Facebook ads are “far less viewable” than expected

Ever since Facebook admitted it had problems with key measurements, advertisers and agencies have been looking more closely at the metrics and what they mean. What they’re seeing is not that great.

Drew Heuning is the director of digital ad buying for Omnicom, one of the world’s four largest ad buying agencies. Speaking at a conference, Huening said “Facebook ads are far less viewable than people were expecting.”

Facebook is allowing some third-parties to measure its ads performance. Integral Ad Science is one of the third-parties. What they found is sending up some warning flags for advertisers.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) says for an ad to be viewable, 50% of the ad has to be on the screen and viewable for at least one second.

That’s a pretty low bar by my standard, but what’s showing up in the metrics is that a lot of ads on Facebook aren’t even meeting that standard.

56% of Facebook users only check in on mobile. 1.1 billion people are active daily users of the mobile platform.

They are use to scrolling through content. It seems scrolling quickly often doesn’t meet that 1 second mark, which hurts the viewability of those ads.

“…while I think Facebook has done an excellent job of building a system in which everything is viewed by human eyes, especially in mobile, people are scrolling very quickly, and so they’re not reaching that one-second threshold.” — Drew Heuning, director of digital ad buying for Omnicom in Business Insider

Adding to the surprise advertisers had when looking at the Facebook numbers from a third-party reporting service is the difference in the definition.

Remember, the IAB defines an ad view as 50% for one-second.

How does Facebook define it in its metrics?

“For us an impression is seen by a real person. That means it has to enter the view stream, it has to have been there for more than zero seconds, and has to be a human on the other side of it.” — Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s VP of ads and business to Lara O’Reilly/Business Insider
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