Facebook Adds Audit, Third-Party Ad Verification

Dogged by recalculations of crucial viewership stats, Facebook today announced a Media Rating Council audit of its figures "to verify the accuracy of the information we deliver to our partners."

It also said it wil offer third-party verification by 24 global third-party partners so marketers can choose to work with a vendor they prefer.

Facebook also said it will present new buying options that would let advertisers buy and pay for only the ads that fit the time-frame standard they prefer.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal,  Facebook’s Carolyn Everson, vice president for global marketing solutions, and others, on Thursday delivered a report to the Association of National Advertisers trying to address the concerns.



As Internet advertising increasingly gravitates to a few big players, some advertisers argue that they’ve lost a way to accurately measure viewership and data. The third-party verification could alleviate those concerns. 

Facebook has provided a few nasty examples . In September, Facebook said the metric it used to report “average user time” was inflated because it only counted videos that were viewed for over three seconds.

In December it said it had miscounted engagement figures and another stat related to Facebook Live videos.

Not surprisingly, advertisers became concerned.

Facebook’s statement Friday said, “Our verification partners will receive more detailed information about ad impressions on Facebook and Instagram to help provide marketers with better insights.”

As for the ad options, Facebook said “later this year” it will present three new options advertisers:

--”Complete view buying” in which advertisers will only pay for video ads that have viewed in their entirety, “for any duration up to 10 seconds;”

--”Two second buying,” a time frame that matches the MRC minimum standard, where at least half of an ad’s pixels are in “continuous view” for two seconds or more;

--And “sound-on ads” that give advertisers the ability to do just that.

The announcements seem to be a necessary and showy step to convince advertisers they’re getting what they’re paying for, just as it appears Facebook is getting serious about becoming an even larger player in the ad business by producing its own program-length content.

And while the moves seem to suggest Facebook is facing large-scale backlash from advertisers, the opposite may be just as true.

David Wehner, Facebook chief financial officer, warned last summer that its growth would likely stall a bit because it was running out of places to put advertising.

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