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Facebook updates metrics reporting after more calculation errors

Facebook is doubling down on its metrics reporting with a renewed focus on transparency. The update comes with the announcement that the company found still more bugs in its metrics calculations. Less than two months ago, Facebook revealed it had been overestimating video ad viewing times for two years.

In order to avoid miscalculations in the future, Facebook claims it will add more third-party reviews to validate the reporting it offers its partners — a measure requested by marketing agencies after the previous error.

Furthermore, it is opening up its impressions data to marketers via its existing third-party verification partners, including Moat, IAS, and comScore. Facebook is also tapping ratings firm Nielsen to include regular and Live video views as part of its Digital Content Ratings metric.

More: Facebook now lets Pages access Instagram and Messenger interactions in one place

Just as it promised marketers more clarity and confidence about its insights, Facebook also revealed several more reporting errors that are bound to raise concerns rather than alleviate them.

The newly disclosed errors include a bug in Page Insights that overestimated 7-day and 28-day reach for marketers’ organic posts (regular content that does not include paid ads). Facebook claims the error occurred because it was calculating daily reach without taking into account repeat visitors. Its revised metrics on average will now be 33 percent lower for the 7-day period and 55 percent lower for the 28-day period. “This bug has been live since May; we will be fixing this in the next few weeks,” said Facebook.

The social network has also, once again, miscalculated certain video metrics. This time round, Facebook claims it has been undercounting video stats for clips that are watched from start to finish (or what it terms “video watches at 100 percent”). It blames the error on audio synchronicity issues between video players and devices. As a result, Facebook is updating how it reads video length, which could result in roughly a 35 percent increase in the count of “video watches at 100 percent.”

Facebook claims it has also been overestimating the average amount of time people have been spending with Instant Articles by up to 7-8 percent since August 2015.

“Our goal going forward is to communicate more regularly about our metrics, so that our partners can focus on doing what they do best — serving their customers — with the best insights possible,” Facebook writes in its blog post.