Facebook is aiming to prove its ads are viewable, and they have just taken a giant step forward in doing so.  The Media Rating Council (MRC), which is the industry standard keeper for media measurement, has signed off on Facebook’s process for providing data to third party for verification.

The MRC has been in the process of reviewing how Facebook and Instagram handles data that the company passes to its third-party vendors and how those vendors ultimately report on its viewability.

The second part of the process, which is handled by the third-party verification companies after Facebook hands over the data, has yet to be granted acccreditation by the MRC, but according to a press release (PDF) announcing the news, Moat, Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify have agreed to let the MRC audit their portion of the process, as well.

MRC’s audit process

Viewability is, and continues to be a hot topic, as advertisers are wanting standards and accountability.  Facebook, after the last year that they have had, want some good news.

Accreditation by the MRC is still far from being a sure thing.  In April, while Facebook won accreditation for its impressions metric there are some ad tech companies in recent months that lost a portion, if not all, of their accreditations under MRC scrutiny, including AppNexus who withdrew from the process entirely.

Although MRC’s earlier metric accreditation for Facebook concerned the impressions served, this one validates the mechanism, or Pipeline, that Facebook uses to allow third parties to report on viewability and other metrics.

There was a fair amount of glad-handing in the wake of the news.

MRC’s Executive Director and CEO George W. Ivie said, “The conclusion of this stage of our work represents a substantial milestone in MRC’s accreditation consideration of the Facebook viewability pipeline measurement process. We commend Facebook for the substantial efforts it has put forward to successfully get us to this point, which clearly demonstrate its support of and commitment to measurement that’s in accord with industry standards for quality.”

To which Brad Smallwood, VP of marketing science at Facebook said: “We share the MRC’s commitment to responsible measurement and look forward to continuing our audit work with them.”

For Facebook, the MRC stamp of approval on its metrics would be good news for the company, as its history of errors in measurement has harmed its reputation among marketers. Withstanding the audit process should go some way toward repairing that breach of trust.

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