Facebook Abandons Plan To Curb Device-Level Data Collection After Advertiser Backlash

device-data-fbFacebook has pulled the plug on a plan to limit device-level data collection for mobile app campaigns in the wake of a revolt by large app marketers against the policy change.

A representative for the company confirmed to AdExchanger that Facebook will no longer stop app marketers – including some of the world’s largest mobile gaming companies – from accessing information about the individual devices to which app install ads are exposed.

“While we believe device-level reporting is not the most accurate way to properly determine advertising effectiveness, we want to provide advertisers with the choice to measure ads based on what is important to them,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “In order to provide that choice, we will continue giving advertisers the option to receive device-level reporting from our mobile measurement partners for mobile app ads.”

Back in May, Facebook notified its ad buyers and mobile measurement partners that it would stop passing them campaign data linking ads to specific devices as of Aug. 20. Going forward, it said, campaign reporting for Facebook campaigns would be limited to ad- and campaign-level data. Facebook claimed this was the most effective method for driving installs anyway.

But the news didn’t sit well with many large ad buyers, who pushed back aggressively, as detailed in a VentureBeat story in July.

In particular, game makers such as Supercell and Kabam, many of whom spend millions of dollars a month to drive and optimize installs of their apps, balked at what they saw as an unfair restriction on their ability to optimize campaigns across mobile ad networks and media sources. They also feared a data power grab by Facebook, whose relationships with logged-in users across their devices is at the heart of its “people-based marketing” strategy.

For now, at least, Facebook appears to have acknowledged that its customers have a claim on some of its device information.

The first sign that Facebook’s policy shift had met with resistance came in the form of a postponement of the change’s effective date to Nov. 4. Then, as the company continued to meet with app marketers to discuss the issue, its app-install product leads decided it was time to cancel the whole plan.

Facebook continues to claim that device-level reporting is not the best way to measure and optimize for install campaigns, but that it will do to preserve choice for advertisers.

“We want advertisers to evaluate Facebook ads based on how well they’re achieving business objectives,” its statement said. “We advise our advertisers to apply people-based measurement solutions so they can determine when they’re reaching multiple people, not just multiple devices.”

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1 Comment

  1. JasperC

    Dear Facebook, and EVERY ad platform: Removing stats, reporting, or other insights from your platform NEVER makes sense, regardless of what you think advertisers care about. If it’s not broke, stop trying to “simplify” it by making it more opaque (like the new ads manager, with less data and more useless graphs).