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Facebook Adjusts Ad Metrics After Bugs And Glitches Yielded Errors In Reporting

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Facebook videos have already become abundant on the news feed section. Company executives also believe that the news feed could actually morph into an all-video platform within the next five years.

Despite this abundance, Facebook has struggled to provide accurate reports on the reach and success of such videos to its advertisers and publishers. Back in September, a report revealed errors that inflated the average viewing time by at least 80 percent.

On Wednesday, after two months of checking the platform, including the review of no fewer than 220 metrics, Facebook admitted to various other errors in its calculations, which were posted and summarized in a lengthy report.

Facebook Ad Metrics Errors

Facebook dubbed the errors as a "bug" that miscalculated the daily scope of a Facebook Page by failing to omit repeat or duplicate visitors. In fact, the corrected metric could decrease a 28-day measure by 55 percent.

Facebook representatives repeatedly point out — and most recently in a blog post following the discovery of the first error — that none of the data affected any of the advertisers' billing costs on the company.

However, this does not cancel out the importance of providing proper metric reports to consumers.

Another error miscalculated video counts by also failing to include how video loads on a user's device. Facebook estimated the numbers could go up by 35 percent since it previously undercounted the data.

The third error was found in Instant Articles, a quick way for publishers to create interactive mobile content on the site. The company revealed it had overestimated the actual average time spent reading the articles by 7 to 8 percent since August.

What Happens To Facebook Video Now?

It might be difficult to perfect or correct ad metrics immediately, but Facebook announced it would commit to data transparency.

"There will be an ongoing review," Carolyn Everson, VP of Global Marketing Solutions, says. "I don't think we'll ever be perfect, but we will strive to be as accurate as possible and transparent."

The social media giant says it will continue to publish posts on updates to its ad metrics and reports on product changes. It has also started renaming some of the ad metrics. For example, the standard "video views" moniker for watching videos for 3 seconds has been renamed to "3-second video views."

Facebook has also disclosed its plan to further incorporate third-party verification companies, apart from its current collaboration with Nielsen, comScore, Moat, and Integral Ad Science. This is good news for advertisers since it could increase report validity and improve error identification.

The company also plans to create a Measurement Council composed of officials from logistics companies and advertising clients to oversee ad metrics and communicate the data to the public.

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