Testing the patience of brand partners, Facebook reported some additional ad-metric inaccuracies on Wednesday.
On one of its Pages dashboards, for instance, a summary number showing 7-day or 28-day organic page reach was miscalculated as a simple sum of daily reach instead of de-duplicating repeat visitors over those periods, Facebook admitted.
“However, the vast majority of reach data in the Page Insights dashboard … was unaffected,” the social giant insists in a new blog post.
The re-duplicated 7-day summary in the overview dashboard will be 33% lower on average and 28-day will be 55% lower, according to Facebook. The “bug” has been live since May, it said, adding: “It does not affect paid reach.”
Facebook also said it is making an “improvement” to Page organic reach to match what it has already done for paid reach. “Reach counts will now be based on viewable impressions,” the company said.
For paid ads reports, the social net is also moving to a stricter definition that only counts reach once the post enters the person's screen, i.e., “viewable impressions.” With the “stricter” definition, the company estimates that reported reach will be 20% lower on average.
The news comes about two months after Facebook copped to inflating the average time it told brand partners that users were viewing video ads. Going forward, Facebook is vowing to provide a more accurate picture of brand’s campaign performance.
That effort includes the creation of a new internal review process, and Metrics FYI -- a new blog with which the social giant promises to keep marketers abreast of ad measurement updates and changes.
Facebook is also exploring additional third-party reviews to validate its present ad reporting, the company said.
“We’re also launching the ability to verify display impression data through our third-party viewability verification partners, including Moat, IAS, and comScore,” according to a company statement.
Facebook is also partnering with Nielsen to include Facebook video and Facebook Live viewership in Nielsen's Digital Content Ratings (DCR).
This should give publishers access to third-party verification for video metrics and allow for comparable digital and TV metrics in Nielsen's Total Audience Measurement, according to Facebook.
Even before these most recent revelations, marketers were smarting over Facebook’s restatement of average video views. In particular, the Association of National Advertisers called the bloated estimates a big deal.
“The recent disclosures by Facebook that they overestimated video viewing for two years is troubling,” ANA President and CEO Bob Liodice asserted in a blog post. “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.”
In light of the fact that Facebook’s metrics had yet to be accredited by the Media Rating Council, Liodice called for an official audit.
“With more than $6 billion of marketers’ media being directed to Facebook, we believe that it is time for them … to be audited and accredited,” Liodice asserted.
Not all industry leaders have been so critical of Facebook, however. At an Advertising Week event, Interpublic Group CEO Michael Roth said the matter was “not that big a deal.” That’s because average time viewed is “not a key measurement for buying on Facebook,” Roth said.
Jeff Hinz, managing partner and digital director Mediacom, agreed. “From a position perspective with my clients, we don’t buy on those standards from Facebook … so it doesn’t affect us,” Hinz said during a recent panel discussion at OMMA Video.
“However, what it does speak to is … transparency and accountability,” Hinz noted. It’s a “true issue,” he said.