Another big change is coming to paid media management for Facebook advertising. The social network’s new “Advanced Measurement” tool will reportedly help advertisers dig into data analysis to see how their Facebook campaigns compare to other those on other platforms. Here’s what you need to know.
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Advanced Measurement for All
Facebook announced the new paid media management tool will be available to all advertisers via Facebook Business Manager. This is a change over past tools, some of which have only been available to enterprise-level ad buyers with millions of ad spend.
Advanced Measurement promises to allow advertisers “to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns across Facebook’s properties versus how they performed on competitor sites and apps,” according to Business Insider. A measurement tag will be able to track users across the web and on apps from one device to another, promising to rule out duplicate metrics and trace user journeys more accurately.
This is pretty big news. Marketers will soon have the ability to compare Facebook, Instagram, Google Search, and Google Display Ads — seeing exactly what drove conversions and achieved the highest reach.
Facebook’s Ad Analytics Controversies
Advanced Measurement comes on the heels of months of ad analytics controversies for the social giant. In January, we wrote about some of the problems:
- Video view times that were inflated.
- Page Insights reach and referral miscalculations.
- And promises of procedural changes and formation of an advisory council.
It was clear at the time big-spend advertisers were frustrated. A Wall Street Journal story noted the French-based advertising giant Publicis had bought $77 million worth of video ads in 2015 on behalf of its worldwide clients. Facebook was forced to apologize for not only the miscalculation errors but also the initially dismissive way in which they were handled.
The Advanced Measurement announcement is a step in the right direction, but “not enough” according to Marc Pritchard, CMO of Procter & Gamble, one of the biggest global ad spenders. “We’ve been more than patient because we made these requests nearly a year ago. So we need urgent completion, because then we can get to the more important work of understanding the value we’re getting,” Pritchard told a recent industry conference.
Facebook Responds to Controversies
Facebook told Business Insider it’s trying. “Our goal is not to [mark our own homework],” said Scott Shapiro, Facebook product marketing director for measurement. “Our goal is to offer marketers the tools to make their own decisions. A lot of the measurement we do does not say Facebook is the best place [for your advertising campaigns]. Our goal is to be able to learn and improve what marketers are doing.”
Shapiro is right, obviously. Despite its copious user data and targeting features, Facebook won’t be the best choice for every ad campaign.
Another important point: Facebook reportedly won’t be using Advanced Measurement data to optimize Facebooks ads to be more competitive with its rivals. “It just displays measurement results,” Shapiro told Business Insider.
RIP Atlas Measurement Solutions
The last detail of the news is that Advanced Measurement will replace Facebook’s Atlas brand enterprise metrics tool, one it originally acquired from Microsoft in 2013. Parts of Atlas’s ad server and measurement platform will be repurposed for Advanced Measurement.
Details on the timeline of an Advanced Measurement rollout are still somewhat scarce. Enterprise advertising customers who were on Atlas will be given first access to Advanced Measurement. The cost to marketers is another question. Atlas was priced on an CPM impressions basis. Shapiro told Business Insider Facebook hadn’t worked out a pricing model yet. It’s a point that could be a challenge with both enterprise and non-enterprise marketers to please.
So a lot of questions still remain, but one thing is sure: Facebook marketing isn’t going away anytime soon.