Technology

Friday Buzz: Facebook's Bad Engagement Metric

By / Sep 23, 2016 (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

The social media giant is apologizing to advertisers this week after an engagement metric involving video proved misleading. Also: two other big tech stories that could affect your day-to-day.

Did Facebook double down on video because of a bad engagement metric?

That’s not 100 percent clear, but what is clear is that Facebook is facing controversy following the revelation that the company unwittingly inflated a primary engagement metric—average viewing time—by up to 80 percent.

The oversight was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. Essentially, in calculating average viewing time for video ads, Facebook counted only views of longer than three seconds, which meant that it was largely picking up people who were already engaged by those ads. When ad firms learned of the discrepancy, they probed further, leading Facebook to post on its site a full explanation of how the metric is calculated.

On Friday, the company’s vice president of business and marketing partnerships, David Fischer, apologized, writing in a separate post that “while this is only one of the many metrics marketers look at, we take any mistake seriously.”

“We know we can’t have true partnerships with our clients unless we are upfront and honest with them, including when we make mistakes like this one,” Fischer wrote. “Our clients’ trust and belief in our metrics is essential to us and we have to earn that trust.”

In recent years, Facebook has increasingly focused on video as a primary part of its business model, sometimes at the cost of other kinds of content. It’s not clear whether that will change given the revelation, but those who market with Facebook might want to keep an eye on this story.

Change Your Password, Stat

Facebook wasn’t the only tech giant with bad news to share on Thursday. Also on the list was Yahoo, which reported that “at least” 500 million user accounts were hacked by what it suggests was a state-sponsored actor. (The company believes the attack took place in 2014.) As a result, a whole lot of people are going to be changing passwords this weekend.

To help with the change on your end, check out this 2014 post from DelCor on how to best manage passwords. It’s an oldie but a goodie.

Other Links of Note

One last piece of big tech news to watch going into the weekend: Twitter is reportedly considering an acquisition.

“Don’t just make a deal for the money.” At Association Executive Management, David M. Patt offers some important considerations about how relationships and sponsorships play together.

Does better tech equal better performance reviews? Consultant and author Jamie Notter thinks so. Check his post at Association Success.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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