Agencies Want Increased Transparency For Ad Metrics

Agencies are calling for increased transparency around ad buys and time spent with media, following Facebook's and Dentsu's admission of miscalculation of metrics. Both apologized and are taking steps to correct the situation.

While transparency issues center on agency pricing, Almighty Chief Innovation Officer Rob Griffin believes the focus should turn to transparency throughout the entire digital supply chain. 

Companies like Nielsen and comScore are trying to improve metrics and measurements. "Someone has to," Griffin said.

The overstatement of time spent watching videos on Facebook is another example of why advertisers must push for third-party measurement on ads within the Facebook wall, according to Liane Nadeau, associate director and platform lead at DigitasLBi.

"The addition of comScore and IAS measurement on their video ads earlier this year is one step in the right direction, but walled gardens like Facebook and Google have been ‘grading their own homework’ for quite some time. We must push them to open up to outside verification," Nadeau wrote in an email to Media Daily News.



"This is going to become even more important as Facebook expands the Facebook Audience Network, which does not provide advertisers transparency into where their ads are running or the true media cost," she adds.

Data issues do highlight long-acknowledged transparency issues for the overall industry and increases the importance of third-party measurement, Macquarie Capital Analyst Ben Schachter wrote in a research note published Friday.

"FB itself noted that 'we also give marketers choice by offering third-party video verification options with companies like Nielsen and Moat," he wrote. "We want marketers to measure video with us in the way they feel most comfortable. We do think that advertisers and their agencies will internalize these types of issues, and the lasting impact will be increased reliance on third-party measurement and verification."

Schachter believes the issue will "increase vigilance on the part of advertisers and their agencies around first-party metrics and data ... but advertisers will still need to be where the audience is: online and on FB."



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