In a post on the Facebook Business section of its website, Facebook has today announced measures to improve the transparency of its ad metrics. The move is arguably in response to a number of criticisms from digital advertisers around effectiveness, transparency and brand security.
Procter and Gamble, in 2017, announced it had cut its digital advertising budget by $140 million without damaging its profits. It cited poor ad performance and brand security concerns as the motivations for the cut.
A number of advertisers pulled their budget from Google’s display network after discovering their advertisements were appearing beside extremist content.
Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have also been embroiled in a host of controversies relating to organic and paid content, notably in relation to “Russian interference” in European and North American referendums and elections.
Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat and vice-chair of the Federal Election Commission, has also created a framework which will be put before the FEC on March 8th and, if approved, will ensure Facebook and other online ad networks will be subjected to the same advertising standards as television and radio.
Facebook has implemented changes in response to the criticisms it has faced, including measures to verify the identity of political advertisers, and this latest development is aimed at giving advertisers more information about how metrics are calculated and how best to measure their performance on Facebook.
As of today, Facebook will label certain metrics in its Ad Manager platform as “estimated” or “in development” in the hope of providing advertisers with more insight on when they should use them.
Facebook has also stated that metrics marked as “estimated” will be based on sampling or modelling; it says estimated metrics are often used when calculating real-time data.
Metrics listed as in development will be “new or in testing” and will most likely apply to new ad features; they will be subject to change dependent on whether Facebook retains the feature.
Facebook has also stated it will remove 20 metrics that, based on feedback, advertisers have deemed “redundant, outdated, not actionable or infrequently used.” It will begin removing these metrics as of July, 2018.
One particular example marked as “unhelpful” by Facebook advertisers is the “social reach” metric, which calculates the number of people who saw an ad with social information above it. Facebook states advertisers don’t believe this metric is meaningfully different from the reach metric.
Facebook has also announced plans to offer online training in measurement and metrics through a course entitled “Measure What Matters.” The course will launch in March 2018 and will focus on a range of topics including ad delivery and cross-channel and video measurement.