Facebook Partners With 3 Companies to Improve Its Verification of Ad Metrics

Social media platform increases transparency

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In an effort to improve transparency and maintain marketers' trust, Facebook is expanding its third-party verification program related to viewability and attention metrics for ads.

In a blog post published today, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company said it's adding Nielsen, Integral Ad Science and comScore to the list of choices advertisers have when looking for an outside perspective to measure the effectiveness of their photo and video ads on the social media platform. 

"Independent ad verification partnerships are critical to making sure advertisers trust their ad delivery data, so they can explore exactly how to drive value for their business in feed-based platforms," according to Facebook. "As we continue adding partners and capability, we'll provide updates."

Facebook has come under some scrutiny by advertising industry leaders who are reluctant to pay for video views that users might be merely scrolling past instead of viewing in their newsfeeds. Last fall, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell said Facebook's standards were "ludicrous" and called on the company to improve the way it measures whether a person actually viewed a video.

In September—a day after Sorrell's remarks—Facebook began partnering with Moat, which offers independent verification of Facebook video ads metrics. While the latest announcement adds three new companies to the list, the partners are still a few months away from verifying the ad viewability and attention metrics, which is increasingly demanded by advertisers who spending on the platform.

"We are thrilled to work with Facebook to bring high quality independent measurement of viewability to the marketplace through our Digital Ad Ratings service," said David Wong, svp of product leadership at Nielsen. "We believe it will bring greater transparency to the value of digital ads and further anchor Nielsen as a leader in digital measurement."

What's clear to most in the industry by now is the digital ad money spent on Facebook is no small sum. In fact, in the first quarter of this year, 85 cents of every new dollar spent on digital advertising will go to either Facebook or Google, Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak recently told The New York Times.

Agencies like WPP are also working to take viewability into their own hands. Last fall, it invested in comScore's acquisition of Rentrak.

"We're excited to work with Facebook to offer our clients greater transparency into the performance of their holistic campaigns, and to provide increased confidence that their ads have the opportunity to be seen," said Manish Bhatia, comScore's chief product officer. "Partnerships like this enable advertisers to mitigate wasted ad spend, encourage greater trust between buyers and sellers, and contribute to enhancing the overall value of digital advertising."

@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.