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FB Refunds Some Advertisers After Finding New Measurement Bug

11:25 pm on May 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Facebook Inc. said it is issuing refunds to some advertisers after discovering a bug in its system that led it to overstate clicks on marketersí websites, a disclosure that comes as Madison Avenue is demanding better and more transparent measurement from the social network.


A rather bizarre little bug related to mobile and ad carousels ... a small part of the ad platform. However, it was the 5th metric error reported by FB for transparency since September.
11:34 am on May 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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That's quite a few errors that have been on Facebook's click metrics, and must surely be continuing to contribute towards calls for transparency.

Here's what Facebook said about it. [newsroom.fb.com...]
4:20 pm on May 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I do appreciate businesses that are pro-active. I liken the practice to waitstaff that fills an empty water cup rather you having to ask. What kind of transparency is being asked for? How is transparency as it relates to AdWords and AdSense on the Google end?
5:26 pm on May 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Measurement bug, huh?

Fakebook, where's my $1000?

We ran a campaign that would send visitors to our website (not mobile, not jewelry, not flashsale or fashion). For starters, 99% of traffic was mobile, which has extremely low conversion percentage. Second, 2/3 of the traffic they recorded and charged us for big $ did not even make it across and did not register with Google Analytics. Out of 1/3 that did, absolute majority had hit one page and were gone. AND it exhibited the mobile botnet network qualities that I have been trapping for last 2 years - random IPs from random 3rd world countries (malware hijacked phones) that when you block them change IPs and reappear.

They never refunded 2/3 of the clicks that never made it to my site or not registered with Google Analytics. And neither with our internal tracking software, all links that we posted on FB were appended with our internal tracking IDs.

Some refunds? The whole charade is fake.

When I openly told this to my Facebook rep he became very aggressive telling me it's all my fault that it did not register /with Google Analytics? :) / and then when I told him that if you want real customers your clicks should at least be on par and trackable via the largest tracking software , he got offended. And especially after I mentioned that I am tracking botnets and the traffic smells very fishy.

Ended up paying them an equivalent of $9/click for completely fraudulent clicks that would never ever convert.

They have large amounts of traffic, but 99% of it is worthless and you need to have the right application, the right ads and the right targeting demographics to make it work.Everyone else will get "Measurement bugged".
12:35 am on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@smilie, I had the exact same experience! I have a classifieds site that targets a specific local region, and awhile back I did an ad blast to give it a huge amount of traffic all at once.

I gave Facebook a $2,000 budget to spend over 3 days, targeting only my state.

Just like with you, the budget depleted quickly, but Analytics didn't show the same numbers... not by a long shot. About 90% of the traffic I did get came to the homepage and left, never to return. And not a single click-through tried to view an ad or create one. This would be exceptionally unlikely for people looking for a classifieds site... they clicked on an ad that specifically talked about local classified ads, but didn't have enough interest to look through any of the categories?

I was concerned that maybe there was a design flaw on my end, but a similar ad with Google the next month had results much more in line with what I expected. So the problem was definitely the FB traffic, not my site.

But unlike you, I don't have a rep. I sent an email to their general address, but never had a reply. I honestly considered charging the money back, but never did.

FB stats says that only 14% of their traffic comes from the US or Canada:


And according to Google Trends, the countries that search for it the most are Albania, Algeria, Bolivia, Tunisia, Bosnia, and Turkey... all known for spam and scams:


Based on my experience, as well as the published numbers from both Facebook and Google, I'm absolutely convinced that, while yes, they do have a lot of traffic, it's mostly junk, robots, and scammers. That's just giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming that they weren't falsely inflating the numbers on purpose. Either way, it was a complete waste of money for me, and I have no intention of ever giving them another nickel.