Updated: Jun 28
So – you might have noticed that Facebook experienced some technical difficulties this week.
On the 4th of October, for around six hours, users from around the globe could not access Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp.
Millions of error reports were sent, group chats fell silent, and influencers were left with nowhere to post photos of their lifestyle.
However, apart from Facebook, advertisers arguably felt the most significant impact from the blackout – campaigns were forced to pause, and social feeds were frozen.
It was a bit chaotic.
But what caused this social media meltdown? And more importantly, what lessons can advertisers learn from this disruption to their campaigns? Let's take a closer look.
What caused the outage?
Facebook claims that a faulty configuration change caused the outage.
In simpler terms, the Facebook servers were disrupted by a network issue, meaning they could not communicate properly. This network issue ultimately began a domino effect, which eventually caused mass outages.
How did this impact advertisers and campaigns?
It's no secret that Facebook is a hugely important element of global marketing strategies.
Millions of advertisers run their campaigns through both Facebook and Instagram – and millions also use these platforms to connect and communicate with their customers. So it's understandable that this disruption has caused a bit of panic and confusion.
Let's run through some of the outage's major impacts and how Facebook deals with them...
1. Ad campaigns being delayed or paused
One of the more apparent effects of the outage was disruption caused to ad campaigns.
With all platforms down, many advertisers were left wondering what was happening to their activity and budgets.
Facebook has clarified that ads were not being delivered across any of the platforms during the blackout, and nothing will be billed for this period.
It might come as a relief that no ads were served to empty platforms during the outage (phew). Still, Facebook has advised advertisers to review their bids and budgets to ensure delivery aligns with marketing objectives.
2. Appeals and review processes being slowed
If you were waiting for an ad or commerce listing to be approved, you might experience a bit of a delay here!
Although Facebook automates many of these processes, some requests are still reviewed manually. Meaning teams were unable to check ads and listings during the outage.
3. Pixel and conversion optimisations being disrupted
Events sent via Facebook pixels, or the Conversions API were not received during the outage, which might cause a bit of a headache for advertisers using these events for optimisations, measurement, or Custom Audiences.
The good news is that advertisers can choose to re-send any missed events via the Conversion API, so these can still be utilised for optimisations and tracking. The bad news is that the same can't be said for Facebook pixel events.
What can we learn from this?
The first lesson to accept is that these things happen sometimes. Sometimes things will go wrong. It's inevitable. Advertisers need to place a lot of trust in various platforms, channels and systems to keep their campaigns running.
Try not to panic too much. Reassure and communicate with your social customer base as much as possible, and crack on with your daily business!
However, there's also a more important lesson in all of this. Diversification is super important when you're a digital advertiser.
So, that's just about everything. If the outage inconvenienced you, try to take these lessons on board and move forward with your social activity. Get in touch with Facebook support or your typical account team for any significant or urgent issues.
All the best!