Facebook is shaking up how it measures accounts for advertising

12 Oct 2021

Image: © Julien Eichinger/Stock.adobe.com

The company will stop linking Facebook and Instagram accounts unless users explicitly ask for them to be connected.

Facebook is changing the way it measures accounts for advertising purposes.

The social media giant counts users with multiple accounts as one person for ad purposes if they link their Facebook and Instagram accounts through the apps. But the company has also linked users internally if it believed that accounts were owned by the same person.

“For example, if someone used the same email address across their Facebook and Instagram accounts or accessed both platforms from the same device, we counted them as one person when they interacted with ads,” explained Graham Mudd, VP of product marketing and ads, in a blogpost yesterday (11 October).

Now, if a user does not have their Facebook and Instagram accounts linked through the Accounts Center feature, the company will consider those accounts to be separate people when it comes to ad planning and measurement.

Facebook and Instagram accounts that are linked in Accounts Center will continue to be counted as one person.

The company suggested that this is a privacy-focused move. “This update aligns with trends of offering people more control over how their information is used for ads and is consistent with evolving advertising, privacy and regulatory environments,” Mudd wrote.

He added that the company first told advertisers back in June about these plans. He explained that advertisers may see an impact on campaign planning estimates and performance reporting for unique metrics, which count the number of people who took an action such as liking a post or adding a comment.

“There will be increases in pre-campaign estimates such as estimated audience size, but for most campaigns we do not believe this will have a substantial impact on reported campaign reach.”

The change will roll out over the next few weeks.

This comes after a turbulent couple of weeks for Facebook, with a major global outage and a whistleblower coming forward to claim that the company misled the public, investors, advertisers, journalists and the US government.

“Facebook, over and over again, chose to optimise for its own interests, like making more money,” former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen said in a recent TV interview.

How these events will impact the company’s user base and revenue streams is yet to be seen. An Ad Age-Harris Poll survey suggested that Facebook users are unlikely to delete the app but want brands to pull ads from the company’s platforms.

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Sarah Harford is sub-editor of Silicon Republic