Facebook overall reach when it comes to advertising is even bigger than what was thought according to a report by the Video Advertising Bureau. Last month, Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wiesern noticed some discrepancies between Facebook’s ad reach and U.S. Census Bureau data such as:
- Facebook claims that it can reach 41 million U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 24, while U.S. Census show that the total population of that age group at 31 million.
- The internet giant also claimed that it can reach 60 million U.S. adults 25 through 34, while the U.S. Census total for that demographic is 35 million.
A Facebook spokesperson wrote an Email to Adweek trying to explain the difference in figures saying:
“Reach estimations are based on a number of factors, including Facebook user behaviors, user demographics, location data from devices and other factors. They are designed to estimate how many people in a given area are eligible to see an ad that a business might run. They are not designed to match population or census estimates. We are always working to improve our estimates.”
The report by video advertising Bureau unveiled a few significant findings including;
- Facebook’s ad reach figures outpace U.S. Census estimates for every single state in the U.S., by anywhere from 3 percent to 42 percent.
- The gap between Facebook’s ad reach figures and U.S. Census date for users 18 through 34 is “much more pronounced within the 10 most populous cities.”
- While the social media platform class visitors from other countries are the reason for their top census figures, the same figures are generated when advertisers select “everyone” in the U.S. or users who “live” in the U.S.
The VAB said in the conclusion of its report, “Whether this is truly another metrics glitch remains to be seen. However, with questions of trust regarding ad-tech platforms at an all-time high among many marketers, our analysis provides another instance where first-party data should at least be questioned, or even challenged, particularly when the numbers don’t align with universally accepted metrics such as U.S. Census Bureau population data and basic media math.”