GroupM is the world’s largest advertising company.  So when it speaks out on industry issues, people pay attention.  Robin O’Neill is the Managing Director of Digital Trading for GroupM and had some harsh words for Facebook in an article in Digiday.

For a company that will take in an estimated $33.8 billion in ad revenue in 2018, the fact that it self-reports metrics and primarily eschews third-party verification is kind of mind-blowing.

Just read these quotes from O’Neill:

 “Facebook doesn’t operate with real-world metrics.”

“I would urge every agency to hold Facebook to account and interrogate the data that comes out from them.”

“We are still not able to verify delivery of our clients’ advertising via Facebook or YouTube.”

“We continue to press them to allow us to independently verify our metrics and operate in the real world.”

 “We also have major issues with the quality of the environment our ads are delivering in, especially when it comes to Facebook.”

“Also, completion rates on Facebook are appallingly low.”

“We’re increasingly holding Facebook to account to justify the levels of investment we are putting in them.”

For its part, Facebook says it does provide third-party verification.  On its Facebook business pages, it says it works with 40 third-party data verification services.

Facebook also promised “100% In-View Impression Buying and Ad Analytics” in partnership with third-party vendor Moat.  It points to independent verification of video ads from Nielsen, comScore, and Integral Ad Science.

Still, Group M’s O’Neill says it’s not enough.  “They control the delivery of consumption data back to us,” O’Neill told Digiday, echoing what many in the media world have said for years.

Can you imagine TV getting away without a Nielsen or comScore third-party ratings system and instead telling advertisers to “trust us, here’s how many people saw your ad”?