Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Facebook Commits to Audit of Its Ad Metrics by Media Watchdog

  • Social network met with ad industry to discuss data needs
  • Move comes after social media giant disclosed metric errors

Facebook Inc. agreed to submit to audits by the media industry’s measurement watchdog, the Media Rating Council, helping address concerns among some advertisers who had become skeptical of the social network’s metrics.

Facebook had come under fire recently after a series of missteps in which it disclosed several mistakes in reporting data to partners and advertisers. The company conducted its own review of practices and vowed to be more transparent about errors in the future.

According to plans for the next year laid out in a statement Friday, Facebook said it aims to release more detailed information, such as metrics on how long users view an ad and how much of it was visible on the screen.

“We want to provide transparency, choice and accountability,” Facebook said. “Transparency through verified data that shows which campaigns drive measurable results, choice in how advertisers run campaigns across our platforms, and accountability through an audit and third-party verification.”

Representatives from Facebook, including Carolyn Everson, vice president of global marketing solutions, gave a presentation Thursday in Washington to the board of the Association of National Advertisers, a trade group for marketers, according to a person familiar with the matter. The meeting attendees were particularly interested in the promise for more transparency and an audit process, the person said.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported on the meeting and the plans for an audit.

Facebook’s move to work with the Media Rating Council and providing additional data “goes a long way to alleviate the concerns” from advertisers, said Bob Liodice, president and chief executive officer of the Association of National Advertisers.

“That’s what we’ve been clamoring for -- we’ve spent the last six months or so talking with Facebook about this,” he said. “This is the appropriate blueprint and framework for us to make better marketing decisions.”

Having an independent organization validate the metrics Facebook puts out makes the data more trustworthy and provides advertisers with the ability to compare results across ad platforms, he said.

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