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Facebook Gives Agencies More Transparency Following Metrics Blunders

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Facebook has introduced a slew of new features aimed at increasing transparency for advertisers and removing the guesswork on its platform.

The company announced the global changes Thursday, attempting to answer questions like why certain campaigns see unexpected dips in performance and what sort of return can brands expect based on their ad spend.

Marketers have been clamoring for increased transparency after Facebook revealed last year that it had been inaccurately calculating a number of metrics. Facebook in February agreed to let the industry's Media Ratings Council audit some of its metrics.

The new moves include a redesigned Delivery Insights dashboard as well as new metrics that were previously unavailable. More changes are planned this year, said Sarah Epps, director of core ads marketing at Facebook.

"This isn't a one and done thing for us," Ms. Epps said. "It's the next step of a journey to provide more transparency to empower advertisers with what they need."

About those sudden dips in performance after a strong debut: A brand that uploads customer data to target look-alike audiences might also be pummelling those users with too many ads over time, leading an eventual drop in returns.

"They get bored of hearing from you," Ms. Epps said. "You will find that your campaign is likely to achieve its goal when you're not saturating that audience."

The new system will notify marketers when they might be maxing out a campaign on the same consumers.

There are other instances when notifications can occur, such as sudden fluctuations in results and cost per result, Ms. Epps said.

"Did a person on the client side make a change, or did something happen with the consumer reacting to your ads that is causing a negative change?" Ms. Epps said. "We're looking at all of the possibilities for why you may or may not be reaching your objective. And we're sharing that root cause of information so that advertisers can make better decisions."

Meanwhile, brands seeking to sell products can now get an estimate of their results from a campaign, depending on who they're trying to reach, when the campaign will run and how much they're spending on advertising.

Dubbed Estimated Daily Results, Ms. Epps said the more data Facebook has on the marketers' previous campaigns, the more accurate the information will be. The estimates work for other things such as video views, too.

"We think of it like a financial advisor," Ms. Epps said. "You may know how the market will perform over time, but you won't know how a particular stock is going to do on a daily basis."

Ms. Epps said the company was motivated by empowering marketers, not metrics errors last year.

"The Facebook ad auction is very powerful, and it enables advertisers to reach people not just on Facebook, but across our Audience Network and Instagram," she said. "And it is complicated. We know that."

"Transparency should be always on," she added. "We want to be as transparent as possible in so the advertiser can be successful."