System Glitch Causes Significant Facebook Advertising Overspend

On Sunday, Meta's ad-delivery system experienced a bug, leading to overspending on more than a few Facebook advertisers' accounts. Some ad buyers reported major issues surrounding advertising performance metrics, such as CPMs skyrocketing from 200% to 500% compared to the previous day.

Yoni Levy, who handles marketing solutions at Meta, promptly addressed the issues in a tweet that read: “Seeing everyone's messages. Escalations sent. Product & engineering teams are on it. We take these matters seriously.”

The overspending reached up to tens of thousands of dollars for some smaller brands, and hundreds of thousands for some larger ones, with few clicks in return.

At 7:40 PM EDT Meta updated its Ads Delivery status as “Resolved,” noting that it had recovered from the earlier outage and services had been restored.



However, some brand and agency advertisers -- including some that spend tens of millions of dollars on Facebook annually -- told AdExchanger they had heard little to nothing from Meta as of Monday afternoon.

Meta account service executives reportedly have shared some emails with select agency CEOs, which imply that advertisers should expect partial refunds.

“It appears that Meta will identify a time frame when the overspending error occurred and refund overspent dollars during that span,” notes AdExchanger. “But impressions that were legitimately served and were within the daily cost caps are unlikely to be refunded… even if those impressions are disputed by the brand and can be shown to have contributed little to the campaign ROI metrics.”

“It's a significant error for the platform. Which has been working to improve trust in, and reliance on its ad products in the wake of Apple's iOS14 update,” Andrew Hutchinson at Social Media Today pointed out. “With many users opting out of data tracking, Meta has had to realign its ad delivery process around machine learning, and improved detection of the best audience for each campaign.”

Meta says it will communicate with impacted ad account managers directly in the coming days.

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