The digital world has seen it all this week – from overcharging and misreporting, to philanthropy and AI.
Here are the best bits you should catch up on…
Facebook overestimated video view metric for two years
The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook has misreported the average time users spent watching videos for the past two years.
By excluding views of less that three seconds, the metric was inflated by 60-80%.
Facebook commented as follows:
We recently discovered an error in the way we calculate one of our video metrics. This error has been fixed, it did not impact billing, and we have notified our partners both through our product dashboards and via sales and publisher outreach.
We also renamed the metric to make it clearer what we measure. This metric is one of many our partners use to assess their video campaigns.
The new name for the metric is ‘average watch time’. Needless to say, many agency partners are not happy.
Google launches Allo messaging app (includes AI)
Allo has all the bells and whistles you’d expect (stickers, emojis, image editing, group chat, encryption), but the incorporation of AI provides some interesting features.
The messaging app offers smart replies, even when people send you photos (“nice dog” when someone sends you a picture of a pooch, for example).
Google Assistant is included in the app as an @Google chatbot which can be used solo or in a group chat (see an example below).
The assistant can perform actions as well as sourcing information.
Instagram doubles advertisers in six months
A year since launch in all markets, Instagram’s ad platform now has 500,000 advertisers, double the number reported in February of this year.
Twitter only has 20% of that number, whilst Facebook is understandably still the most attractive platform with 2m advertisers.
The top five industries represented amongst Instagram advertisers are CPG, ecommerce, retail, entertainment, and technology, whilst the countries with the most advertisers are the US, Brazil, UK, Australia and Canada.
Dentsu in overcharging pickle
More shady advertising news now.
Japan’s biggest agency Dentsu is apparently in talks with more than 100 clients after revelations it overcharged Toyota for digital media.
Dentsu has informed Toyota of ‘irregularities’, but further detail of exactly what has not yet come to light. The figures involved are not rumoured to be big, but the news is obviously a PR nightmare for Dentsu.
Twitter to stream presidential debates
Twitter is continuing to add to its livestreaming tie-ups, partnering with Bloomberg to broadcast its 2016 US presidential and vice-presidential debates.
The stream will also include Bloomberg politics programming before and after each debate.
Last week saw Twitter’s first Thursday Night Football livestream. Though many were impressed by the quality of the stream itself, Mark Ritson wasn’t won over by the numbers involved.
— MarkRitson (@markritson) September 17, 2016
Zuck & Chan pledge $3bn to disease prevention
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan want to “cure, prevent, or manage all diseases by the end of the century.”
$3bn will be funneled from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative into medical research over the next decade.
The first tranche of $600m will create the Biohub research center at the University of California.
Yahoo adds search retargeting to its display ad network
Search retargeting is now possible at the keyword level on the Yahoo Gemini ad network.
This means advertisers can reach consumers who have shown intent in Yahoo Search, by serving them native display ads.
Such a tactic allows these advertisers to tailor creative and landing pages to search queries, as well as optimising bidding based on intent.
Initial reports from Yahoo advertisers show double digit percentage increase in clickthrough and ROI from these ads.