Zuck Accounting: Facebook to Change How It Counts Users to Boost Ads Business

Mark Zuckerberg swallows a giggle. Drew Angerer /Getty
Drew Angerer /Getty

Facebook recently announced an update to how it counts users on its platforms. From now on, Facebook will be counting a single user’s Instagram and Facebook accounts as two separate users, boosting advertising numbers.

Gizmodo reports that in a recent update, Facebook quietly revealed that it would now be counting a single user’s Instagram and Facebook accounts as two separate users. This allows Facebook to claim that twice as many users have seen certain ads, increasing the amount of money that advertisers are paying to the social media giant.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is applauded as he delivers the opening keynote introducing new Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram privacy features at the Facebook F8 Conference at McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California on April 30, 2019. – Got a crush on another Facebook user? The social network will help you connect, as part of a revamp unveiled Tuesday that aims to foster real-world relationships and make the platform a more intimate place for small groups of friends. (AMY OSBORNE/AFP/Getty Images)

Facebook charges advertisers based on the performance of their ads. Advertisers place a certain budget on each ad they run and state what they want users to do when they see the ad, such as click the ad, follow their profile, join their group, hit the like button, etc.

The ad then runs for a pre-determined amount of time, usually 30 days, and Facebook then tracks how many users have interacted with the ad and charges advertisers based on the total number of users that were driven to action by the ad. The more users that interact with an ad, the more money that advertisers are charged.

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Facebook previously determined whether a Facebook and Instagram account belonged to one user and as a result counted them as one user when interacting with ads. Facebook’s VP of Product Marketing, Graham Mudd, explained how the platform used to work stating: “For example, if someone used the same email address across their Facebook and Instagram accounts or accessed both platforms from the same device, we counted them as one person when they interacted with ads.”

But the Internet giant is changing how it counts users in a manner that will bolster its ads business. Mudd stated in a recent announcement that “if someone does not have their Facebook and Instagram accounts linked in Accounts Center, we will consider those accounts as separate people for ads planning and measurement.”

Accounts Center is a tool launched by Facebook in September that acts as a voluntary way to connect user accounts across Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook, but many users are unlikely to have heard of Accounts Center.

The sudden change may be the result of recent changes to Apple’s iOS platform that has cut down Facebook’s ability to track users and serve personalized ads in an effective manner. Close to 98 percent of Facebook’s revenue comes from targeted ads, meaning that finding new ways to drive advertising figures is of extreme importance to the company.

Read more at Gizmodo here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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