Facebook: ‘Marketers need to stop taking shortcuts when it comes to measurement’

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Facebook says issues with digital measurement are down to marketers taking shortcuts and focusing too much on last-click attribution.

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 Marketers should stop focusing on last-click attribution and taking shortcuts and instead work on understanding whether or not they have actually changed people’s buying habits, according to Facebook’s VP of measurement and insight, Brad Smallwood,

“Advertisers should be measuring what they have always measured. There are no shortcuts. It is more about a change in mindset than a fundamental shift,” Smallwood told Marketing Week at a Facebook press meeting yesterday (24 April).

READ MORE: Facebook defends metrics errors as it puts focus on transparency

Facebook has come under scrutiny from the industry for its measurement tools in the past, having admitted last year it had discovered a number of errors in the way it measures audiences across a range of its products. This included overstating how long users watch videos for on its site. In response it expanded its focus on viewability and transparency and renamed its blog Measurement FYI, which now includes updates on metrics, partnerships, products and research.

The problem with last-click attribution

Although the tech giant has made changes to its platform, Smallwood believes the way marketers look at measurement needs to change as well and the fault does not just lie with Facebook. He believes too many marketers are focusing on last-click attribution to measure a campaign’s success.

“One of the challenges with marketers using clicks is you learn nothing about whether clicks drive measures. It also doesn’t count for cross-device transitions,” he explained.

Smallwood said that last-click attribution is similar to flying mascots being placed outside car dealerships. They may entice the buyer but there is so much more that leads to the purchase after that.

“It shouldn’t be based on the last thing that mattered or got the person in. There is a lot more to buying a car and therefore a lot more to advertising,” Smallwood added.

“You need to consider whether you have changed the buying procedure. Most marketers are just looking at the sales outcomes and they should look at tools beyond the click systems. Siloed measurement leads to missed results.”

Smallwood said marketers should be focusing on three key things, not just click-through, to create overall value in the media landscape. These include: 

  1.     Audience outcomes
  2.     Brand outcomes
  3.     Sales outcomes

“Consumers expect choice, so it should be more about how to create overall value in the media landscape. Instead of focusing on just the sales outcome marketers should consider whether they have changed the buying procedure,” Smallwood said.

“It was once sufficient to run four pieces of content a year. But now people don’t want to see the same creative over and over again. They want to see new stuff.”

Smallwood also said it is important brands keep up with the fact the industry is moving so quickly. He highlighed how it has taken just 10 years for mobile to reach 10 billion people, compared to the 38 years it took for radio to reach 50 million. In order to facilitate, this he believes the industry needs to understand there are multiple ways to look at a campaign and measurement

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