FB paid video ad metrics accused of 150-900% inflation: Will marketers now take a stand?

Facebook has come under the spotlight again for its miscalculated paid video ad metrics. In 2016, it was reported that Facebook ads had been inflated in metrics by 60-80%. However, in a recent unsealed court document, its paid video ad metrics was "accused" to have been inflated by 150-900%.

Back in 2016, the initial lawsuit by advertisers against Facebook was for "unfair business practices". However, the complaint was amended into a class action lawsuit when several documents had cited Facebook committing fraud. In addition, the plaintiffs cited, in the court document, that internal Facebook engineers were aware of the miscalculation occurring as early as in 2015.  Facebook did not respond to Marketing's queries.

This is not the first time conversations have surfaced about Facebook lack of clarity and sharing of data. Social media players such as Jeffrey Lim, general manager at Carbon Interactive said that Facebook has generally kept the metrics it provides to marketers a mystery. When asked why marketers are not taking a stand against the "mystery", he explained that without audit and full transparency, they stand on shaky ground.

"Marketers will not be able to take a stand when such a situation arises," he said, adding:

This is the price of monopoly unfortunately.

He added that to salvage the situation, a third party audit or an alternate platform is needed to "force" Facebook to look into the lapse.

Karu Khoo, head of digital marketing, Creative Unicorn, echoes that Facebook has been known to not disclose explanation to its marketers. In turn, marketers are not fully equipped with the knowledge to question Facebook's tactics. A marketer has to find the time to audit data and its accuracy to challenge the social media giant. Khoo explained that it will be "good" practice to compare data and identify what works instead of "relying" on a tool for measuring performance metrics.

Sanchit Mendiratta, partner at Happy Marketer said that this time the implications are more related to video consumption on the platform as opposed to the ads itself. With several counts of miscalculated metrics over the years on its back, Mendiratta added it is time for the social media giant to face the facts.

However, with the miscalculations dating back to 2015, Mendiratta said that it questions the integrity of the platform. Facebook requires a house cleaning across its organisation's measurement methodology, he said. He added that this could potentially cause a positive ripple for the platform as:

No platform is too big to fail.

Marketing has reached out to several marketers to comment on the matter.