Facebook has disclosed another bug in its reporting metrics.
In a blog post published Tuesday, the company announced it had found an error that caused some advertisers to be charged incorrectly for link-based video carousel ads shown on smartphone web browsers. Specifically, when users clicked on one of these ads to watch an enlarged version of the video, Facebook logged them as having clicked through to the advertiser’s website or app.
It did not affect clicks in the Facebook app or on desktops.
Affected advertisers will be fully credited for the charges incurred for the misattributed clicks, according to Facebook.
What does this mean for Facebook?
Luckily for Facebook, most users interact with the platform via the Facebook app or on their desktops. As such, the misattributed clicks only account for 0.04 percent of ad impressions, meaning the vast majority of advertisers were not affected. However, Facebook’s growing tally of errors has been gnawing away at advertisers’ trust, particularly over the past nine months. Many bemoan the limited access of third-party reporting companies, such as Nielsen, to ad metrics on Facebook, Google and other digital advertising platforms.
The news follows last week’s launch of a new attribution tool within Facebook’s Business Manager. The update aims to simplify advertisers’ attempts to connect offline sales with their digital ads. At April’s F8 conference, Facebook also teased the expansion of its Facebook Analytics platform, saying it will soon be available for Pages and offline conversions — not just apps.
What does this mean for small business advertisers?
Despite its recent gaffes, Facebook will remain a frontrunner in the digital advertising space. With just about 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook has assembled a massive audience, and expertly run ad campaigns on the site often achieve impressive returns-on-investment.
As competition increases for space in the News Feed, though, look for Facebook to do some combination of the following: increase ad prices; open up new ad placement options, such as within Messenger or in the rumored second News Feed; or push advertisers to Instagram.
The bottom line? We urge you to monitor your ad metrics and reporting data with vigilance. Sit down at least monthly and at the end of every ad campaign to review and analyze your results. Don’t let digital ads turn into a sinkhole for your marketing budget.