Twitter overcharged video advertisers due to error in its Android app

Well, Twitter has one-upped Facebook.

For more than a month, Twitter incorrectly measured brands’ video ads running on Android devices and overcharged advertisers as a result, the company said on Thursday.

“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. Once we discovered the issue, we resolved it and communicated with affected partners. The impact was limited given this happened only on Android clients over the course of a month. This was a technical error, not a policy or definition issue, so we are confident it has been resolved,” a Twitter spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Twitter has refunded the affected advertisers, according to a person familiar with the matter, confirming a Business Insider report that broke the news earlier on Thursday. In some cases the refunded amount was as little as $1, the person said, though that may say as much about Twitter’s video ad prices as about the scope of the error. The glitch inflated Twitter’s video ad measurements by as much as 35%, according to Business Insider. The Twitter spokesperson declined to comment.

Twitter’s ad measurement error follows a string of math mess-ups by Facebook that have caused marketers to question how much they can trust the social network’s metrics. But bad as Facebook’s mistakes have been, none of them affected how much money advertisers were charged for their campaigns. Twitter’s did.

Unintentional as Twitter’s error appears to be, it will likely be held up by advertisers as another example of why digital platforms like Facebook and Twitter need to open themselves up to third-party measurement audits. Advertisers’ demands for such audits was already expected to heighten next year following Facebook’s flubs, as DigitasLBi exec Jeanne Bright discussed in last week’s episode of the Marketing Land Live podcast.

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