Social Media

Twitter puts inflated video metrics down to 'bug' as it refunds advertisers and affirms commitment to transparency


By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

December 24, 2016 | 4 min read

Twitter has confirmed that a "technical error” in its Android app caused video ad metrics to be inflated by as much as 35%, with the company issuing refunds for over-billing advertisers.

The miscalculation was first revealed by Business Insider earlier this week, with a source close to the matter claiming that the company had recompensed advertisers for over-billing on video campaigns that ran on the platform between early November and mid December.

"We recently 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," a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday (23 December).

twitter miscalculations

Twitter issues refunds over inflated ad view 'bug' as shares plummet following CTO departure

They continued: “Once we discovered the issue, we resolved it and communicated the impact to affected partners. Given this was a technical error, not a policy or definition issue, we are confident it has been resolved.”

Earlier this year Twitter said that 83% of its monthly active users were on mobile devices, and that brand spend on video had “largely replaced” Promoted Tweet spend.

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Twitter has promised to continue to monitor its systems to “proactively identify” future issues, saying: “We value our customers’ trust in our service and will continue to provide support and transparency in our partnership.”

The bug comes as the debate around digital transparency in the industry rumbles on following disclosures of miscalculations from giants like Facebook and Denstu Japan - the later of which is repaying $2.3m to clients whom it has overcharged.

The errors have called into question how marketers are addressing the gaps in their own knowledge when it comes to being data and media savvy, with a recent study indicating that almost three quarters of marketers feel "overwhelmed," rather than empowered by data.

Twitter's latest bungle follows a tumultuous year for the social network, during which it has struggled to grow its subscriber count and become the subject of takeover target rumours.

Just this week, the firm's shares plummeted after two of its top executives departed. Adam Messenger, its chief technology officer and Josh McFarland, vice-president of product both announced they were resigning this week following on from the high-profile departure of its chief operating officer, Adam Bain, in November.

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