Facebook’s vow to simplify metrics is “welcome news” for advertisers

Facebook will remove irrelevant metrics and more clearly label its data.

Facebook’s promise to provide more clarity on its advertising offering has been welcomed by the marketing industry.

The social media network announced this week that is aims to clarify and simplify the metrics used to gauge the performance of advertising on its platform. This follows intense scrutiny of a series of recent measurement mishaps, along with user feedback that the data is too confusing.


In a blog on Thursday, Brad Smallwood, Facebook, VP marketing science, revealed the company intends to label certain metrics more clearly after confirming that some advertisers were baffled about which metrics were estimates based on sampling and modelling, versus actually counted data. ‘Estimated’ labels will now appear on ad products in the company’s Ads Manager system to alert advertising clients.

Smallwood explained: “We’ve heard that businesses want more insight into our measurement tools and metrics. So we’re introducing new labels on some of our metrics to clearly show how they are calculated, and we’re removing some other metrics to help you focus on the more meaningful ones. We’re also launching a program to help educate marketers more broadly about measurement.

“We’ve begun labelling some metrics in Ads Manager as estimated or in development, to provide more clarity on how they are calculated and how you should consider using them. These labels will appear in tool tips within the Ads Manager reporting table and in the customise column selector for ads running across Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network.”

Andrew Morsy, UK MD at buy-side advertising platform Sizmek, has welcomed the development, describing it as “welcome and positive news for the industry”.

He added: “It highlights the increasing demand we are seeing for total transparency in the digital advertising pipeline. Only last week did we see Unilever threaten to pull its advertising from the biggest ad platforms, and reiterates that in today’s current news climate, advertisers understandably want to be certain where their spend is allocated and where their ads are being seen.

“The mounting desire for transparency has continued to take an ever-growing share of media budgets. Brands, advertisers and media agencies are now demanding full transparency, and want confidence in the results they receive and more control. In using the right technology to serve ads within a brand-safe environment and in the right context, advertisers can protect their reputation, personalise the consumer experience and profit from better ROI.”

In July, Facebook plans to remove approximately 20 ad metrics that marketers have described as redundant, outdated, not actionable or infrequently used. For example, the social reach metric shows the number of people who saw an ad with social information above it, such as noting a friend who also likes a certain brand.

Smallwood said: “We’ve heard from users that this metric isn’t meaningfully different from the reach metric, and we know that the insight drawn from it doesn’t indicate a business outcome.

“Removing these types of metrics will make it easier for advertisers to get the most actionable insights to improve their ad performance.”

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