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Facebook: When the fox guards the hen house

September 23, 2016 | By Jason Kint, CEO – DCN@jason_kint

Facebook: ” We have our own measurement and how we measure.”

Last night, The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook has been overestimating the time spent on its highly-lucrative video programming for two years. I’ll let you review their report. After reading it, I thought it would be relevant to share the transcript from a panel I moderated on Wednesday at the Conference on Time and Attention in New York City. On the panel were three premium publishers and Facebook’s Head of Sales for North America, Erwin Castellano.

The excerpt below covers a part of our conversation that’s relevant to the WSJ article exchange, highlighting the significant gaps between how Facebook measures time spent and how the rest of our industry does.  As I pointed out before moving on to the rest of our panel discussion, Facebook is able to set its own rules because — together with Google –Facebook captured 90% of the growth in digital advertising in the first quarter of 2016.  Advertisers will have to determine for themselves if or how this information will impact their spending. I’ve already concluded that this type of confusion only does a disservice to our entire industry.

Transcript from
Publisher Panel at Conference  on Time and Attention (Wednesday, Sept 21st)

Note that the following excerpt starts at 2:10:

Erwin Castellano, Head of Sales, Facebook, N.A.: You asked a question. On Facebook, we do not sell on MRC.

Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next: You don’t?

Facebook: We don’t.

Kint: You said your ads are “in view.” So what does that mean?

Facebook: So we have our own measurement and how we measure.

Kint: OK, I don’t want to go down a rathole but…

Facebook: but fortunately the ad has to definitely be in-view. We are later this year going to offer I believe for advertisers the ability to buy 100% in-view so that means both the top and bottom portion of the ads will have to be in view or some portion.

Kint: Both the top and bottom of the ad are in view?

Facebook: Right.

Kint: For a minimum of one second?

Facebook: I don’t know the time measurement. We haven’t said so we’re using our own measurement.

Kint: OK. (sighs).

Facebook: The reason we’re not on MRC is MRC doesn’t break out any sort of guidance on mobile. It’s just based on desktop and today Facebook’s audience is 80% mobile. Look, MRC has stated that they recognize that the value and impact can be extracted earlier in a mobile newsfeed but that they haven’t given guidance yet on what the appropriate measure should be on mobile just yet.

Kint: (sigh). We’re talking about time and attention but I’m on the MRC committee and I think that guidance is out. There is separate guidance for desktop, separate guidance for mobile. I think it’s 50% of the ad for a minimum of one second so maybe you’re just not there yet.

Facebook: (inaudible)

Kint: Or haven’t agreed to it yet. Certainly if you’re Facebook you can decide what the rules are, no disrespect, that’s a respectful comment to your business. You’re capitalists.

Kint: So… I’ll tie it in a bow.  If we’re building the bricks in the house of time everybody has to agree on what the bricks are…hopefully as an industry.  Otherwise we’ll get stuck in stupid discussions for a long time. We’re trying to create consistency and build an industry here…

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