Facebook bows to marketer pressure as it changes viewability metrics

Advertisers will soon have the option to pay for an ad on Facebook only if it is 100% viewable as the social network bows to concern from brands over how much of their ads are currently seen by consumers.

Facebook says it will work with third-party verification company Moat to determine if an ad has been viewed. There is, however, no minimum time that the ad has to be in view for.

“While it remains our belief that value is created for an advertiser as soon as an ad is in view, we also believe in offering advertisers control and flexibility over how they run their ads,” says Facebook in a blog post.

The new buying option will be available across all advertising that appears in Facebook’s news feed including video, text and images.

The move follows growing pressure from advertisers over ad viewability. Brands are increasingly concerned that they are paying for ads that consumers only see part of and therefore do not have full impact.

Some companies, including Google, have suggested that currently only half of online video ads are viewable. A 2014 study by the search firm found that 56% of web banner ads are never seen.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau counts an impression as 50% of an ad being in view for at least one second. Currently, Facebook counts an ad as viewed if any part of it is on screen for at least three seconds although there is the option to chose only to pay if it is viewed for more than 10 seconds.

A number of marketers have spoken up about viewability. Keith Weed, at a recent Guardian event, called for digital ads to be 100% viewable.

He has welcomed Facebook’s latest move.

“It is very encouraging to see Facebook joining the ranks of digital media partners who are setting themselves apart – and this commitment continues the momentum. Our hope is that these steps will lead ultimately to 100% viewability through third party verification across the industry,” he says.

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Marketers waste £485m on unseen ads as rise of programmatic causes ad viewability to drop

Thomas Hobbs

Less than half (49%) of online ads served in the UK met the IAB and Media Rating Council’s recommendations – that an ad is only considered viewable if it is 50% is in view for at least one second – in the second quarter of 2015, according to a new report from Meetrics, suggesting brands could have wasted £485m on ads that weren’t seen.

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