Bad metrics have many advertisers worried about whether they’ve been spending their dollars smartly on-line. Facebook’s multiple admissions that the numbers were wrong hasn’t done anything to assuage the worry. Now it’s Twitter’s turn in the barrel.
Twitter admits it incorrectly measured video ads running on Android devices. The measurements were off by as much as 35%, according to Business Insider.
“…we discovered a technical error due to a Twitter product update to Android clients that affected some video ad campaigns from November 7 to December 12. The issue has been fixed but we wanted to share more details on what the impact was to our advertising partners.” – Twitter announcement
It was, Twitter says, a “technical error” and has been fixed. “Once we discovered the issue, we resolved it and communicated the impact to affected partners,” Twitter wrote on its company page. “Given this was a technical error, not a policy or definition issue, we are confident it has been resolved.”
Twitter has reportedly sent refunds to some advertisers.
The online ad industry has been hammered lately. Just look at these recent facts:
- Facebook big overstated unique reach by as much as 55%
- Google loses accreditation for viewable impressions
- Facebook has been providing inflated video metrics for two years
- Major brands, like Toyota and Procter & Gamble are questioning whether its ads are working
- GE, JP Morgan Chase, Sears, Nationwide launching audits of digital agencies
- Major ad agencies may have been taking kickbacks and not passing along the savings.
On the heels of those reports, comes this: White Ops security researchers have exposed the most profitable and advanced ad fraud operation ever seen by the industry. Dubbed “The Methbot Operation” after references to “meth” in the code of the bot itself, a group of operators has siphoned off as much as $180 million from major U.S. media companies and brand advertisers.
Controlled by a single group based in Russia and operating out of data centers in the US and Netherlands, this “bot farm” generates $3 to $5 million in fraudulent revenue per day by targeting the premium video advertising ecosystem, according to cyber security firm White Ops.
Promise of transparency
Digital advertising promised transparency and accuracy as a way for advertisers to know exactly where their money was going and what it was spent on.
As an industry, we’ve got a lot of work to do to live up to that promise.