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Facebook Agrees To MRC Audit To Regain Advertisers' Trust, Promises 'Accountability And New Choices'

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Facebook went under fire last year after it came to light that it misrepresented advertising stats. The company now wants to make amends by undergoing an audit.

A few months ago, Facebook reckoned that it had been inflating the metrics for both video views and Instant Article stats. Through that misrepresentation, it led advertisers to believe their ads were performing better than they actually were. Needless to mention, the practice hurt Facebook's credibility and advertisers lost their trust in the company.

Facebook Advertising: MRC Audit

To make amends, Facebook is now committing to an audit by the Media Rating Council in a bid to regain advertisers' trust and prove that it's taking steps to redeem itself.

According to Facebook, this MRC audit aims to verify the accuracy of the stats it offers its partners. By committing to more transparency, Facebook hopes to assure advertisers that it will not offer misleading information again.

Facebook Ad Metrics: Accountability And New Choices

"As a partner to over 4 million advertisers across a wide range of organizations and objectives, we want to provide transparency, choice, and accountability," says Facebook. "Transparency through verified data that shows which campaigns drove measurable results, choice in how advertisers run campaigns across our platforms, and accountability through an audit and third-party verification."

The company also pledges to take a number of additional measures this year, including the MRC audit, more details regarding ad impressions, third-party verification, and more choices for buying video ads.

Third-Party Verification

Facebook has been using third-party verification services since 2015, when it teamed up with Moat to assess video ads. Since then, Facebook has partnered with several other third-party verification services and it currently has 24 independent analytics partners worldwide. According to the company, these 24 partners cover a number of areas including offline sales, audience demographics and more.

With this new MRC audit in the mix, the data Facebook delivers to third-party verification partners will undergo greater scrutiny. Simply put, the MRC will check whether the information Facebook gives verifiers is accurate and solid.

When it comes to the more detailed ad impressions for the ads displayed on Facebook and Instagram, Facebook pledges to include the exact number of milliseconds an ad was played, as well as the duration of a half-ad on screen.

New Choices For Facebook Advertisers

Lastly, in terms of the new choices Facebook promises for advertisers, the company promises to implement several options for buying video ads later this year. Facebook will allow companies to opt to pay only when a video has been fully paid, provided that the ad lasts no more than 10 seconds.

Another choice, meanwhile, will enable advertisers to pay based on whether at least half of an ad's pixels were displayed for at least two seconds, or whether users viewed an ad with sound.

Considering that Facebook draws most of its revenue from advertising, it makes sense for the company to boost its efforts to keep advertisers on its side. The latest measures announced aim to do just that, regain advertisers' trust by promising greater scrutiny and transparency. It remains to be seen whether this strategy will pan out, but it's a step forward in the right direction.

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