Facebook apologizes to advertisers for inflating video stats for 2 years

Facebook didn’t do math properly for nearly two years. While calculating the performance of their video ads, they overestimated the time user spent watching its video by 60-80%. As a result, advertisers were given a misleading view of how well their campaigns were performing, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Vice President of Business and Marketing Partnerships, David Fischer while clarifying the stance of Facebook in a post stated that a month ago, company discovered an inaccuracy in the way it was calculating the ‘average duration of video viewed.’

According to David, the metric should have been calculated as ‘total time spent watching a video’ divided by ‘total number of people who played the video.’ However, it was rather calculated as ‘total time spent watching a video’ divided by ‘number of views of a video.’ It is pertinent to mention that a view is being counted when a video is watched for 3 seconds or more.

David Fischer stated in his post:

“As soon as we discovered the discrepancy, we fixed it. We have also reviewed our other video metrics on the dashboard. We have found that this has no impact on video numbers we have shared in the past, such as time spent watching video or the number of video views”

Apparently, advertisers are not amused with the error. For good couple of years, they were shown an incorrect picture of how their video ads were performing for last 2 years.

The social tech giant has become cautious after the incident. They now calculate the average watch time of a video by taking the total watch time of a video and dividing it by the total number of video plays. The calculation also includes videos that start automatically or get clicked.


Founder and CEO of tech firm Unruly, Sarah Wood questioned the effectiveness of Facebook. She commented:

“Not only will it raise questions about the effectiveness of Facebook as a video platform but it will raise more fundamental questions around trustworthiness and highlights as to why third-party verification is so critical”

The head of another agency stated:

“The danger is that these digital publishers can cut the numbers whatever way they like in their favor. It just lacks integrity”

Facebook issues apology

On behalf of Facebook, David Fischer also rendered apologies for the mistake. He stated:

“We sincerely apologize for the issues this has created for our clients. This error should not stand in the way of our ultimate goal, which is to do what’s in the best interest of our partners and their business growth”

Do you think advertisers will now be more circumspect about placing their ads on Facebook?

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Facebook Prefers to Imitate YouTube Over Netflix

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