ComScore: Stop Bashing Facebook Ads

By Features FOXBusiness

An industry group that measures digital analytics is warning naysayers that it’s time to stop criticizing the effectiveness of Facebook’s (FB) ad platform.

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The comments from comScore (SCOR) come a week ahead of a planned report where the research firm is expecting to “shed new light on how Facebook marketing really works,” and show some favorable metrics on the social network’s highly-debated ad platform.

“We are gaining critical new insights that show Facebook earned media is having a statistically significant positive lift on people’s purchase of a brand,” comScore said on its official blog.

The comScore research compares the behavior, such as brand site engagement and purchase, of similar groups of individuals exposed to different levels of media impression.

The promise to clear the air on Facebook’s ad platform comes a few days after Reuters released a poll that indicated Facebook users are not swayed by the social media site’s ads. ComScore said the poll “got the story wrong.”

Judging the effectiveness of an ad based solely on often it is clicked is a “weak indicator of true campaign performance,” as is drawing conclusions from a poll of consumers who often fail to provide accurate assessments of their own behavior or shy away from admitting that advertising actually had an impact on their behavior, comScore said.

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“Their accuracy in recalling their own behavior over an extended period of time can be especially unreliable,” comScore said. “People might be able to accurately tell you how many times they have eaten at a restaurant in the past week, but they would probably do a poor job estimating that number over the past three months.”

The analytics company, which is releasing a study titled “The Power of Like 2: How Social Marketing Works” at a conference in New York next week, said ads can often impact buyer decisions weeks or even months down the road.

ComScore also rebuffed Reuters’ report that Facebook users are spending less time on the site today compared with six months ago. ComScore said its behavioral measurement of engagement metric, which electronically and passively observes time spent on web sites, shows time spent per user was actually up a few percent from six months ago.

Facebook leaped into the public markets three weeks ago but its shares have retreated well below the $38 IPO price amid growing concerns about whether its ad platform will be able to continue enticing advertisers.

The comScore blog post said that while it is time to advance the discussion of marketing and advertising effectiveness, it must be done using “meaningful measurement approaches” and not “self-reported recollection.”