Facebook earns MRC accreditation for ad impressions
- The Media Rating Council granted accreditation to Facebook for ad impressions on Facebook and Instagram following a yearlong audit, according to Adweek and as detailed in a report from the industry watchdog group.
- Audits from January through March were released for impressions served via Facebook's News Feed and Instagram on desktop, mobile web and its mobile app. The MRC accreditation focuses more on whether an ad has been served, which is a less significant metric than viewability or invalid metrics, Adweek said.
- The news comes as advertisers are expressing growing concern over whether their ads were displayed properly on Facebook following a scandal with Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to Donald Trump's presidential campaign that shadily accessed information from what's now estimated to be 87 million user profiles. In an interview with Bloomberg, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said that some advertisers have paused spending with Facebook. She said she feels "deeply personally responsible" for the data breach and that the social network has much work to do to reassure users of the platform's safety.
Receiving MRC accreditation for ad impressions marks a rare, if small, bright spot for Facebook following weeks of intense backlash from users, brands and lawmakers over Cambridge Analytica's misuse of vast amount of user data. Facebook in February last year submitted to an audit by the watchdog group to verify the accuracy of the information it delivers to marketing partners. The move was seen as the company, which is frequently criticized for being a walled garden, caving to industry pressure from brands like Procter & Gamble to be more transparent with its ad metrics following a number of instances where it seriously misreported them.
While ad impressions aren't as significant as, say, viewability — the metric that first landed Facebook in hot water in 2016 — the accreditation might allay some of advertisers' concerns for the time being. This is crucial for Facebook, as it still derives the vast bulk of its revenue from digital advertising.
While Sandberg admitted that some advertisers are pausing their Facebook spending, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters earlier this week that he hasn't seen any "meaningful impact" in regards to brands or users leaving the platform. Companies including SpaceX, Tesla, Mozilla and Sonos have all publicly distanced themselves from Facebook in recent weeks, either by deleting their verified public Pages or pulling their ads.