Facebook extends third party verification

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 1 February 2017

Facebook is continuing its mission to convince advertisers and agencies that it can be trusted to report the right numbers, after a series of concerning admissions of inflated and erroneous metrics bring reported.

In a blog post that went live at 3am Facebook said: “We want to give marketers the proof and confidence they need to make important decisions.”

To do that, it has added marketing mix modelling tool to help advertisers compare performance across channels and additional third party measurement capabilities to attempt to put in place more independent checks and balances on its numbers.

The marketing mix modelling portal that will allow advertisers to gather data from across the group (Facebook, Instagram and the audience network) to help provide “accurate and actionable insights” across channels.

It claims marketers will be able to compare which ads, across TV, digital and print, are driving the outcomes they want. More than 150 brands are already using it.

The Metric FY blog it launched three months ago, as the vehicle for it updates on mistakes and errors discovered in its metrics has also been renamed. It will now be known as the Measurement FYI blog, and its remit has been expanded to include measurement more broadly.

Facebook says “metrics—like the ones on your car's dashboard, your bathroom scale or an athlete's stopwatch—are only inputs into larger, more crucial measurement equations … Measurement is the process of using metrics to understand the outcomes that matter to them.”

The moves with third party partners mean Facebook can now verify or measure outcomes for every impression advertisers buy on the platform, it says.

It has updated and expanded the following:
• Expanded its partnership with Nielsen to enable Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) to measure reach and in-target performance on desktop and mobile across 8 additional markets.
• Expanded its partnership with comScore to include in-target performance in the US adopting its validated Campaign Essentials (vCE) product to evaluate in-target reach because “while viewability remains an important metric, in-target reach—the metric that media plans are built around—is critical for evaluating a campaign’s success”.
• Extended viewability measurement across apps and platforms, including video and in-stream video.
• Integrated display viewability on Facebook with comScore, Integral Ad Science and Moat, which can all provide metrics on when part or all a display ad enter the Facebook screen.
• Added a new viewability verification partner, DoubleVerify, bring its count of third party verification partners to 24 around the world. By the end of the year it will support video and display.

Scott Knoll, CEO of Integral Ad Science, described it as a “huge step in the right direction” towards greater transparency.

Last year, it emerged that Facebook had been overinflating a series of video metrics by up to 80%. It then went on to review all its reporting and found a host of further errors and mistakes amid the numbers it has been reporting to clients.

Between September and December, it revealed errors on four separate occasions. It has since been taking steps to be “open and transparent” about what it finds and what it reports, but there are still calls from senior execs the world over for Facebook to stop “marking its own homework”. 

At the time clients, agencies and trade bodies alike aired their concerns over the mistakes and misreporting, although many were reticent to publicly air the full extent of their concerns.

Agencies called it “careless and fortunate”, Mark Ritson called it a “total mess”, the AANA said it "casts a cloud of doubt over how reliable Facebook's data and self-reporting is" and ThinkTV CEO Kim Portrate said it shows that only independently audited figures are the only way advertisers can be completely confident in metrics.

AdNews also asked three client marketers if the issues changed thier view of Facebook. Holden marketer Paul Balbo, stood by the platform and said the admission of wrongdoing “gives us confidence that they do have their client best interests at heart”. 

Read what the three marketers said here:

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop me a line at rosiebaker@yaffa.com.au

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