What Marketers Need to Know About How Today’s Top Social Platforms Measure Video

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At the Association of National Advertisers' annual Masters of Marketing Conference in Orlando, Fla., this week, CMOs from Procter & Gamble, McDonald's and Georgia-Pacific will be sure to address Facebook's recent video flub and ramifications for tracking social video.

The tech giant revealed that it inflated the amount of time users spend watching video by up to 80 percent, drawing the ire of advertisers who felt they were misled by nonaccredited data.

But the problem goes beyond just Facebook, as other digital platforms also use their own sets of metrics. Still, most marketers prefer the standards of industry measurement authority the Media Rating Council. One week after Facebook's video miscalculation was discovered, the ANA called for an audit of the platform's metrics and asked for third-party verification through the MRC.

"What we're trying to do with all media is achieve a certain level of reach—Facebook, YouTube [and] Snapchat reach hundreds of millions of users in the United States," said Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at P&G. "I would prefer to have a common measurement standard. In fact, the MRC has a standard, and I'm fine with that standard."

Bob Liodice, ANA president and CEO, added: "All of the major media are accredited by the MRC—that's kind of our trust mark. It gives us the sense that what any particular media source is doing is appropriately verified or at least the process is appropriately verified. It's kind of like grading your own homework. You wouldn't rely on a financial statement that hasn't been audited."

At the same time, there is a case for more nuanced, platform-specific metrics, said Douwe Bergsma, CMO of Georgia-Pacific. "We do like the customized opportunity to measure across the different platforms," noted Bergsma. "A video on YouTube might serve a very different objective for one brand than another brand." For now, there are disparate measurement tools. Here, how Facebook and other social video players stack up regarding video views:

@laurenjohnson lauren.johnson@adweek.com Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.