Facebook Finally Fixes Dirty Little Secret | Accidental Clicks

This has been going on for years: accidental clicks from Facebook. Is it a product design flaw? Is it that big fingers on a small screen don’t mix? Regardless, Facebook is finally fixing it.
But what?
Data centric geeks have known about this forever:

  1. Log in to your Facebook advertising dashboard, and look at your total campaign clicks
  2. Log in to your third party research dashboard, and look at those same total campaign clicks from FB

Oftentimes, those two numbers are light years apart.

In fact, it’s not uncommon to see differences like the above (real scenario, real ad campaign).
But Why?
Facebook measures the click from their server side, and third party research practice is to measure the click after it fully loads in the browser page.
A huge amount of those clicks never fully load (as seen in the above data) for a variety of reasons:

  • The page load speed of the site for mobile is extremely slow
  • The click was perhaps accidental (60% of mobile display clicks are accidental in the industry)
  • Wireless connection speed for the user is slow
  • Consumer then exits, going back to Facebook

Is it Facebook’s problem exclusively? No.
Does it raise a ton of questions as to why Google Analytics or other third party vendors see one thing (using standard research protocol) and why Facebook’s server side click numbers are not just a few percentage points off within reason…but miles off? Yes, it does raise a ton of questions.
But now, according to yesterday’s Adexchanger article, Facebook is going to remove clicks and click cost for Advertisers if a user bounces in under two seconds after clicking on an ad.
A secret no longer. A discrepancy no longer.