LONDON: Adidas, the sportswear brand, is reported to be reviewing its use of Facebook amid concerns that as much as 30% of its expenditure could be wasted.

According to agency executives, who spoke to Digiday on condition of anonymity, the brand’s media team has paused its spending on the social network following an internal audit that raised questions about viewability and retention rates.

When Facebook allowed third party verification of data, viewability rates on some campaigns were found to be as low as 20%.

And research into the short-term advertising strength of YouTube and Facebook ads, by Professor Karen Nelson-Field, of the University of Adelaide, and Dr Erica Riebe from the Centre for Amplified Intelligence, has shown that the industry standard of 50% pixels on-screen for two seconds has a high chance of the ad being missed and not influencing purchase.

If the standard were increased beyond two seconds, they added, Facebook’s ability to commercialise ad space “would be significantly reduced, as many exposures would simply not make the standard”.

Field and Riebe have also argued that marketers would be better off using an attention metric rather than simple viewability or OTS measurements.

Despite all the criticism of its viewability rates, its privacy practices and its role in spreading misinformation, the Facebook juggernaut rolls on – ad revenue in Q1 2018 was up 50% on Q1 2017.Advertisers have not been abandoning the platform but rather re-evaluating how they use it – Procter & Gamble, for example, has trialled two-second ads for use in the News Feed – although that could change again if people aren’t viewing the ads.

“Adidas is spending a lot less on Facebook and is looking at bigger integrations insofar as if they do continue to spend on the platform, then it could be with publishers that have influence on the platform,” said an executive who works with Adidas.

“They’re thinking, ‘We’ll do something interesting beyond just running ads that people might want to skip past’.”

Sourced from Digiday, CNBC, Admap; additional content by WARC staff