The partnership was innovative because it asked all Facebook members to vote on ads, instead of just a panel of a handful of people selected by USA Today. And it brought the power of social media to an inherently social event on behalf of a stolidly traditional media property.
But no more.
This year the newspaper is going it alone -- again. It's told Facebook its services are no longer needed. Publisher Larry Kramer told Ad Age:
"We want to do this ourselves because we're going to do a lot of these," he said. "We need to build the apparatus ourselves do we'd own it."
"Look, Facebook is great and we like working with them, but if you look at this organization today top to bottom vs. a year ago, we're a lot more digital ... And we need to build that internally."
The Ad Meter's qualifications for being the nation's top rater of Super Bowl ads have previously been called into question. It doesn't measure halftime ads, even though those ads -- such as Clint Eastwood's "Halftime in America" spot for Chrysler -- are some of the most talked-about commercials.
And it consists of a voting panel of just 300 people in two separate locations -- even though dozens of social media analytics companies can measure chatter about the Super Bowl online from millions of people.
USA Today will replace Facebook with a "a password-protected microsite" that users will have to sign up for in order to vote.
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