Facebook, the global social media giant, has announced solutions for checking the accuracy of its analytical data. More discrepancies have been discovered and corrected, but what were the impacts of the misreporting?

Professional marketers are very closely involved in the acquisition of data, methodical cleansing, integration and ultimately the execution of sophisticated analytics.  This end result is accurately segmented data for use in marketing campaigns across many if not all channels dependent on the requirements of the client.

This time consuming and relatively expensive process produces very accurate data that can be directed towards many systems.

The fact that Facebook has admitted to so many discrepancies in its own analytical reporting could (and surely would) have caused incorrect choices for clients and their marketing professionals, which would in turn directly or indirectly effect their ROI.

Jonathan Miles, Director of Multi-Channel at XCM Ltd said “I am very disappointed that all the hard work carried out by our highly skilled and experienced analysts and developers could have proved less successful than expected as a result of these admissions.”

Jonathan went on to add “Successful campaigns are dependent upon reliable reporting, this lack of accuracy could impact on the great reputation we have gained over the years.  That said, all digital marketing agencies would have suffered the same risk, so this is indeed a shared burden.”

Facebook with over 1.5 Billion monthly active users, is over four times larger than Twitter (320 Million) and 15 times larger than LinkedIn (100 Million). Social media advertising costs are based largely on number of impressions, by misreporting this information Facebook ‘could’ have gained an unfair advantage.

In short, although Facebook has admitted the errors and provided links to third party verification facilities, this is a little like “closing the stable door after the horse has bolted”. Marketers may need to re-evaluate some of their campaign statistics to ensure no consequential harm has occurred.

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