Fake numbers from Facebook?

Churchill famously said:

I only believe in statistics that I doctored myself

I was reminded of this quote at a recent peer group meeting when digital pioneer Jesper Conrad shared a memorable slide from Ogilvy’s  Key Digital Trends for 2017.

Basically, the message from Ogilvy was: The Facebook metrics are flawed.

With Facebook having an increased role in marketing spend and our media consumption in general, this becomes a real problem. Facebook has already shared an update on the issue. What’s the real impact and what should you do?

What’s the problem with Facebook metrics?

First of all, it is important to recognise, that there is no third-party alternative to Facebook’s measurement. You get the numbers from Facebook and that’s it. You can’t use Google Analytics or any other vendor besides Facebook to find out the effectiveness of your Facebook spending.

As Jesper eloquently pointed out: “Not only can you only get the numbers from Facebook, Facebook also tells you which ones are important”

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As pointed out on the slide, these were uncovered in Q4 2016 and Ogilvy more than suggests that there are unreliable numbers delivered by Facebook.

To quote Ogilvy:

With all things post-truth and/or fake news, you can see why Facebook could be at best, accused of not playing by the rules and worst, marking its own homework to put itself in a better light

Ogilvy predicts that in 2017 Facebook will have to give itself up to objective third-party measurement and verification of its numbers.

How do you get reliable KPIs from Facebook?

The radical advice from Ogilvy is to simply ignore the 220-odd measurements from Facebook and instead focus on the metrics that matter to your business.

In other words: Don’t chase views, likes and clicks, but track things with a real business impact such as lead generation, purchases and form completions.

Thanks, Jesper for raising awareness of this.