comScore Can't Keep Up with Changing SocNet Ads

Yesterday Nick mentioned on All Facebook that Facebook has modified ad formats throughout the social network yet again, now displaying three ads, up from two per page. This was just the latest in a string of changes made to Facebook ad display options, which has also included video ads on the homepage. But who’s keeping track? comScore is trying.

According to Red Herring, comScore is under-counting ad traffic on Facebook because of the constant modifications made to the ad formats. For instance, counting display ads and not content-laden marketing ploys could mean that a portion of advertising methods aren’t being efficiently included in reports reflecting Facebook’s potential to deliver ads to users.

But if the real issue is comScore’s restrictions defined by the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s opinion of what a display ad is, then counting multiple forms of advertising methods and formats is indeed a difficult task on Facebook and other social media sites. Branding on a social network can come in many forms, and the more engaging the branding can become, the more effective it is. Whether it’s a contest or a fan page on Facebook, the gathering of eyeballs can still lead to an increase in directed traffic, as well as growing brand recognition. And while the IAB may not recognize the various ways in which branding can connect with users, Facebook does, with its revamped metrics program.

As more social networks, such as LinkedIn and MySpace, seek more integrated ways in which to offer brands a way to engage their users, the very definition of engagement-based advertising shifts in concept and practice. And with advertising budgets shrinking in the online sector, creative advertising is a necessity. That means a lot of shifting around is likely to occur on Facebook and every other major social network out there. The Red Herring notes that comScore is currently working with Facebook directly in order to provide a more accurate measure of advertising, especially as valuations of Facebook in relation to veterans like Yahoo has become a major point of contention during this economic recession.