In September, Facebook made a public apology in a blog post, stating that they had been miscalculating a video viewing metric. Under the old calculations, this vital Facebook metric was only factoring in video views that were 3 seconds or longer, which could lead to vastly overestimated numbers of how long people were spending watching video ads.
This metric is a huge yardstick for advertisers who purchased video ad space on Facebook. This statistic helped them gauge not only video reach, but also the amount of engagement each video produced. The inflated numbers made advertisers think that their videos were doing much better than they actually were which in turn affected where they chose to spend their advertising budget.
This error in calculation made Facebook drill down into their numbers and revealed more miscalculations. A post made by Facebook in November of 2016 highlighted several overestimations, including time spent on Instant Articles, Follower Counts, and Organic Reach. In response to these issues, Facebook introduced simpler metrics, as well as increased the scope of third-party verification of these metrics.
The “New” Metrics
We felt that we had to put the quotation marks around new because the new Facebook metrics really aren’t new. Facebook just renamed the older metrics to make them easier to understand. For example, the old Video Views metric is now 3-second video views. Similarly, the Cost per video view metric is now Cost per 3-second video view.
Facebook is also more accurately tracking website conversion metrics, updating their Results and Cost column. Remember that website conversion refers to the number or percentage of users who do something you’d like them to do in response to your ad. So whether your conversion objective is getting someone to sign up for a newsletter or simply to generate leads for your business, the new Facebook metric will more accurately track this and give you a better idea of the value you’re getting for the advertising dollar.
Facebook expanded their third-party verification partners to MOAT, Integral Ad Science, comScore, and Nielsen. There was an initial concern that third-party verification was essentially worthless because the data that they were using came from Facebook. If the data behind the Facebook metrics was also questionable, any results from that data, even if it was compiled by a third-party would be just as questionable.
Facebook anticipated this however, and allows third parties to test the system at any point without prior approval from Facebook. This means that at any point, the impression or conversion data collected can be tested by any third-party. They have also created a measurement council consisting of executives from measurement companies on how Facebook can better report statistics to users and third-party verification companies.
Impact on Your Business
We’ve highlighted ways that social media can drastically improve your reach and drive customers to your business. This impact doesn’t change whether you are strictly e-Commerce, a traditional brick and mortar store, or a combination of the two. So how does this new Facebook metrics announcement change the way you use social media?
First, it gives you more options when you are concerned about how you’re spending your advertising budget. With better Facebook metrics, you can better analyze the data that you’re given. And if you want verification, you can always pay a group like MOAT to help you analyze how effective your ad money is. More options are always better in situations like these. Whether you’re a sole-proprietor or have a thousand employees on your payroll, managing your advertising budget is a major priority for your business.
Secondly, even with the errors that Facebook has found, Facebook remains the most visited social media site in the world. The third quarter of 2016 saw 1.79 billion active users, with the number continuing to grow every quarter. This means that you can guarantee market penetration with your ads, especially considering how good Facebook algorithms are at matching ads to browsing and shopping patterns.
Lastly, the admission of the errors indicates that Facebook recognizes your advertising revenue as important. There may never be absolute transparency when it comes to the algorithms that are used to collect Facebook metrics. However, knowing that they are being reviewed regularly should give you peace of mind when it comes to advertising on this social media platform.
The choices you make when it comes to advertising have a tangible effect on your business. If you aren’t sure how best to invest your advertising budget, let us help. We at Darxe will help you determine where to focus based on your business. With a detailed plan in hand and regular reports, you can be sure that you are getting the most impact for your dollar.