What Did The Facebook, WhatsApp And Instagram Outage Teach Marketers?

Social media has become a go-to tactic for many brands looking to drive performance.

However, those brands definitely failed to clear as many ads as they hoped on Oct. 4 during the Facebook outage, according to Donna Hamilton, SVP of data strategy for Alliant.

“There are deeper questions as well: what if the outage had lasted even longer? Or how will other challenges facing Facebook affect brands?” she asked.

“Brands with diversified approaches to finding their audience across other channels were able to pivot more quickly and had a better chance of reaching their audience elsewhere.”

Diversification — and investing where the audience is — will only help marketers going forward, whether there is another outage, if social media becomes oversaturated, or any number of other factors, Hamilton added.

The big takeaway here is to keep your eggs in a variety of baskets, according to Caro Solari, head of marketing for Affogata.

The outage affected customer service channels, which are increasingly online, especially across social networks and WhatsApp.

“With the holidays coming up and a tsunami of complaints on the horizon,” Solari said, “this should be a wake-up call vis-a-vis the importance of an owned line of communication to interact with customers.”

Marketers should also pay attention to the fact paid media was also completely down during the recent outage, Solari said.

Marketers need to make sure they develop a variety of channels bringing traffic, customers and leads. “That way,” Solari said, “the acquisition machine keeps going even if one or two of the channels are down.”

Understanding Service Level Capabilities

As the advertising supply chain becomes more complex, there are inevitably more points of failure, said Neil Smith, VP Americas for 1plusX.

Disruptions present a larger risk for marketers, he added, whether their advertising partner is Facebook or one of the many other technology companies that participate in the supply chain.

“Savvy marketers can mitigate the risks, firstly, by understanding the service level capabilities of their key partners throughout the supply chain and ensuring those partners ask the same of the providers they rely on,” he said.

Furthermore, marketers need to have contingency plans in place that enable them to reach their audiences through multiple channels by way of fast activation.

“This can limit the impact of a potential outage on their primary supply path,” Smith said.

“The more direct understanding marketers have of their audience, the easier it is to have alternative solutions available to enable strategies to be quickly pivoted.”

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