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Facebook accepts MRC audit

News, 14 February 2017
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MENLO PARK, CA: Hard on the heels of Facebook's announcement it is taking steps to improve cross-channel comparability and third-party verification of data, it has agreed to undergo audits by the Media Rating Council.

In a blog post at the end of last week, the social media giant stated: "We are committing to an audit by the Media Rating Council (MRC) to verify the accuracy of the information we deliver to our partners."

And in a presentation to the board of the Association of National Advertisers, reported by the Wall Street Journal, Carolyn Everson, vice president of global marketing solutions at Facebook, indicated that more granular data would be supplied to third-party measurement partners, including how many ads in a campaign were viewable, how long they appeared on screens and whether the sound was on for video ads.

Advertising Age further noted that advertisers would have an option to pay only for video ads when they played with the sound on or to pay only for completed views of the whole video.

The moves come as the digital industry generally faces a backlash from some sectors of the advertising community, with Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble's Chief Brand Officer, especially vocal on the subject.

Last month, he told the IAB's Annual Leadership Meeting that "We've come to our senses. We realize there is no sustainable advantage in a complicated, non-transparent, inefficient and fraudulent media supply chain".

At that meeting he stated that MRC validation was now the viewability gold standard for P&G. "We're accepting a shared level of error in order to conduct business on a level playing field across platforms and publishers," he said. "But we expect all of our agencies, media suppliers, and platforms to adopt the standard during 2017 … We will no longer tolerate the ridiculous complexity of different viewability standards."

And now that Facebook is on board with MRC standards, he welcomed their actions on media transparency as "a positive step forward", adding in a statement that he hoped this move "builds more momentum to create a clean and productive digital media supply chain".

Data sourced from Facebook, Advertising Age, Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff

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