Facebook social media advertising

Did Facebook really rip off its video advertisers?

Did Facebook really rip off its video advertisers? No. The real story isn’t a metric miscommunication or blunder - it’s a much bigger issue.

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Did Facebook really rip off its video advertisers? No. It’s a complete non-story. These stories have been hyped by poor research and sensational headlines, suggesting Facebook did something fraudulent. Journalists have been quick to jump on the bandwagon and feeding off the initial story without doing there on research.

What actually happened?

Here’s some context to help break this story down.

Facebook only charges marketers when users watch their video ad for 3 seconds or more. They use a metric called ‘Average Duration of Video Viewed’. Any right-minded person would naturally assume this only included those ads classed as a ‘view’.

Unfortunately, Facebook’s documentation was wrong.

  • Previously, the ‘Average Duration of Video Viewed’ = total time spent watching a video ÷ total number of people who have played the video.

  • Now, the ‘Average Duration of Video Viewed’ = total time spent watching a video ÷ number of views of the video, for 3+ seconds.

Realistically, marketers shouldn’t base buying decisions on this metric alone. Facebook hasn’t changed any code to correct this, only their terms and conditions. Therefore, careful consideration must still be applied when making purchases.

Is Facebook advertising completely flawed?

Let’s not get carried away too.

Facebook’s newsfeed ads are fed by its data, therefore making it the greatest ad format ever invented. Marketers can easily see if the ROI and so if they’re not seeing results they won’t buy more.

The real story

The real story isn’t a metric miscommunication or blunder – it’s a much bigger issue. The debate is about walled gardens and transparency. Does Facebook provide enough transparency for their own verification? Well, Facebook recently announced limited partnerships with Nielsen, Integral Ad Science and comScore to provide transparency.

For Facebook, it’s a question of user data because that’s their USP. Controlling data and protecting their users will ensure they continue to spend time in the app. However, opening doors to too many vendors and knocking down their walled garden will put that at risk.


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Posted by simonholliday