‘How long are your videos REALLY averagely viewed in Facebook?’ This question was asked by millions of marketeers over the past weeks. Why? Because viewing figures have been tampered with for two years. The social media platform was eager to admit their fault.
What was the mistake?
Facebook is under heavy attack. In the past two years the company has shared incorrect figures with advertisers worldwide. The video analytics were estimated to be 60 to 80 percent higher than they really were. According to Facebook this is due to a fault in the algorithm. Could that be true? Is even Mark Zuckerberg just a man of flesh and blood? And is it human to err?
The algorithm should have gone as follows: the total viewing time divided by the number of viewers. However, until the day of the discovery the algorithm did not take into account videos that hadn’t been watched longer than 3 seconds. Therefore, they were not included to calculate the mean time, which makes the number significantly higher than it should have been. If you do count those views, the average is drastically lower. How quickly do you reach 3 seconds? Very quickly indeed. Especially when the videos start automatically on your timeline and you ‘accidentally’ catch a glimpse.
But seriously …
The question is: is all the commotion worth it? Companies must indeed provide correct information. Especially when they use non-standardised metrics, transparency is the keyword. But is the criticism not just a tad exaggerated, just like the viewing figures?
The number of likes, the time someone spends on a website and conversion are much more important for your results. Besides no one paid for something they did not get.
An important point in the whole matter is whether a third, independent party must be appointed to avoid this from happening again and keep an eye on things. Or a better control by existing instances. Carolyn Everson, ads boss / vice president of Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook, is definitely open to the suggestion: “We are aware that we are not independent. A student can make his homework but not correct it himself. That is why Facebook has been working with Nielsen for years, and with Moat for over a year now (video). There are also plans to enter into a partnership with Nielsen Catalina, to help marketeers measure their offline sales, and Oracle Data Cloud to help smaller companies in their choice of advertising. It was just an error that should not have happened and the communication could also have been better.”
The fact is that the figures of Facebook were much higher than those of the competition. Just think of Twitter and Google’s YouTube. Especially the latter competes with Facebook in terms of viewership. The media choice is quickly made. However, new results offer new perspectives: is the grass greener on the other side? Do we have to invest more in other channels? It is a thought many marketeers are thinking now that the overall confidence in Facebook is waning.
What about us?
Our creative team also likes to make videos and animations for customers. However, we have become more critical, and so we should. CIM controls traditional media players, why would we simply believe what the social platform says?
As a full service agency with 87 digital in house experts from the Intracto Group, we help with the implementation and are happy to advise on options and choices you can make as an advertiser. On the basis of the goals, figures, benchmarks and experience of our in-house specialists, we decide together what is the best and most efficient advertising choice for you.
This will avoid that a big deal is made about nothing, and the other way around.
Do we need a strict Judge Judy? What do you think? Please let us know.