What Facebook’s misreporting of video data means for brands and agencies

Everything on the Internet is not well.  It’s become such an intrinsic part of human life and central to the customer engagement strategies of brands and businesses everywhere. But we all must heed the warning signs, apply some rational thought before trust in these most powerful channels is eroded further.

As marketers, have we put too much faith in the might of the social media giants?With around eight billion video views per day, Facebook has led the charge and response to demand for video on social networks. But Facebook has reportedly miscalculated how long people spent viewing videos on the site.  Not once or twice, but for the past two years.It was ad-buying giant Publicis, who questioned a post added to the Facebook Help-Centre.  Digging deeper into the statement, it became apparent that “the earlier counting method likely overestimated average time spent watching videos by between 60% and 80%,” according to a Wall Street Journal report.Facebook apologised. “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,” said David Fischer, vice president of business and marketing partnerships, in a Facebook post. “While this is only one of the many metrics marketers look at, we take any mistake seriously.”Brands, media buyers and business, are rightfully alarmed.  The entire model and cost of ad space is built upon a price per view.  The discrepancy came when Facebook openly reported that it was only analysing a video seen for longer than three seconds.We must all be more questioning, and Publicis on this occasion showed great knowledge and great chutzpah to shout up.  If things seem too good to be true, they often are my grandmother would tell me, and she was never on Facebook.

The opportunity for brands and agencies is to mitigate some of these risks.  We’ve spoken at length on this blog about the changes and challenges of organic reach on platforms such as Facebook.In the modern digital marketing landscape, we must continue to use human, rational and traditional common sense if metrics don’t appear correct.  At Miappi our analytics dashboard has proved a crown-jewel in helping measure and report on the performance of our social walls.

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