The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Facebook overestimated the average time users spent watching videos via their platform by up to 60-80%. Facebook came clean to the error and admitted they were not taking into consideration any
videos that were viewed for less than 3 seconds. The inclusion of those videos would have dragged that average down considerably.
Although Facebook says that the error did not affect billing, the news presents a different picture of engagement than what was actually taking place. Advertisers should consider this news when they manage budgets to decide if Facebook video is a viable channel to drive incremental reach.
All Response Media Viewpoint
Inevitably, this revelation brings up the question of trust, especially in light of the recent failings of large corporations. However, we sincerely doubt Facebook intended to inflate viewing numbers.
This issue does highlight the need to properly audit activity through third party auditors, the way linear TV is with BARB, although this approach is not perfect. Additionally, advertisers must define actionable key performance indicators (KPIs) on how the campaign is performing as this strategy highlights opportunities to optimise activity and better drive ROI. From a brand advertiser’s perspective, campaign performance may be more difficult to measure. Yet, this challenge must be undertaken if advertisers want to know the full impact of their advertising budget.