By one estimate, Google and Facebook together receive 85% of all new digital ad spend, but this doesn’t mean the world’s largest social network is resting on its laurels.
Instead, it is aiming to make it easy for advertisers to establish the worth of their Facebook ad campaigns with a global launch of Facebook Advanced Measurement, a tool that lets advertisers compare the performance of their Facebook campaigns with their campaigns on other platforms.
Previously available exclusively to some of its biggest ad clients, Facebook will soon make Advanced Measurement available to all advertisers through the Facebook Business Manager interface that advertisers use to manage their ad accounts.
According to Business Insider, Advanced Measurement will allow advertisers to compare their Facebook campaigns to the campaigns they’re running elsewhere, including Google AdWords and the Google Display Network.
Specifically, advertisers will be able to determine which campaigns on which platforms “drove the most purchases on their online store, or had the highest reach among their desired target audience.”
Facebook Product Marketing Director for Measurement Scott Shapiro calls Advanced Measurement “the next phase of our measurement journey” and while he notes that the functionality will be available to tens of thousands of businesses using Facebook to market their wares, he acknowledged that Advanced Measurement will require some level of savvy.
“It’s [for] businesses that have a real digital marketing person on staff. It’s not [for] a coffee shop where the barista is posting once a day,” he told TechCrunch.
Facebook says that it will not use the data from Advanced Measurement to optimize advertiser campaigns; the tool simply reports performance comparisons regardless of whether those comparisons reveal that Facebook ads perform better or worse than competing platforms.
A response to calls for increased transparency, metrics flubs?
The decision to make Advanced Measurement available to all advertisers comes at a time when more and more marketers are calling for major ad players like Facebook to increase transparency by providing more data and allowing third party verification.
They also follow a year in which Facebook was forced to admit multiple times that it had reported inaccurate metrics to brands and advertisers. There was an error that caused a video viewership metric to be vastly overstated, and an error that caused Like and Share counts retrieved through Facebook’s Graph API to be inconsistent with the counts displayed through search queries in Facebook’s mobile app.
While none of the metrics flubs directly resulted in advertisers being charged inaccurate amounts, Facebook was sued as some advertisers claimed that the inaccurate metrics induced them to spend more money on their Facebook ads.
By making advanced measurement and attribution tools like Advanced Measurement accessible to all of its advertisers, Facebook could help allay some of the growing concerns advertisers have – if, of course, those advertisers actually trust that the data reported by these tools is accurate.