Facebook begins clampdown on fat finger clickthroughs

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 9 August 2017
Facebook Audience Network allows publishers and app developers to easily commercialise their platforms via Facebook inventory.

Facebook has begun a crackdown on unintended clicks across the network of external apps, games and publishes that it serves ads to.

The tech company will stop charging advertisers is a user clicks on a mobile ad but backracks within two seconds a telltale sign the click was unintended.

The new measure only applies to Facebook Audience Network and not Facebook’s own platform, which does not have ad units that are intrusive and drive unintended clickthroughs.

Facebook product marketing manager of publisher solutions, Brett Vogel, said that Facebook’s goal is to provide a “healthy advertising ecosystem” that fostered better experiences for users, more meaning results for advertisers and sustainable growth for publishers.

“Ad placements that are built to drive unintentional clicks run counter to that goal,” Vogel says.

“While they can be profitable for publishers, they fail to deliver good experiences for businesses or people. For advertisers, these kinds of unintentional clicks can drive down the value of their campaigns.”

Facebook says the detection system it has used to determine if a click is unintentional is drop off rate, which is the time the user spends on a landing page.

Vogel says that publishers sometimes create ad experiences that fail to deliver an advertiser’s experience.

“This can be due to implementation error, or because the ad is in the wrong flow of the app experience,” Vogel adds.

“When we see abnormal behavior, such as an inflated clickthrough rate, we'll automatically pause placements to protect people and advertisers. We'll also inform publishers so they can make necessary changes.”

Facebook’s motives for improving the mobile advertising ecosystem are laudable. Fat finger clickthroughs due to poorly placed ad units are source of frustration for users and offer little value to advertisers.

Publishers will question why unintentional click detection only applies to Facebook Audience Network inventory and not to ad units on its own platform.

To help clear the matter, the social media network has updated its policies on how publishers can avoid unintentional clicks.

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