Facebook has found a new measurement bug in its system. The bug led the system to overstate clicks on marketer’s websites. The disclosure will be accompanied by refunds to some advertisers.
The discrepancy has been termed as minor in a blog post that the social network posted on Tuesday. The inconsistency was prevalent when users visited the site on mobile browsers and not the Facebook app or on desktops.
If the user clicked on its “video carousel” ad formats to expand them in size. Such clicks were unintentionally registered as website clicks. The carousels allow advertisers to place multiple images, videos, and text within one ad unit, which users can swipe across to view.
The social media giant has said that the bug affected advertisers specifically paying for ads that resulted in clicks to their websites. Only around 0.04% of the video carousel ads served on the mobile web were inaccurately billed over the period Facebook was monitoring.
Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions, said the bug was uncovered as part of a recently introduced review process and the company is committed to transparency with its partners.
This comes amidst the annual U.S. television upfront season which will see the biggest TV networks throw flashy events and parties showcasing their programming in the hopes of securing billions of dollars in advertising commitments from marketers.
The event will endorse the narrative that TV offers a safer and more predictable environment for marketers than digital platforms.
Five separate occasions since September have seen Facebook acknowledge that it has either overstated or understated the metrics advertisers and publishers use to get a sense of the effectiveness of their posts and ads on the platform.
Facebook has issued some refunds to individual advertisers in the past for reporting bugs. However, none of these publicly confirmed metrics errors had affected billing.
One of the companies affected by the latest bug was Unilever. The consumer-packaged-goods giant will have a small refund.
The chief marketing and communications officer said that Facebook had been proactive to address the bug as quickly as possible, but that it nonetheless highlights the need for more transparency and third-party verification in the digital space to track both advertising effectiveness and that advertising transactions are working as agreed.
The social network launched a blog in November to provide updates on errors and bugs it comes across. The company also announced a measurement council, consisting of marketers and ad agency executives who provide feedback on how it is performing on the metrics front.