Facebook’s VP of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson admits it should have come clean about video metric inflation sooner

Carolyn Everson

Before kicking off a panel at Advertising Week with PepsiCo’s global beverage group president Brad Jakeman and JPMorgan Chase’s chief marketing officer Kristin Lemkau, Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson began the session by addressing and apologizing for the social media giant’s recent video metric miscalculation that led marketers to overestimate how much time people actually spend watching video ads on the platform.

Her apology stems from news that broke in the Wall Street Journal last Thursday, which revealed that Facebook has been overstating video view times by 60 to 80 percent for the past two years since it has only been taking into account views that last more than three seconds when calculating its ‘Average Duration of Video Viewed’ metric instead of total views.

While Everson told the audience that clients and agencies were notified of the miscalculation when it was detected last month and that it “did not have anything to do with advertiser ROI or billing,” she said that Facebook will and needs to do better.

“I think the lesson learned for all of us at Facebook, and perhaps in the industry, is that what we should have done a month ago is we should have just made it public that we had found this error, and that we had made the correction, and not just called our clients and agencies,” Everson said. “As a learning organization, we take deep pride in trust and transparency. I pride myself on over 25 years of relationships with clients built on trust.”

While Facebook did post a blog about the “discrepancy” last month on its Advertiser Help Center page, it wasn’t until last week that the scale of the issue was revealed. On Friday, Facebook’s vice president of business and marketing partnerships David Fischer apologized for the miscalculation in a blog post.

The controversy has prompted many in the industry to reinforce the importance of third-party measurement, something that Everson also addressed during her talk. She said that Facebook has been working with Nielsen and Moat for quite some time & is set to begin working with a number of new measurement partners this week, including Nielsen Catalina and Oracle Data Cloud.

“I want to also reiterate that from a Facebook perspective, we deeply believe in third party verification,” she said. “Make no mistake, we don’t believe in simply grading our own homework.”

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