POV: Facebook Measurement Update


In the face of recent criticism over inaccurate data reporting, Facebook has announced a series of initiatives designed to provide deeper understanding of the performance of its products and increased levels of third party measurement.

Details and Implications:

For its first initiative Facebook has expanded its partnership with Nielsen to enable its Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) product to measure reach and in-target performance on desktop and mobile across 8 new markets, bringing the total to 25 global markets. New markets are: New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Puerto Rico, Turkey, Taiwan, Poland and Ireland. It has also extended its partnership with comScore going beyond viewability to include in-target performance for Facebook properties in the United States. This will start with tests using comScore to evaluate in-target reach for audiences on desktop and mobile through its validated Campaign Essentials (vCE) product.

The initiative is welcomed as it provides demographic support of traditional Facebook data targeting across more markets and products. This enhancement also brings Facebook closer to what we regard as a standard facility across most other digital vendors. We continue to push all publishers and platforms, including Facebook, to introduce third party audience verification across all markets as soon as possible.

The second initiative sees the extension of third party viewability measurement beyond Facebook and Instagram video to more placements, apps and services including Audience Network in-stream video via comScore and Integral Ad Science (IAS). The issues surrounding display viewability are now being addressed on Facebook through comScore, Integral Ad Science and Moat. These partners will be able to provide metrics on when a display ad enters the Facebook screen and when the entire ad appears on the screen. Facebook is also adding a new viewability verification partner, DoubleVerify.

For some time GroupM have been pressurising Facebook to firstly allow and then to extend the use of third party verification to bring it in line with the majority of the market. So it is good to see progress although the speed of integration and the interpretation of output data has been slow.   We welcome the inclusion of more verification partners to provide more robust comparisons. However, we are keen to see measurement extended across more markets and to see faster acceptance of output data to allow us to make better informed investment decisions.

The final initiatives involve two ways of improving the sharing of insights. The first of these involves the expansion of the Metrics FYI blog to cover all aspects of measurement. It will be renamed Measurement FYI. The second sees the introduction of a portal where measurement partners can gather data directly from Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network to provide better quality inputs for market mix modelling (MMM). The MMM portal is designed to provide more accurate and actionable insights for advertisers that engage in cross-channel measurement and planning.

Finally advertisers and agencies are being allowed through the garden walls to have exportable access to Facebook data that was previously restricted solely to its domain.   Whilst we are still to learn the full extent of data access and whether this is available to all clients, it is certainly a positive step in the right direction and will allow access and use of source data. However, given recent measurement issues, we will continue to have worries about the true accuracy of FB sourced data unless it is third-party verified.