Facebook Still Has a Lot to Learn About the Ad Business

target on cell phone

WPP spent about a billion dollars on Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) ads in 2015, and 4 billion on Google ads. But CEO Sir Martin Sorrell said the company will be upping their spending with Google by another billion because the relationship was so good.

With Facebook, not so much.

“Facebook puts great emphasis on outcomes and ROI. The data has to be independent data that justifies the position. Facebook has a very close arrangement with Nielsen … we are going to ensure that comScore has that similar relationship with Facebook to provide alternate data because clients are now investing a lot of money.”

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that WPP holds almost 20 percent of comScore. Still…

Sir Sorrell also mentioned that Unilever CMO Keith Weed, who is on Facebook’s client council, is “saying you have to have better measurement!”

Weed has said that digital media companies need to have more transparency about how successful ad campaigns are on their platforms, even Facebook. To that end, however, Facebook has recently teamed up with multiple third party measurement firms to help progress toward that goal. In addition to Nielsen Catalina, partnerships with data analytics firm Moat and Oracle Data Cloud are now in place.

Sir Sorrell seems to believe that Facebook will improve; the company is still just learning the ropes.

“Facebook, I think because it has been so successful, is probably, to be blunt, a little bit more difficult to deal with. I think that’s not a view we are alone in having. Others would too if you ask around. My view is that is going to change because they will see the benefit and the merit.”

The question is, how long will that take?