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Facebook publishes timely update on third-party verification as P&G's cry for transparency ripples through industry

Facebook updates on measurement

As pressure mounts for online media owners to be open to third party measurement, Facebook has revealed a series of expansions to its third-party verification as well as its own viewability measurement programme and more cross-measurement tools.

Facebook’s timing of this update is coincidental, to say the least.

One of the world’s biggest advertisers P&G laid down the gauntlet this week when its top marketer Marc Pritchard said that he would no longer be satisfied with the murky metrics it’s getting in return for a multi-billion dollar media spend.

There are “too many players grading their own homework,” he said and among his demands for greater transparency was the requirement for media suppliers to give him back metrics verified by third parties.

This, of course, is not a new call. Google and Facebook have been the subjects of the ‘walled garden’ debate for some time although the latter has been opening up to more third-party measurement by bringing in Neilsen and comScore in recent years.

But, as trust wavered in light of admission of mis-measurement on video metrics, The Drum reported on the inevitability of Facebook becoming less protective of its data and offering the cross-measurement with other ecosystems that most marketers crave.

With P&G threatening to pull (more) money from Facebook, it seems more is wanted from Facebook by marketers and the risk of others following in Pritchard’s footsteps is on the horizon.

Third-party verification

In a blog post published today (31 January), Facebook detailed how it was improving third party verification.

Firstly, it’s expanded the partnership it forged with Nielsen to enable its Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) product to measure reach and in-target performance on desktop and mobile across eight additional markets, bringing the total to 25 global markets.

It has also expanded the partnership with comScore, going beyond viewability to include in-target performance for Facebook properties in the US.

“We formed a partnership with comScore in early 2016 to enable viewability verification of our video impressions. While viewability remains an important metric, in-target reach — the metric that media plans are built around — is critical for evaluating a campaign’s success,” it said in a blog post.

“To that end, we’re beginning tests with comScore to evaluate in-target reach for US audiences on desktop and mobile through their validated Campaign Essentials (vCE) product.”

It has also sought to extend its own viewability measurement offering. Having started with video on Facebook and then Instagram, it is now extending to video on Audience Network with verification from both comScore and Integral Ad Science.

"Through our third-party measurement partners, advertisers are now able to verify or measure outcomes for every impression they buy on Facebook. We will continue to make investments in these integrations over the coming months to meet advertisers’ needs for transparency and verification."

Over the coming year, DoubleVerify will be integrated as a viewability verification partner which will cover both video and display.

Improving cross-channel measurement

In addition to the update on third-party verification, Facebook also said it would introduce a marketing mix modeling (MMM) portal “where measurement partners can gather information directly from Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network on behalf of their clients.”

It will basically allow marketers to compare which ads - TV, digital and print - are driving their desired outcomes 150 brands are already making marketing decisions based on this information.

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