Some Facebook advertisers affected by last weekend’s significant glitch in Meta’s ad-delivery system may need to pursue Meta to get refunds.
The system bug, as reported earlier this week, concentrated ads’ delivery into the morning hours rather than distributing them over the course of the day, causing some advertisers to spend their entire day's budgets in the first few hours of the day.
As a result, about 36% of the 3,000 advertisers on the system experienced CPMs that were at least double the norm, and another third experienced “significant” CPM hikes, according to data supplied to CNBC by data analytics and marketing firm Varos.
Varos CEO Yarden Shaked said the glitch essentially resulted in a “bidding war for nothing.”
Companies running sales for Earth Day on April 22 appear to have been the most impacted in terms of negative effects on performance.
Disruptions in normal or expected sales may also affect inventory decisions or other areas of their companies.
Companies that had cost caps on their campaigns were not affected.
As affected advertisers shut down their campaigns, some larger brands jumped in with Facebook campaigns to take advantage of the reduction in competition on the platform, according to CNBC.
Meta declined to explain the glitch, acknowledging only that a “technical issue that has now been resolved caused ad delivery issues for some advertisers.”
Meta said it was conducting a detailed analysis to assess “opportunities” for refunds, and pointed to an area on the Facebook site that gives general policy information about refunds.
The full statement: “In some circumstances, we may offer a refund to your account. Our decisions about refunds are made on a case-by-case basis and depend on the facts and circumstances of the particular issue. All refunds are made at our sole discretion and without admission of liability. You'll typically be notified about refunds in Meta Ads Manager, but your Meta account representative may also contact you directly about refunds. If you don't hear from us, we're not giving a refund. It usually takes at least one month to get a refund. If you've paid by credit card, you may expect a refund in a shorter period. We issue credits to the payment method on the account where possible. Where this isn't possible, we may issue refunds in the form of ad credits. If you use monthly invoicing to pay for your ads, you can expect to be issued with credit memos which can be applied against open invoices and used towards future spend.”
Because of the glitch, “a bunch of advertisers and business owners had a really shitty day,” performance marketing consultant Barry Hott told CNBC, adding that they will also have a “crappy week” worrying about whether they will get refunds and if so, if the refunds will fairly reflect their losses.
Meta/Facebook “count on advertisers to forget about” such problems within a week or two, asserts Hott, so advertisers need to ask frequently about refunds through their Meta customer support reps (assuming they have one — this area has been impacted by Meta’s recent layoffs).
“I tell everyone — I’ve had to do this myself — when these issues happen, you know, make a big stink about it,” he said.