Another day, another mea culpa from Facebook regarding ad-metric inaccuracies, and what it considers to be "improvements."
The latest update involves the social giant’s estimated reach methodology, a tool in the ad creation flow that shows advertisers the number of users they can expect to reach with potential ad campaigns.
“We're now using a methodology less reliant on sampling/extrapolating our audience sizes, which in most cases should show advertisers a less than 10% change (increase or decrease) in the audience sizes shown in the tool,” a Facebook spokeswoman explained on Friday.
Additionally, “We misallocated the extra reactions per user that happened during the live broadcast to the ‘Reactions from Shares of Post’ section,” the spokeswoman said.
Mistakenly, Facebook had been counting them in the “Reactions on Post” section.
Finally, Facebook has identified a discrepancy between the counts for the Like and Share buttons via its Graph API, and the counts when a URL is entered into the search bar in its mobile app.
“We're in the process of resolving this issue so that the Like and Share button metrics and our mobile search tool metrics match up,” she said.
“Note that none of these are billable metrics updates,” the spokeswoman added.
The news comes less than three months after Facebook copped to inflating the average time it told brand partners that users were viewing video ads. It then reported additional ad-metric inaccuracies, last month.
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.
Facebook also said it was partnering with Nielsen to include Facebook video and Facebook Live viewership in Nielsen's digital content ratings.
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 at 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.