NEWS7 September 2017

Facebook’s ad figures called into question

News North America

US – The potential reach figures that social media giant Facebook gives advertisers differ from US census data according to an investment analyst.

Facebook smartphone apps_crop

Pivotal Research Group analyst, Brian Wieser, explained in a widely reported note to clients that although Facebook’s ad-buying website says it has a potential reach of 41 million 18- to 24-year-olds in the US, census data last year found there were 31m in that age range.

It also claims 60m potential reach among 25- to 34-year-olds while US consensus data showed 45m in this range.

Facebook responded that the mismatch was intentional because ‘ad reach numbers are designed to estimate how many people in a given area are eligible to see an ad a business might run. They are not designed to match population or census estimates.’

Wieser said: “While Facebook’s measurement issues won’t necessarily deter advertisers from spending money with Facebook, they will help traditional TV sellers justify existing budget shares and could restrain Facebook’s growth in video ad sales on the margins.”

Last year Facebook had to admit to errors in some of its video ad metrics which overestimated viewing figures.