ANA Asks Facebook to Open Up Its Platform for More Third-Party Measurement

One week after details about Facebook inflating its video metrics for advertisers were discovered, the Association of National Advertisers has called for an audit and accreditation of the social platform’s metrics.

The ANA’s qualms stem from a report in The Wall Street Journal last week finding that Facebook overestimated the amount of time users spend with videos by anywhere from 60 to 80 percent, according to a letter from Facebook to Publicis Media that the publication acquired.

Facebook has since apologized, with multiple execs at Advertising Week discussing the mistake and a blog post from David Fischer, vp of advertising and global operations, explaining how the metric should have reflected the total amount of time spent watching a clip divided by total number of people who watched it. Instead, the faulty metric showed the total time divided by views of videos.

In a blog post, ANA president and CEO Bob Liodice, wrote, “While ANA recognizes that ‘mistakes do happen,’ we also recognize that Facebook has not yet achieved the level of measurement transparency that marketers need and require.”

The trade organization’s specific concern is that Facebook metrics are not vetted by the Media Rating Council-the industry watchdog that creates standards for advertisers to buy media against. Unlike other publishers and media companies, Facebook’s so-called walled garden limits the amount of data that brands have into their campaigns, and the company has held back on giving third parties significant access into the platform, meaning that brands have to rely heavily on Facebook for insight into their campaigns.

“With more than $6 billion of marketers’ media being directed to Facebook, we believe that it is time for them-and other such major media players-to be audited and accredited. That is the standard of accepted practice that marketers and agencies have relied on for decades,” Liodice wrote.

“Internal viewability measurements employed by digital media owners should not be used for the purposes of conducting outside commerce.”

Liodice also cited an ANA report from last year that found that 97 percent of marketers think their ad inventory should be measured by a third party. The report also found that 65 percent of advertisers “very strongly feel” that media should be accredited specifically with the MRC and 90 percent of marketers aren’t confident that their ads meet viewability requirements.

“ANA believes that these are the table stakes for digital advertising,” Liodice said. “Fairness, equity, comparability and accountability should be the overriding principles that should govern all parties in the ecosystem. ANA does not believe there are any pragmatic reasons that a media company should not abide by the standards of accreditation and auditing.”

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