Now it’s time to disappoint all those publishers who have their campaigns running on Facebook. Marketers and ad agencies are to realize, that metrics made up by Facebook were not nearly true. Facebook has been overestimating the number of views of video content for two years. So what are the consequences for the deceived publishers? And does it really ruin Facebook’s reputation?


Facebook’s metrics

Serious questions about counts videos on Facebook started appearing already last year. The Facebook reports about video performances on its platform were too optimistic. And in order to outstrip marketers’ investigations, Facebook has made recently a self-revealing statement which made a huge noise in media marketing. On its advertiser help center Facebook confessed that in the key metric were included videos views just for more than 3 seconds. That’s what they call “Average Duration of Video Viewed”. And it doesn’t matter if the sound is turned off. So the stats turns out to be artificially inflated. As a result, Facebook also admitted that it probably overestimated time spent watching videos by, just imagine, 60% to 80%, according to the Wall Street Journal report.


Facebook Retention At 30 Seconds


Facebook’s attitude towards video content

The giant media platform realized long ago that the future of digital media lies in video content. So Facebook pushed its limits to launch a huge campaign supporting videos. And it managed to gain the quick growth of video consumption over the last years. But it seems that Facebook staff don’t understand that people visit the platform not only to watch videos – for such cases they have YouTube. They visit Facebook to read news, connect with relatives and so on, therefore a lot of video content is simply scrolled through or watched without sound. By the way, that’s the reason why Facebook hate YouTube: it takes away Facebook’s audience (read – «revenue») and the hope to be the first in video content providing. But unlike Facebook, YouTube counts a video after 30-seconds play. So its metric may seem much clearer.


Live Videos. YouTube Vs Facebook


Publishers and marketers feel deceived

Such miscalculations affect both publishers and marketers. As for the first ones, they may have overrated the performance of video advertising on Facebook. It also may have mislead their plans while choosing the most appropriate platform to run the videos on. As for media companies and publishers, it has an impact on them too. The inaccurate data may made them misjudge the success of the video content and the types of it that people like to watch. All this reinforces concern about Facebook’s politics of so-called «walled gardens». Such system allows only limited third-party companies to get access to their data. Now it’s obvious that publishers will demand from Facebook to let them to plug into the system and provide verifications.


Facebook apologies

Facebook Vice President of Business and Marketing Partnerships David Fischer made a statement apologizing to all marketers and publishers who might have been affected by an inaccurate data. «The metric should have reflected the total time spent watching a video divided by the total number of people who played the video. But it didn’t – it reflected the total time spent watching a video divided by only the number of “views” of a video (that is, when the video was watched for three or more seconds). And so the miscalculation overstated this metric. While this is only one of the many metrics marketers look at, we take any mistake seriously», says Fischer. Now Facebook is going to launch a new metric, “Average Watch Time”, which is supposed to reflect video views of any duration.

Owing to this case, Facebook’s reputation is a kind of knocked down. While media companies and marketers are counting up losses, Facebook should be trying its best to improve the situation. Now it’s up to the platform to return its credibility and publishers’ loyalty.

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