Facebook Is Expanding Its Ads Measurement Capabilities After Recent Brouhahas

With a few decidedly old-school offerings

The social giant is upping its data game.
Getty Images, Facebook

After ad measurement controversies marred the fourth quarter, Facebook Inc. today is revealing that it’s expanded its relationship with data companies comScore, Nielsen and Integral Ad Science while entering a new one with DoubleVerify. Some industry players will likely interpret the moves as ways to quell concern over ad-measurement accuracy when it comes to Facebook and Instagram. From September nearly through the end of 2016, the company was hit with revelations that some of its ad stats were considerably off.

“I wouldn’t say [today’s moves are] a reaction to the metrics, I think we accelerated efforts we already had going,” said Brad Smallwood, vp of measurement and insights at Facebook. “We listened to advertiser feedback and found out that this is really important.”

Among its many new details, a few of his team’s emerging features have a particularly old-school marketing feel to them that traditional media planners may gravitate toward.

For instance, Facebook teamed with comScore last year to enable viewability verification—which attempts to qualify how many people actually saw an ad—for video impressions. Now, the pair are working together to offer an in-target reach metric on desktop and mobile through comScore’s validated Campaign Essentials (vCE) product. To put it simply, in-target reach measures not only the number of consumer impressions but how many folks in the desired target demo are reached. It’s what many media plans have been based on for ages. And, comScore’s validated Campaign Essentials product, which measures ad-targeting accuracy according to ages, gender and other demographics, will now be available for mobile campaigns.

Facebook also looks to attack the issues of cross-channel comparability. The digital company is introducing a portal for marketing mix modeling—a statistical analysis theory utilized by brands almost since the dawn of newspaper coupons. The previously mentioned measurement partners can get data directly from Facebook, Instagram and the Facebook Audience Network (FAN). The portal’s availability is designed to give advertisers more insights to whether their efforts are working in unison with other marketing channels to generate sales. More than 150 brands have evidently already employed the marketing mix modeling feature via Facebook.

Meanwhile, Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) on Facebook and Instagram are expanding to eight new countries, bringing their collaboration to 25 markets that Facebook said accounts for 90 percent of global marketing.

In terms of Integral Ad Science, Facebook is extending viewability measurement to in-stream video ads on the Facebook Audience Network. Such stats had already been available for Facebook and Instagram spots.

Also, Facebook said it has completed the integration of display ad viewability with comScore, Integral Ad Science and Moat. These partners will provide data about display ads entering the Facebook screen as well as if the entire promo appears on the screen.

Lastly, DoubleVerify will begin supporting both video and display campaign measurement validation, bringing Facebook’s number of third-party ads data partners to 24.

“We are providing more information, more transparency into what is happening on all Facebook marketing messages that are delivered to people,” Smallwood said.