Recently you along with millions of others probably noticed a series of outages/glitches on Facebook’s family of apps. Those apps include Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. To date, the longest outage they experienced lasted 14 hours on March 13th, 2019. Facebook said server configuration changes are to blame for the outage. Although these social media platforms have multiple purposes, millions of users use it specifically for their business needs. The outage affected businesses in various ways, mainly costing them thousands of dollars lost in ad spend and revenue. Let’s take a deeper dive into four ways of how the outage affected businesses.
Smaller businesses use social media platforms for various marketing strategies. A few of those strategies include building an online presence, creating brand awareness, selling products online and in store. Small business owners mainly use social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, for their day to day operations. How? Well, let’s say you own a bakery and utilize social media to build awareness of your bakery and bring customers in to purchase those baked goods. You may use Instagram to share your daily menu, daily deals, and share photos of your baked goods. A lot of your customers may tune in to your Instagram stories and posts to see what your daily menu and deals will be, and plan their visit accordingly. If Instagram is down, you as a business owner can post about your menu, daily deals, and hours of operation for the day; however; no one will see it. As a consumer, you may decide not to go on that day since you are not able to see the menu. This will directly affect the business as it’s a loss of revenue for the day.
Facebook and Instagram have become valuable digital ads tools for businesses. They can use Facebook Ad Manager to create ads that serve various purposes. Ad spend can cost anywhere between $500-$10,000+. For businesses of any scale, any money you invest into your business, you expect to see it return, through consumer purchases. Through Facebook Ad Manager you can pre-schedule your ad campaigns, and it will go live on your chosen date. The problem here is that when Facebook had its outage, no one was able to access any of the platforms, or Ad Manager. Which meant, all ads went live and were not as successful as they could have been. All ads published did not reach their audience, target, or do the job they were supposed to. Costing businesses thousands of dollars. Especially smaller business that relies on their ads to bring in revenue for that day.
Content that is time-sensitive such as limited time promotions can bring in thousands of dollars in revenue, if advertised well and consumers can see the ads. Business plan preplans their sales/promotions and creates their ads and content around it. If you had a limited time offer on the day of the outage, your ads and content went live; however; it did not reach the audience it was supposed to, which resulted in a loss for the businesses.
Nowadays, a big part of a business's marketing strategy is to incorporate social media influencers. Influencers typically have a large following, high levels of engagement, and can help a brand create brand awareness along with marketing their products, which will ultimately result in a high return of interest for the brand. Influencer campaigns can be quite costly, depending on the types of influencers you choose to work with. If you have a campaign that is set to go live on the day Facebook had their outage, it will end up costing you a loss in revenue in various ways. Firstly, influencers that posted their product photos will still need to be paid. Regardless, if no one saw it due to the outage. Secondly, you are losing revenue that was supposed to be brought in from those campaigns — resulting in your business losing thousands of dollars.
Unfortunately, no one can predict when Facebook may face an outage. Facebook cannot even predict it. The outage did cause financial damage to millions of businesses; however; I think it also taught business owners one valuable lesson. That lesson is to never rely on just one social media platform. Utilize as many platforms as you can that makes sense for your business. That way, in case of another outage, you can still utilize your other platforms to engage with audiences and showcase your brand!