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Facebook Is Overreporting – What Can You Do?

Digital marketers have long had difficulty obtaining accurate ad campaign performance data from Facebook (Meta), a trend that has only picked up steam since the April, 2021 release of Apple’s iOS14.5 update. Many marketers have noticed a persistent underreporting of various key Facebook ad metrics, but there’s also a related trend running parallel to this: overreporting from Facebook—that is, inflation of certain data linked to marketing spend. 

Overreporting seems to be less common than underreporting, but both trends are occurring far more often than they should. Common examples of overreporting are ROAS figures, which are often significantly larger in Business Manager than in reality. This sort of data distortion poses an obvious problem for marketers. With all this numerical inflation going on, it’s no easy matter to ascertain the effectiveness of a particular Facebook campaign. Marketers could end up allocating limited resources to the wrong ads. In other words, marketers could be accidentally bleeding ad spend based on Facebook reporting.

Why is this happening? There are multiple factors that could be playing into the overreporting of your Facebook data. These include:

View data inflation – Facebook (Meta) is fond of its proprietary view data, which is based on a blend of events that the company believes to have contributed to a purchase. The issue here is that this data can easily lead to double-reporting. Meta frequently takes full credit for a purchase if a customer viewed your ad, even if other factors may have more heavily factored into the conversion.

Too many pixels – Some marketers unknowingly have a second pixel set up that is transmitting the same conversion event data as another pixel. This will naturally result in duplicate reporting.

Lack of deduplication – Duplicate reporting also often occurs when the same event is reported from the browser and the server. Facebook tends to be less than ideal when it comes to deduplication—clearing away redundant events—and this results in overreporting.

Online Conversion Events API – Facebook’s OCE is a popular feature among marketers seeking to fill in the gaps in their conversion data due to the iOS14.5 release, but it’s also causing overreporting problems for many. The OCE API attempts to use “fuzzy matching” to link offline consumer behavior to your ads. This is a necessarily imprecise method, and it tends to cause inflated numbers, particularly with remarketing campaign data. 

Spam events – Bots can significantly inflate your conversion stats by sending false events tracking data through client-side pixels.

These are just some of the issues that can cause overreporting.

Getting More Accurate Data

There are ways to counter these inflated figures in Facebook ad reporting. One trick worth looking into is to turn off the “Track Events Automatically Without Code” setting in your Facebook Ads Manager. Keeping this option on commonly leads to overreporting, as the feature can report the same events that are being reported by your Facebook pixel.

In the long term, however, it’s best to assemble a marketing toolkit that doesn’t depend on the apparatus provided by the Facebook/Meta platform. This is becoming an especially pressing concern as Facebook seems to be angling toward even shorter attribution windows. Some commentators believe that it won’t be long before marketers will have to contend with a 1-day click and 1-day view window, which will be a further hindrance to gaining an accurate understanding of the full customer journey.

AdBeacon is the answer to this problem. With AdBeacon, digital marketers can use first-party data and customizable lookback windows (up to 100 days) to generate and analyze the data they need to make sound decisions about the path of their campaigns. They can track ad campaign performance across multiple platforms—Facebook, Google, TikTok, and more.

Sign up for your free 14-day AdBeacon trial today.