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Facebook to let advertisers pay only if their whole ad is seen

Facebook is providing a new option for its more skeptical advertisers.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Facebook is providing a new option for its more skeptical advertisers.

Marketers can now choose to pay Facebook only if their ads have completely passed through a user's news feed and been seen by a human being. Any advertiser selecting this option would get Facebook's reassurance verified by a third-party company, Moat, the social network said Thursday in a blog post.

Facebook said earlier this year that advertisers should only have to pay if an ad is actually seen, not just served to a user. But Facebook's definition of an impression may not have been enough for some customers. An advertisement counts as "viewed" as soon as one line of pixels can be seen - the point at which Facebook feels an ad has enough value to measure. Any advertiser who doesn't think that's enough now has an option that might provide more confidence that marketing dollars are well spent on Facebook. Soon, ad buyers may ask the same of other companies that sell Web ads.

"What we want is quite simple: Ads that are actually seen by real people," Rob Norman, chief digital officer at media and advertising company GroupM Worldwide, said in a statement. "We want viewability standards across clients and publishers that honor that position, and we want publishers to be held accountable by independent third parties." Facebook's change may move the industry closer to a standard that helps justify spending money on video ads, Norman said. In the marketing world, there have been debates about what should be considered "viewability," because it's done differently on Facebook compared with Google's YouTube or Hulu LLC.