After Reset yer counters: Facebook has had to ‘fess up to yet another major ad reporting fail.
This one looks like it could be costly for the tech giant to put right — not least because it’s another dent in its reputation for self reporting.
AdExchanger Report Error code last week by using the tool “raise conversion” free from Facebook, which said it has affected many thousands of advertisers.
The flaw discovery has since led the tech giant to credit some advertisers in the millions of dollars, for all reports this week, to offset a miscalculation of the number of sales derived from ad impressions.
According to yesterday’s AdAge report, which is cited by industry sources, the level of compensation offered by Facebook varies depending on the advertiser’s spending – but in some cases the error means that advertisers are getting coupons worth tens of millions of dollars.
The tool’s issue has not been fixed for up to 12 months, with the issue continuing between August 2019 and August 2020, according to reports.
Press sources say Facebook has quietly informed advertisers this month about the technical issue with its calculation of the effectiveness of their ad campaigns, which has misrepresented the data that advertisers use to determine how much to spend on its platform.
One digital agency source said the problem is particularly affecting certain categories such as retail as this year marketers have increased spending on Facebook and similar channels by up to 5% or 10% in an effort to regain lost businesses during the early stages of the pandemic.
Other industry sources pointed out that the problem affects not only advertisers on the media but on giant tech competitors – as the tool can affect where marketers choose to spend their budget, whether they spend on the Facebook platform or elsewhere.
Last week, the tech giant told AdExchanger that the bug was fixed on Sept.1, saying it was “working with affected advertisers”.
In a later statement, a company spokesperson said: “While making improvements to our measurement products, we found a technical issue that affected some conversion optimization tests. We have fixed this and are working with advertisers who influenced the studies.”
Facebook did not respond to a request to confirm whether some affected advertisers offered them advertising coupons worth millions of dollars to correct their code mistake.
It has confirmed that it is providing one-off credits to advertisers who have been “purposefully” affected by the (non-billable) metric issue, adding that the impact is on a case-by-case basis, depending on how the tool was used.
It also did not confirm the number of advertisers affected by the studies due to the year-long technical glitch – claiming it was a small number.
As the tech giant can continue to operate its reporting systems for B2B clients without any external oversight for now, regulating the fairness and transparency of the robust internet platforms that other companies rely on to access and access markets is a major goal for an upcoming digital major legislative reform services In the European Union.
Under the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act plan, the European Commission said tech giants would be required to open their algorithms to public oversight bodies – and would also be subject to binding transparency rules.