Facebook Measurement Errors

Monday, November 21, 2016

This week, I was interviewed by Digiday about the latest round of reporting errors about Facebook ad performance for an article called “Facebook's latest measurement errors rankles ad buyers."

You can count me among the rankled.

As Digiday described it...

"Facebook announced that it had miscalculated several metrics including the organic reach of posts, video completions and time spent on Instant Articles. As a sop to advertisers, Facebook said it would form a measurement council and provide more third-party verification. The moves could turn out to be mere fig leaves, but allowing third-party measurement would give in to ad buyers complaining that Facebook was "grading its own homework.""

This is on top of the errors in reporting on video completion views Facebook had admitted to two months ago. I was quoted in the article saying, "Facebook's pronouncement that it doesn't influence billing is astounding. While it may not influence how they bill, it influences how advertisers spend, and that's fundamentally the problem."

In digital marketing, performance drives investment. We test multiple things and then we increase spend on what works. So, the claim that they didn't bill improperly is disingenuous and irrelevant. Millions—more likely billions—of ad spend have likely been driven to Facebook based on false reporting of performance. Whether that is a result of incompetent or unscrupulous behavior from Facebook, it's a big deal.

Ultimately, Facebook is being forced to embrace transparency and third party measurement that will prevent this kind of erroneous reporting in the future. But right now, a lot of brands are justifiably asking themselves if they can trust any of the big players in digital with their money.

Read the whole report here.

About the author
Adam Kleinberg

Adam Kleinberg is CEO and founding partner of Traction. He has written over 75 articles in publications like to AdAge, Adweek, Fast Company, Forbes, Mashable and Digiday.

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