Facebook admits metric inflation

Facebook admits metric inflationFacebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook has again admitted it is over-stating metrics to advertisers – this time by as much as 55 per cent.

The social media giant, which is on course to takes its revenue to near $US30 billion for 2016, said today it was exploring additional third-party verification measures.

It promised to launch an “FYI metrics” blog to improve transparency and undertake an internal review to ensure its claims of reader engagement were clear and up to date.

Erroneous metrics include:

Page Insights – Organic Reach:

Repeat visitors were not de-duplicated in the seven and 28-day summary reports, thus inflating figures.

Facebook said that it expected the true figure would reveal a 33 per cent drop in the seven-day summary, and a 55 per cent drop in the 28-day summary.

Instant Articles – Time Spent:

A calculation error resulted in a 7 to 8 per cent over-statement of average time spent since August.

Analytics for Apps – Referrals

Clicks to view photos or videos on Facebook have been counted as referrals instead of clicks that lead directly to an app or website. On average, 30 per cent of referral clicks counted were actually Facebook content.

Video – Measuring Completions

Occasional synchronisation issues between audio and video have resulted in a reduced 100 per cent competition rate for videos. An update will increase this figure by roughly 35 per cent.

Click here to see Facebook’s full explanation of its metric miscalculations 

Facebook said in a blog post that the metric updates were designed to give commercial partners and the industry “more clarity and confidence about the insights we provide”.

“Our goal going forward is to communicate more regularly about our metrics, so that our partners can focus on doing what they do best — serving their customers — with the best insights possible,” the company said in a statement.

These updates follow a Wall Street Journal report in September that Facebook had been significantly over-estimating the average time spent by users watching videos.

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