Agency ‘disappointed’ with Twitter handling misreported metrics


According to the agency executive, revelations last week that Twitter had misreported user statistics for nearly three years were overshadowed by concerns about the future of the social media company Elon Musk. However, the agency wants an answer and so far has been disappointed with Twitter’s response.

“The rest of the Twitter news from last week is burying statistical revelations,” said Sadie Miller, Reprise’s SVP of Social Partnerships and Strategy. “I strongly believe that if this had happened a month ago, it would have been a much bigger deal,” she said.

Amid the drama surrounding Musk’s plans for the platform, Twitter said it overestimated the number of users from Q1 2019 to Q4 2021. Q1 Financial Report last week.

Invalid account is a feature introduced in March 2019 that allows users to link separate accounts to make it more convenient to switch between separate accounts. From then until the end of 2021, Twitter counted every linked account as a separate monetizable daily active user (mDAU).

Twitter published mDAU values ​​corrected over a two-year period compared to previously reported metrics, showing exaggerated mDAU values ​​ranging from 300,000 users up to 1.9 million users.

These metrics are used in media planning and investment strategies, and may result in advertisers overinvesting on Twitter during that time period.

“The fact that the figures are significantly lower in some regions doesn’t affect us in terms of performance, but if it wasn’t for this week’s news, it would have had a huge impact on our future plans and the way we view the platform,” Miller told Campaign. Us.

Sources said Twitter staff ignored reporting errors and noted that exaggeration accounts for less than 1% of mDAUs worldwide.

However, Miller believes that this number is “significant” from an advertiser’s point of view because it can influence the recommendations the agency makes to its clients.

In such a scenario, the agency expects a formal communication on the social media platform with a detailed description of the problem and how it occurred. They want certainty about when and how the problem has been fixed and what will happen in the future.

According to Benjamin Arnold, We Are Social’s US CEO, advertisers and their agencies “expected” that social media platforms would sometimes report numbers incorrectly.

However, it’s been a week since Twitter disclosed the error, and the platform has not yet provided specific explanations for the over-inflated metric to its agency partners who spoke to Campaign US. “It feels like you’re trying to get a duck in a row before you respond externally and communicate about it,” Arnold said.

Instead, the institution has been given a cookie-cutter statement warranting that the platform is operating “as usual.”

However, this does not mean that Twitter does not communicate with the agency at all. The large digital agency, who spoke anonymously with Campaign US, said official communications it had received from Twitter over the past two weeks had focused on reassuring partners about the impact of the April 25-approved sale of Musk.

In a note received after the publication of Twitter’s Q1 report: The Board has taken a thoughtful, comprehensive and prudent process to review the proposal and believe it is in the best interest of Twitter’s shareholders. The board has signed the deal, but the actual process for a deal to close may take several quarters or even longer. Two things I want to highlight in the meantime. However, we do business as usual. We remain focused and committed to providing priority solutions for holistic funnel measurement, shopping and brand safety. Second, your account service will not change. We are here to support you with everything you need.”

Despite being published a few hours ago, there was no mention of mDAU issues.

Also, in a NewFront presentation on Twitter to advertisers on Wednesday night, they went beyond brief hints of a Musk sale and went about their business as usual. “It’s been a quiet month on Twitter. There isn’t much going on these days,” said JP Maheu, Vice President of Global Client Solutions, opening the presentation.

Reprise’s Miller said Twitter’s lack of accountability was “disappointing” and expressed concerns about how long the platform had known about metrics issues.

“It’s not strange to understand that in a growing space like social there are glitches, new technologies and kinks that need to be addressed, but the length of time a partner knows this and not repeats to advertisers is really important and damages that relationship. We prefer to receive information as quickly as possible,” Miller said. “There seems to have been some data that sat with this for a while. It’s not a great look and it’s honestly a bit disappointing for the partners we usually have strong relationships with.”

Twitter did not provide Campaign US with information about when it became aware of the error and declined a request for comment.

Other social media platforms have faced criticism in the past for failing to inform advertisers of similar issues. Metaplatform’s Facebook class action lawsuit in progress This is to inflate reach metrics to advertisers. A lawsuit filed in 2018 alleges that: Facebook executives They deliberately deceived advertisers by not taking action after becoming aware of the error.

An agency official, who requested anonymity, said Twitter’s reporting errors cast doubt on the sophistication of its advertising tools. Above all, it’s messy. It’s such a basic problem that it makes us wonder what else could be wrong. Are you guys acting together?”

Agency executives told Campaign US that Twitter quickly alleviated concerns about advertising tools in general and recognized that the company was responding to an unprecedented situation.

“Other times I think. [the mDAU issue] It will be a bigger job and they will try to get ahead. However, communication is much more distributed and inconsistent than in the past. you get that feeling [Twitter employees] It is very shocking,” said an unnamed executive.

Miller added: [employees] They don’t know much more than we do, so they’re a bit overwhelmed to explore everything.”

Advertisers are also being overwhelmed, according to agency executives. They are based on Musk’s initial response to the acquisition, what Musk’s “freedom of expression absolutist” stance on brand safety means, and whether Twitter will lose oversight of key indicators and standards when it becomes a private company. One Twitter is concerned about potential employee churn. .

We Are Social’s Arnold said the metric issue was raised by advertisers but “didn’t make waves.” Brands, on the other hand, are immersed in Twitter’s future direction with a higher level of influence.

“I think the metric story, if it gets attention, will ignite some already anxious customers,” Miller said.

Currently, the agency is advising clients to go ahead with their Twitter campaign.

“Our approach is to guide our clients not to react immediately or kneel to the news without understanding the real impact and impact of advertising,” Miller said. “We will respond much more urgently,” he added. “For now, it’s good to keep the course until we know something else.”

The unnamed executive added, “The current situation is as it is.” “A second Elon is in control and we have news that previously banned accounts are coming back. This will be a line for the brand. Once a large advertiser starts advertising, there is no way the ads will be activated.”

We Are Social recommended that customers use social listening to more closely monitor the fluctuating number of users and conversations on Twitter.

As Arnold said, “the more dialogue and uncertainty you have, the more social listening you have to do.”

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