Reset counters: Facebook had to deal with another major ad reporting failure.
It seems that for the technical giant it may be expensive to fix – not least because it is another dent in his reputation for self-reporting. (For past errors in Facebook ad metrics, check out our 2016 reports here, here, here, and here.)
AdExchanger reported the error in the code last week with Facebook’s free conversion conversion tool, which it said affected several thousand advertisers.
Since then, the discovery of the flaw has prompted the tech giant to offer millions of dollars in credit to some advertisers, according to reports this week, to compensate for miscalculations of sales from advertising impressions (which in turn likely affected how many advertisers spent on its digital snake oil).
According to an AdAge report yesterday, citing industry sources, the level of compensation Facebook offers varies depending on the advertiser̵
The problem with the instrument has not been resolved for 12 months, and the problem persists between August 2019 and August 2020, according to reports.
The Wall Street Journal says Facebook quietly told advertisers this month about the technical problem of calculating the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns, distorting the data that advertisers use to determine how much to spend on their platform.
A digital agency source told the WSJ that the problem particularly affects certain categories, such as retailers, where this year retailers have increased their spending on Facebook and similar channels by up to 5% or 10% to try to recover lost business in the early stages of the pandemic.
Another industry source said the problem affected not only media advertisers but also the tech giant’s competitors – as the tool could affect where marketers choose to spend their budget, so whether they spend on Facebook’s platform or elsewhere.
Last week, the technology giant told AdExchanger that the bug was fixed on September 1, saying it was “working with affected advertisers” at the time.
In a subsequent statement, a company spokesman told us: “While we were improving our measurement products, we discovered a technical problem that affected some tests to increase conversions. We’ve fixed this and are working with advertisers who have influenced the surveys. “
Facebook has not responded to a request to confirm whether some affected advertisers are being offered millions of dollars in advertising vouchers to correct the code error.
He confirmed that he was offering one-off credits to advertisers who had been “substantially” affected by the metric problem (free of charge), adding that the impact is on a case-by-case basis, depending on how the tool is used.
Nor did it confirm how many advertisers influenced the surveys as a result of the annual technical problem – claiming it was a small number.
While the technology giant can continue to manage its own b2b customer reporting systems for now, without external oversight, regulating the fairness and transparency of the powerful internet platforms that other companies rely on for market access and reach is a key goal of the core business. future digital legislative review of services in the European Union.
Under the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, the European Commission has said that technology giants will be required to open their algorithms to public oversight bodies – and will also be subject to mandatory transparency rules. So the clock can tick for Facebook’s self-service.