Facebook is updating how it counts users for ads measurement across Facebook and Instagram.
Starting today, if a user does not have their Facebook and Instagram accounts linked in the company's Account Center, those accounts will be considered as two separate people for ad planning and measurement. Accounts that are connected in the Account Center will be counted as a single person. The new change will roll out over the next few weeks.
Before, the tech giant counted users with linked Facebook and Instagram accounts as one person for ads purposes. It also counted someone only once if the company believed the accounts were owned by the same person — for example, if someone used the same email for their Facebook and Instagram accounts, or logged on to the sites from the same device. Now, users who unlink, or do not connect, their Facebook and Instagram accounts will be counted as two separate people when it comes to ads.
The move, which Facebook started to tell advertisers about earlier this year, seems to be a first step in disentangling the two apps, which Facebook has lumped together for years. The ads measurement changes could help make Facebook and Instagram appear more independent.
The measurement switch comes as Facebook has faced a rocky week in the press. Facebook is again under scrutiny from lawmakers after testimony from Frances Haugen and a worldwide outage. Instagram, which Facebook acquired in 2012, is making headlines for its negative impact on teenagers' self-image and mental health.
For advertisers, this will mean changes in campaign planning estimates and performance reporting for unique metrics. Facebook says advertisers will see increases in pre-campaign estimates, such as estimated audience size. But for most campaigns, the company believes that the changes will not have a substantial impact on reported campaign reach.