Facebook’s larger advertisers, unsurprisingly, aren’t willing to say much — on the record, at least — about the proposed class action lawsuit which claims up to 20 percent of pay-per-click advertising on the site comes from “invalid” clicks.
Facebook says the suit is bogus, and is fighting an appeal in the case.
One key issue in the case is Facebook’s refusal to allow its clicks to be audited by a third party like the IAB, the Media Ratings Council or Ernst & Young.
Speaking privately, the company’s clients and competitors tell us they are aware that Facebook is non-transparent when it came to its advertising business.
None of them believed Facebook was acting improperly. And none sympathized with the suit. One said, “We trust Facebook and know that they are always working to refine their filters and to identify invalid clicks.”
Another added, “I don’t think they’re ripping people off.”
However, they also said that because Facebook is so big it is able to play by its own rules in a way that might not be healthy .
“They don’t let you audit,” said one client. “It’s a little bit suspect. A bit of a conflict of interest. … You have to trust Facebook’s numbers.”
Another added, “They’re not playing by the rules everyone else is playing by. It’s definitely an issue that there’s this 800 pound gorilla out there that isn’t playing by the rules.”
One major issue for advertisers is that they can only observe Facebook’s clicks independently if they send traffic off the site! to thei r own web sites. As most campaigns are designed to send traffic to the advertisers’ Facebook page, those clicks remain inside Facebook – and thus invisible to outside analytics.
“A lot of campaigns are not sending traffic off site so there’s no way to check,” one client told us.
Another said, “If we are driving users to a Facebook page — then we rely on Facebook metrics (impressions, clicks, conversions, engagement …) as the click goes directly to the Facebook page and not through a redirect AND we can’t fire pixels on Facebook pages like we can on external sites.”
Shuman Ghosemajumder, Google’s former click fraud czar who is now vp/strategy at Shape Security, told us that he knows many of the team members at Facebook who are working on click validation. “They are investing heavily in this area,” he says. A third-party audit of clicks, however is a “non-trivial” event at a company, he says. It requires time and resources, and an outside company must come in and perform experiments with the internal engineers. Nonetheless, “they need to take this very seriously,” he says.
Image from: Colored Pencils / Shutterstock
I love office supplies. No one should ever leave me alone in a supply closet of office supplies unless they want to return to the sight of me hoarding fresh notebooks and pens. This Sunday Series I decided to take a look at June’s data for the industry profile of Shopping>Office and School Supplies, and I noticed that a few of the biggest movers were related to ink supplies. It looks like offices aren’t feeling the drowsiness of summer and are keeping their ink supplies stocked and ready. Next month I’ll check back in to see if the impending school year has shifted the top 10, or if ink is still reigning supreme.
With Halloween behind us, retailers are now full swing into the Holiday shopping season. And consumers aren’t too far behind. By the end of October, a little more than half of consumers surveyed said that they have begun their Holiday shopping. In fact, 1 out of 10 consumers have completed at least half of their expected Holiday shopping.
Toys and games, electronics, and gift cards were popular gift items to purchase last week. And while 1 in 3 consumers bought books the week end Oct 16, only 14 percent purchased books last week. Santa was in a part mood last week, as can be seen by the jump in event ticket purchases.
Overall spend increased, probably do to the increase in higher ticket value items. The average consumer spent $190 dollar online and $264 dollars in-stores on Holiday gift and items. At this point in the season, consumers are still favoring in-store purchasing.
And where are consumers spending all of those in-store dollars? Walmart, Best Buy, and Kohl’s were the most popular retailers to shop at last week. Macy’s saw a large jump in foot traffic, probably due to their Party & Holiday Home sale.
Compete Holiday Insights™ will be your source for tracking consumers’ online and offline holiday shopping, so stay tuned for more posts like this in the coming weeks.
Tonight when I picked up my son in Petaluma we started talking about the Apple iPad and he told me he thought it was a “fail.” This reaction was interesting coming from Patrick (he was first in line in Palo Alto for the iPhone and has been an Apple fan for as long as I remember.)
Anyway, I asked him if I could record our conversation, he said yes, and this is the result. It’s in two parts, because when we uploaded the first part we got a lot of reaction on Twitter so followed it up with a second part. Here’s the two audio recordings, sorry for the poor quality, we recorded that while driving.
His major points are:
1. That it isn’t compelling enough for a high school student who already has a Macintosh notebook and an iPhone.
2. That it is missing features that a high school student would like, like handwriting recognition to take notes, a camera to take pictures of the board in class (and girls), and the ability to print out documents for class.
3. That he hasn’t seen his textbooks on it yet, so the usecase of replacing heavy textbooks hasn’t shown up yet.
4. The gaming features, he says, aren’t compelling enough for him to give up either the Xbox or the iPhone. The iPhone wins, he says, because it fits in his pocket. The Xbox wins because of Xbox live so he can play against his friends (not to mention engaging HD quality and wide variety of titles).
5. He doesn’t like the file limitations. His friends send him videos that he can’t play in iTunes and the iPad doesn’t support Flash.
6. It isn’t game changing like the iPhone was.
Anyway, revealing conversation with a teenager who got extremely excited about the iPhone (and saved up to buy his own) the day he saw that.
What do you think?
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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