Facebook overestimates time people spend watching videos

Miscalculation could have impact on advertisers

Facebook has been overestimating the time users have spent watching videos over the last two years, the company has admitted to advertisers.

The error could possibly affect marketing spend of ads on the social networking platform. The measurement was artificially increased as it only counted videos as viewed if they have been watched for more than three seconds. This did not take into account shorter viewings, according to a posting by Facebook on its Business page.

"We had previously *defined* the Average Duration of Video Viewed as "total time spent watching a video divided by the total number of people who have played the video." But we erroneously had *calculated* the Average Duration of Video Viewed as the total time spent watching a video divided by *only* the number of people who have viewed a video for three or more seconds," the company said on its blog, first published a few weeks ago.

But advertisers asked for further clarification of the matter. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal yesterday, the overestimation was between 60% and 80%. The publication received a letter that Facebook sent to an advertiser which stated the figures. Facebook's shares fell more than 1.5% following publication of the report.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

In a statement to the media, Facebook said that the error "has been fixed, it did not impact billing, and we have notified many of our partners both through our product dashboards and via sales and publisher outreach".

Facebook has now implemented a new metric called "Average Watch Time", which now measure video viewings of any duration and not just ones for longer than three seconds.

But ad company Publicis said in a memo to clients (and reported in the WSJ) that "in an effort to distance themselves from the incorrect metrics, Facebook is deprecating [the old metrics] and introducing new' metrics in September. Essentially, they're coming up with new names for what they were meant to measure in the first place".

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/policy-legislation/data-governance/354496/brexit-security-talks-under-threat-after-uk-accused-of
data governance

Brexit security talks under threat after UK accused of illegally copying Schengen data

10 Jan 2020
Visit/security/cyber-security/354468/if-not-passwords-then-what
cyber security

If not passwords then what?

8 Jan 2020
Visit/web-browser/30394/what-is-http-error-503-and-how-do-you-fix-it
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020
Visit/policy-legislation/31772/gdpr-and-brexit-how-will-one-affect-the-other
Policy & legislation

GDPR and Brexit: How will one affect the other?

9 Jan 2020