Last Thursday, advertisers were told Facebook’s counting method likely overestimated the average time spent watching videos by between 60 and 80 percent, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. This was because it was only factoring in video views of more than three seconds. Technically, Facebook only considers a video “watched” if it has been viewed for at least three seconds. However, marketers grew concerned and according to Facebook, the error has been fixed, per Ad Week.
So, what does this mean for advertisers? Luckily, the price of ads is typically based on impressions, 10-second views and completed views—none of which were affected by Facebook’s view-counting mistake. These metrics were accidentally inflated for approximately two years before the discovery was made public, a fact that Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions, views as a mistake.
“I think a lesson learned for all of us at Facebook—and perhaps in the industry—is that what we should have done a month ago was made it public that we had found this error and that we had made a correction, and not just called our clients and agencies,” Everson said in a presentation during New York Ad Week on Monday.
Is it still safe to use social media as a reliable source of video traffic?
Absolutely, says Eric Ayzenberg, chief brand soulmate of the Ayzenberg Group, a Pasadena-based ad agency. “Facebook handled its video analytics revisions very well,” he said. “I think it’s just a blip on the radar considering how well Facebook video works for our clients. Although I understand the idea that a player should not also be a referee, at this moment, I do not see a third-party auditor who I would trust more.”
It’s not much of a surprise, however, that Facebook’s latest ad measuring tools emphasize human involvement for that extra layer of comfort. The corrected video-counting metrics, combined with Facebook’s new human-powered resources, should help soothe concerns while providing more in-depth insights—proving to be a marketing “blessing in disguise.”