more details on ad impressions for better campaign insight. Display ad in-view and duration data will include how many milliseconds the ad was on the screen, and how many milliseconds 50 percent and 100 percent of the ad was on the screen.
Facebook will willingly be audited by the Media Rating Council (MRC) in order to verify the information given to advertising partners. The MRC is committed to providing the media industry and its users with valid, reliable and effective measurements.
3. Third-Party Verification
It works closely with advertisers to understand their needs for measurement of attribution, audience demographics, brand lift, mobile app measurement, offline sales and reach. Advertisers can work with their preferred vendors as Facebook has 24 third-party measurement partners (including Nielsen and comScore) for independent verification.
4. New Choices for Video Buying
Video is a large part of Facebook these days, and adds value to brands and their advertising. Of course, there’s not one video strategy that works for all Facebook advertisers who want flexibility for the videos they create for campaigns.
So, Facebook is adding three video buying options for Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network:
- Completed-view buying lets advertisers only pay for ads that get viewed in their entirety (up to 10 seconds).
- Two-second buying means at least 50 percent of an ad’s pixels are in view for two consecutive seconds or longer. This is compliant with the MRC video standard.
- Sound-on buying lets advertisers buy sound-on video ads. This comes on the heels of Facebook’s video update, which shows videos with the sound automatically on.
Facebook says these latest updates continue its approach of offering advertisers more buying options, and is confident this plan will improve Facebook videos and their effectiveness.
Reasons Behind and Responses to Facebook’s Plan
Reporting from TechCrunch suggests that Facebook is taking these steps as a follow up to some mistakes in ad number reporting. For example, in December 2016 Facebook shared a discovery of underreporting of iPhone traffic from Facebook in comScore products.
TechCrunch also mentions the dissatisfaction some advertisers have experienced with various aspects of Facebook’s metrics.
Bloomberg takes it a step further by framing Facebook’s plan as a submission to that satisfaction.
Overall, the response to Facebook’s vow for greater accountability, transparency and advertiser choice is positive, if a touch unenthusiastic, presumably because the social media’s actions seem like a patch, rather than a proactive measure.
Stay Proactive About Your Ad Performance
Facebook might be implementing an accountability plan as a response to its own mistakes, but it’s still ultimately a good thing for advertisers. However, the message in Facebook’s admissions to inaccuracy is that we can’t rely on the network to be 100 percent accurate 100 percent of the time.
We can certainly keep an eye on the metrics Facebook provides. As an advertiser, you should take some time to brush up on various metrics gathered by Facebook, and be certain that you’re looking at the right metrics for your organization.
Being familiar with the data that Facebook keeps, and what it means to the bigger picture of your organization can better equip you to notice when something is off. Even if the reason is completely legitimate, you’ll gain a more complete understanding of what makes your social advertising tick.