Social / September 29, 2016 / By Erin Martin
Facebook's Metric Mishap
What Advertisers and Publishers Need to Know About Facebook’s Miscalculated Video Advertising Metric
For the last two years, Facebook has expounded on the benefits of video advertising on their platform. Naturally, the industry was shocked to hear Facebook had inflated their Average Video Duration metric by not including views of less than three seconds (AdWeek). This inflated metric bolstered their video advertising credibility, positioned them as a better platform to advertise on, and may have influenced budget planning in their favor.
Average Video Duration may not be the exclusive metric publishers buy upon, but it is a variable in making the buy in the first place. It’s also a key metric for performance measurement that helps within the context of Facebook’s generous view-counting methods (YouTube doesn’t count a view until 30 seconds or ad completion).
This has been a troublesome admission for publishers who rely on Facebook’s metrics to assess their commitment to branded content and video distribution. Publishers have come to rely on Facebook largely due to a perception that may not be entirely accurate – and by investing so much of their content distribution efforts in Facebook, they’ve undercut their ability to monetize their own platforms.
Still, publishers will most likely continue to advertise with Facebook. They’ve adopted difficult-to-change content strategies around the social network and it’s too late to revise these strategies. Adam Noble, Head of Product Marketing and Sales Strategy at Mixpo, elaborates on why publishers are feeling angry, “Facebook has spent the past two years loudly touting their video consumption – it was the manner by which they began competing with YouTube and TV for video ad dollars. If I were a more cynical man, I’d argue that this mistake was convenient in how well it matched up with Facebook’s business strategy. Imagine if a major TV broadcaster or cable network news network was caught inflating their primetime TV viewership, and then reacted by saying that it wasn’t that big of a variable in how the ad dollars were spent on their platforms. How would the industry react to that?”
However, this miscalculation may not affect advertisers as negatively. Justin Kistner, Vice President of Product at Mixpo, explains the faulty metric and how it actually may not be that harmful to the advertisers who have come to rely on it.
Whatever the cause and effect of Facebook’s metric mishap, two things are clear. First, Facebook needs a third party to monitor their advertising metrics. Second, in this period of uncertainty, publishers should position themselves as an option for greater transparency and accountability.
Download Mixpo’s latest report, The State of Digital Advertising for Publishers.