Facebook quietly announces its intention to shake up digital marketing

I won’t blame you for not being an avid reader of Facebook’s ‘Measurement FYI’ blog, nor for not paying much attention to its latest update simply entitled ‘Expanding Measurement to More Advertisers’, but make no mistake this is a big moment in the history of digital marketing. On the back foot after six months of measurement and viewability challenges, Facebook is coming out swinging, and it's willing to take on all comers in the process.

What once began as a private Atlas beta test is soon to be a publicly accessible, and seemingly free, part of Facebook’s Business Manager campaign tool set. In basic terms the technology uses consistent tracking across your online advertising, whether it’s a Facebook ad or something served on countless other platforms across the wider web, and builds a holistic picture of how your reach and impact builds across them. Its USP is that through use of Facebook login data it can be far more confident of identifying real, unique humans than anyone relying solely on cookies (though in reality it uses both).

As Facebook puts it: “Advanced measurement will make it easier to compare the effectiveness of Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network alongside other publishers”. That may sound simple, and it’s something that has been possible to an extent through expensive third party studies before, but it will bring a transformative level of clarity to anyone trying to assess the impact of a campaign across multiple channels. Not only does it start to show you how your reach (and potentially frequency) builds across different touch points, it goes further in terms of tracking which ones actually drive real conversions and results, or even down the line shifts in brand metrics and intent.

While the industry looks set to embark on a deep dive into view-ability and watch lengths, a place where Facebook has some weaknesses on paper, it's putting out a massive challenge for marketers to look beyond those interim measures and actually see what impact is driven. Your ad may be on screen for less time on Facebook than on another website, but does that matter if people pay more attention to it and take more out from it?

View-ability feels like a black and white debate but it’s actually incredibly subjective whether longer watch times are worth higher costs, and how useful it is being on screen if you’re not demanding full attention. While Facebook is also introducing ways of optimizing and improving on that front they’re also throwing a lifeline out for those who don’t want to get sucked into a view-ability sink hole and lose sight of the original business objectives and metrics.
It opens the door for a marketer to...

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