Digital ad platforms have exploded over the past few years, and if implemented correctly, can provide businesses of all sizes with ad-targeting opportunities which were unheard of in the past.
But as great as these platforms are, we sometimes encounter cases which remind us that they are also imperfect works-in-progress, and are often crawling with bugs.
Facebook is kind of notorious in this regard. There have been a number of instances where Facebook has come out and admitted to inaccuracies in its reporting. Here’s are examples which date back to 2017 and 2016.
Aside from those examples, here’s an interesting bug that we recently ran into. We were running a campaign which initially reached users through a video on Facebook. Our strategy was to then remarket to users who had watched a substantial amount of the video.We got off to an excellent start. 8,535 users watched at least 50% of the video, 6,266 watched 75%, and 3,055 people watched 95%. This video is 8 minutes long, so these numbers are fantastic.
But then we noticed something strange. Our campaign we had established to remarket to video viewers was only reaching a few hundred users. We then took a look at the remarketing audiences we had created audiences for users who had viewed 50%, 75%, and 95% of the video, and noticed that these audiences were simply not populating according to the numbers which Facebook was showing us in our ads reporting.
Here’s what I mean; while the numbers above showed that over 3000 people had viewed 95% of the video, our audience for 95% video watchers was only 200 people!
Take our word for it – all of the i’s were dotted and t’s were crossed in the setup. This is just a bonafide bug.
So what’s the takeaway? Ad platforms are not infallible, and can be buggy. This is why “set it and forget it” is a bad idea, even for campaigns which are performing well. And if you have underperforming campaigns, never just say “it’s not working”. You need someone to dig a little bit deeper, to determine what is really going on – and you might just find that it’s just a bug within the platform.