Facebook has confirmed that it has managed to find another data error in its advertising platform. This time around, the social media giant stated that it will be refunding some money to marketers who have been affected. The data bug was found in a very specific advertisement unit known as video carousel ads. The unit is designed to allow marketers around the world to showcase more than one ad in a single ad slot in the news feed. However, the bug made it hard for marketers to track and monitor progress. If customers clicked the videos, Facebook reported that the same customers went on to click the advertiser’s website or the app that they were offering.
However, the carousel bug was quite limited in scope compared to other recent measurement errors on the social media website that reported inaccurate data on the total amount of time people were spending on video ads. Facebook added that the only time the data error occurred was only when users accessed the site through mobile browsers such as Chrome or Safari. The error was, however, not reported for users who accessed Facebook using their computers or through the Facebook app.
In addition to this, the social media company said that the data error only affected a small number of advertisers. The biggest surprise though is the fact that the error went undiscovered for the better part of the year. This means that during this period, advertisers were paying for clicks only to realize that the clicks weren’t happening. They were, however, reported because of a bug. In light of this, Facebook has confirmed that the affected advertisers will be refunded. It is estimated that during that one year when the error run without notice, at least 0.04% of all ad impressions were affected.
There is no doubt that this is a very small number and it will have no impact on Facebook’s earnings and growth trajectory. However, these errors in metrics have happened one too many times now and it’s the last thing the social media company would want to be dealing with at the moment. There has always been this long-lasting complaint by advertisers that Facebook and Google do not allow for third party metrics tracking to ensure validity. The continuous discovery of these errors in data reporting will only serve to embolden these complaints.
However, according to Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s Vice-President of Global Marketing Solutions, the social media company remains committed to offer transparency to its partners, especially when it comes to enhancing results through Facebook ads. The VP also added that it’s because of this commitment to transparency that the company was able to uncover the bug as part of a routine review process. Facebook said that even though the bug was relatively small and affected a very small number of advertisers, it was still an issue that was being taken seriously at the company.