ANA Slams Facebook For Lack Of 'Transparency,' Calls For Audit

The Association of National Advertisers, already embroiled in an ongoing transparency debate with agency counterpart the 4As, is weighing in on another kind of lack of transparency in the advertising supply chain: Facebook’s recent restatement of its average video exposures.

“The recent disclosures by Facebook that they overestimated video viewing for two years is troubling,” ANA President-CEO Bob Liodice writes in a blog posted on the ANA’s Web site, adding: “While ANA recognizes that “mistakes do happen,” we also recognize that Facebook has not yet achieved the level of measurement transparency that marketers need and require.”

Liodice goes on to point out that Facebook’s metrics have yet to be accredited by industry self-regulation ratings watchdog, the Media Rating Council, and that an audit of the social network’s metrics still has not been completed.

“With more than $6 billion of marketers’ media being directed to Facebook, we believe that it is time for them - and other such major media players - to be audited and accredited,” Liodice continued, adding: “That is the standard of accepted practice that marketers and agencies have relied on for decades.”

Liodice cited a 2015 ANA study (“The Critical Need for Accredited Third Party Measurement for Viewability of Digital Advertising”) of its members concluding the need to better transparency among its suppliers and specifically cited:

  • All digital media owners allow their inventory to be measured for viewability by a third party. The survey findings revealed that an overwhelming 97 percent of marketers believe that digital media owners should allow their inventory to be measured by a third party.

  • Internal viewability measurements employed by digital media owners should not be used for the purposes of conducting outside commerce.

  • Marketers and their agencies should only use third party vendors that have been accredited by the Media Rating Council for current industry-agreed viewability standards.

  • Internal viewability measurements used by digital media owners for non-commerce purposes should be MRC accredited or IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) certified to help ensure comparability with commerce metrics.

Liodice concluded the post by noting that such transparency practices should be considered “table stakes” for digital suppliers doing business with advertisers.

Following the initial publication of this article, a spokesperson for Facebook provided the following statement: 

“We are currently in dialogue with the ANA about how we can work more closely together. Trust and transparency with our partners are paramount to the operation of our company. Our focus has always been on driving business results for our clients, and we strongly believe in third-party verification. We have a history of working with industry leaders including Nielsen, Moat, and comScore - and we continue to explore more partnerships.”

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2 comments about "ANA Slams Facebook For Lack Of 'Transparency,' Calls For Audit".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, October 12, 2016 at 6:34 p.m.

    I think it is great idea that the ANA will fund a third-party audit.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 12, 2016 at 7:12 p.m.

    What's needed is an ongoing third party auditing system---one system, not many systems---- funded mainly by the sellers but, also involving advertisers. A one-time FB audit is a nice start but it's only a band-aid, not a cure for the real problem.