Measuring return on investment for social networks can be hard enough without having to worry about whether or not your analytics are correct. In an attempt to better serve marketers—and their own reputations—the top social networks are working hard to instill faith in how data is obtained.
After owning up to a number of accidentally inflated metrics, Facebook has been hard at work assuring brands that going forward, Facebook will be more transparent than ever.
“As a partner to over four million advertisers across a wide range of organizations and objectives, we want to provide transparency, choice and accountability,” the company said on its blog last month. “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.”
Over the coming year, Facebook will get incredibly specific on ad impression data—down to the millisecond. The company is also committing to an audit by the Media Rating Council (MRC) to ensure accurate information is provided to clients.
“Measurement allows marketers to understand the effectiveness of their advertising,” Facebook said in September. “But measurement across different devices, channels and platforms is tough without a consistent denominator. That denominator should be real people. When real people aren’t at the center of your digital measurement campaigns, up to 66 percent of digital conversion events can go unrecognized. People-based measurement tells a better story about how your ads are really performing.”
“Committing to measurement is critical, but just the first step,” Google said. “We believe that that the industry needs metrics that are trusted, transparent and easily verified. Today, we’re pleased to share several updates on the work we’re doing with third party verification and audit partners to ensure that the metrics available from Google are objective and accurate.”
Despite its popularity, Snapchat does not currently offer on-board analytics for marketers, and very little for users—something that its top creators take issue with. One thing it does regularly disclose are reports detailing when user information was requested and/or provided to government officials.
Twitter has followed suit with its own transparency report and went a step further to break down this data by agency, country, type of request and more.
Social media users love to share every detail about their lives—especially what they ate for lunch—but it’s always good to know what can legally be done with that information, and that goes for businesses, too. Particularly in light of the nation’s political strife, transparency by social networks we use and trust can go a long way—from video views to why the FBI wants your lasagna recipe.