Facebook refunding advertisers following another reporting error

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Facebook has hit yet another snag as far as its ad reporting goes. The platform has suffered a handful of reporting errors over the past few years, most notably in 2016, but this latest one could be one of the largest yet, if reports are to be believed.

To that end, AdAge (paywall) says Facebook is now having to refund advertisers for the error in the form of credits. The size of the refund depends on the advertising spend, with some said to be in the tens of millions.

As for what was the cause of the error, AdExchanger noted last week that Facebook’s conversion lift tool may be to blame.

“A code error caused the reached conversions metric to be undercounted for conversion lift tests conducted on Facebook by several thousand advertisers between Aug. 15, 2019, and Aug. 31 of this year,” writes the publication.

“Advertisers use conversion lift studies, a free tool provided by Facebook, to measure the incrementality of their Facebook ads and make decisions about their Facebook spending. For affected advertisers, this information was erroneous,” it adds.

This could also have far reaching complications for the social media platform than simply having to hand out several thousand coupons that can be redeemed at a later time, with ad agencies, brands and other companies seemingly not getting what they paid for.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Florian Adamski, global chief executive for media agency OMD Worldwide, noted particular concern over the situation.

“This is not an easy fix. It’s not like, pay a couple thousand or million bucks and it’s over. This goes a lot deeper and we need to find out how to rectify the damage done and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he told WSJ.

“If there is no governance or third neutral party looking at our investment tools, I can’t sleep well at night and my clients can’t sleep,” he added.

Should another issue like this occur, it means that marketing departments may chose to spend their budgets on other platforms. Regardless of Facebook’s reach, if there are gross inaccuracies with ad reporting, the platform holds little value.

With tech firms needing to be more open about the data they collect, and how their algorithms work, especially in the EU, it will be interesting to see how Facebook tackles this problem moving forward.

[Image – Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.