By Ryan Laffler, Account Manager, Digital Director

facebook video, advertising, scandal

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on how, for the past two years, Facebook has been overestimating the average time people spend watching video ads by up to 80%. This revelation sent shockwaves through the advertising industry, leaving many ad buyers wondering if they should reallocate precious marketing dollars elsewhere. What led to this discovery? Should you be concerned?

The short answer, is no.

Here’s what happened: To calculate the average amount of time people spent watching a video ad, Facebook took the total time spent watching a video divided by the number of “views” (a view is when someone watches the video for three or more seconds). What Facebook left out of this equation are people who watched the video for less than three seconds. This means that video ads often appeared to be more successful than they truly were. How does this affect business owners that advertise through Facebook, though?

Fortunately, not much! While the effectiveness of Facebook video ad campaigns over the past two years have been slightly misleading, no one has paid for video views that didn’t happen. Advertisers on Facebook are charged when someone views a video for 10 seconds or more, and Facebook has offered up third-party verification services like Nielsen to back that up. All in all, it seems as if the original Wall Street Journal article was a little overblown.

Did Facebook screw up? Yes.

Was the world of digital advertising flipped on its head, and most importantly, should you, the business owner, be worried? The answer is a resounding, “N-O.”

To read more about the story, check out this recent article by TechCrunch.

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