Facebook made big headlines because of its role in Russian interference in the US 2016 election. Now its making headlines because of “grave” miscalculations in its video metrics, the numbers on which their advertisers depend. That will get Facebook’s attention.
The errors came when the company calculated the average amount of time users spend watching video ads – a basic metric that guides advertising decisions. Apparently, for two years Facebook included only people who viewed the ads for three seconds or more. Since many folks jump out of ads quickly that internal decision (not an error) makes all their numbers questionable. It creates distrust among their business partners – the ones with the money. And the inflated video metrics tend to inspire more debate about digital advertising misconduct in general.
Analytics in digital advertising can be hard to interpret. There are dizzying amounts of data, but few methods for interpretation. This only complicates an already mind numbing process.
Plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against Facebook for its false metrics could receive $40 million under a proposed agreement.