Facebook was once again faced with scrutiny after a whistleblower came forward and detailed how the social media platform’s algorithms deliberately give preference to divisive content. Days later, the entire Facebook ecosystem experienced an outage around the world, which also affected its other platforms such as Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus VR. The company took its time in figuring out—and later confirming—the source of the problem, which was an issue with DNS where BGP routes disappeared, weathering widespread criticism in the process.
The social media giant later issued an apology and detailed the source for the outage. Over the last few years, Facebook has been changing all of its different app ecosystems to function on a single backend infrastructure. While that was a move that created significant operational efficiencies for the company internally, as well as shielding it from potential regulator breakup at the same time, it also exposed the entire ecosystem to a big risk.
That risk came at the expense of redundancy, which also had an impact on the social media giant’s resilience, as any downtime would irritate consumers. That’s especially true for consumers that have been fully integrated into the Facebook ecosystem, using all of the different aforementioned platforms for communication.
When the outage was announced by Facebook and its other companies via Twitter, plenty of other brands had a moment for their own real-time marketing efforts. However, the reason for the outage ended up causing a lot more widespread negative effects on the advertising ecosystem that Facebook has incorporated in its platforms. This is because for over six hours while every platform was down, ads weren’t being served to users, which constitute the biggest part of social media ad revenue online. This type of outage didn’t only impact Facebook’s own stock price and revenue, but all of the brands and corporations that utilized the company’s advertising platform.
Fortunately, there are some simple solutions for this issue, which companies should be utilizing as soon as possible, as this wasn’t the first Facebook outage, and it’s certainly not going to be the last.
Diversifying media spend
This incident should be a lesson for any company that solely focuses its marketing efforts on the handful of social media platforms that are owned and operated by Facebook. Instead of continuing to mostly advertise on Facebook and Instagram, for example, a company should reassess how much of its ad spend is focused on other platforms, including platforms outside of social media as well. With a diversified marketing and ad strategy, companies will reduce the risk of concentrating all ad spend on a single or a handful of platforms that could go down at a moment’s notice, yet still reach target audiences effectively.
Adjusting measurements and future preparations
Aside from media spend diversifications, companies should be prepared for any future outages by allowing themselves to pivot fast and lessen the potential side effects of an outage. Additionally, marketers should also account for the latest social media outage and be mindful of it when setting their performance benchmarks and assessing their promotional efforts.