monday, 2 july of 2018


´I’d be demanding a refund´: advertisers push Facebook over fake accounts

Facebook’s move to delete more than a billion fake profiles has prompted advertisers to push for independent auditing of digital platforms and 'make good' contractual clauses.

In the six months to March, Facebook disabled 1.27 billion fake accounts, estimating these false profiles accounted for 3 per cent to 4 per cent of the platform’s total monthly active users.

The reaction from advertisers to this move was "significant," Australian Association of National Advertisers chief executive John Broome said.

“Advertisers are insisting that independent, third party verification and audits are put in place and are working with the platform providers to this end,” Mr Broome said.

He said industry groups across the world were engaged in a similar proces

In the past year, Facebook has made steps towards accredited measurement of advertising, including an audit measuring ad impressions through US-based not for profit Media Rating Council. There are 24 partners in its measurement system, with two "viewability partners" to be added.

While Mr Broome didn’t have oversight on the activities of individual advertisers he said it was “a safe bet that they would be looking at ‘make good’ provisions within their media contracts and addressing that with the appropriate party, be that their media agency or platform provider”.

These provisions are typical within traditional media advertising contracts, but are less common for digital companies.

A spokeswoman for Facebook said the fake profiles did not make up a significant portion of views on advertisements, pointing to a Facebook Business page that said the majority of fake accounts were disabled "within minutes of registration" often before they are served ads.

When "known fake accounts" are served ads, they are excluded from ad reports and billing though "it is possible that a small percentage of ads are served to fake accounts that escape detection and are still reported on."

A media buyer told Fairfax Media not all clients were concerned by fake profiles as they were still getting good results from the platform and the ability to target specific demographics.

However, publishing industry lobby group NewsMediaWorks (co-founded by Fairfax Media, owner of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age) chief executive Peter Miller said there would be a “flurry of phone calls and ambit claims” if traditional media readership estimates from measurement companies were inaccurate.

“If I were an advertiser I’d be demanding a refund, not a make good, so I could invest in reliable media," he said.

He said trust had become the major focus for many businesses, with consumers “baffled” and “shocked” by recent revelations about trust breaches from banks, financial institutions and social media sites.

Despite this, he didn’t think trust would be enough for traditional publishers to compete with social media and search but saw it as a “powerful credential to which news publishers can emphatically lay claim”.

“Add that to high impact and potent targeted and mass reach, ad you have a real reasons for a correction back from the recent trend to spend big on social and the run of the web,” he said.

Several submissions to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s digital platform inquiry, which scrutinises the digital platforms’ role in diverting advertising away from traditional media, brought up concerns about the measurability of social media.

Free-to-air broadcaster industry group FreeTV said a “lack of independent measurement, issues with viewability and concerns around click fraud” meant digital advertising could be less efficient than represented, while Commercial Radio Australia said digital platforms “do not properly measure the efficacy of online advertising” with no regulatory means to hold them to account.
(Published by The Sydney Morning Herald)

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