Where were you on October 4, 2021? If you own a smartphone or keep up with the news, you’ll remember that at the beginning of this month, Facebook “broke down” for more than 5 hours. And it wasn’t just Facebook—the breakdown included their apps, Instagram and Whatsapp, and even some of their office building software, leaving Facebook employees locked outside for hours.
Maybe you barely noticed and went on with your day. Maybe the blackout shut down your whole business. But there are some big takeaways to remember from what happened on October 4th—here’s what you need to know:
What Actually Happened?
Beginning around 11:45 EST, users began to realize their apps were not working. What many thought was going to be a short glitch turned into hours of blank screens. Many flocked to Twitter to get their social media fill. Facebook later released a statement claiming there was no “malicious activity” connected to the outage, and they don’t believe that user data was compromised.
Why It Went Down
There was a lot of speculation that day about what caused all this software to shut down, with users blaming whistleblowers, the algorithm, and even the government for the shutdown. The reason behind the outage was due to “configuration changes,” “network traffic,” and “backbone routers.” There’s obviously a more technical answer, but we’re keeping it simple.
This is Why We Preach Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket, especially the Facebook Basket
Were you, the advertiser, caught in a net because you are only running ads on social media and not diversifying your ad spend? This is not the first time Facebook has been shut down, and losing hours in a blackout can mean losing leads and thousands of dollars in revenue, or maybe a lot more in lifetime value, especially if you lost out to a competitor that got that lead somewhere else.
Your takeaway: make sure you are running ads elsewhere besides social media. When it comes to social media and Facebook marketing, “don’t cut it out altogether, but stay diversified,” says Travis Champ, Genius Monkey Direction of Operations. Champ also explained that every company who came to Genius Monkey and were only running social media ads had reached a peak and then saw no more progress on their own—they relied fully on one platform to get their message across. One network can only get you in front of the same user for so long before it gets old. When Genius Monkey helped these companies add full programmatic to the mix, they flourished quickly with the diversification of networks and audiences.
Marketers are looking elsewhere for where to spend their ad money (and rightly so). In an article by DigiDay, advertisers aren’t putting all their eggs in one basket anymore, and “ad dollars that may have gone to Facebook and Instagram have recently shifted” to alternative digital mediums and platforms such as programmatic—or “to other efforts to improve or build out social commerce opportunities, as well as working with influencers.”
The Fall of Facebook
Let’s face it—Facebook isn’t the powerhouse it used to be. Yes, it’s still a multi-billion dollar organization that many people use daily. But it’s trending downwards, with total growth slowing down and disadvantages appearing left and right.
One disadvantage is that Facebook has lost its ability to target a lot of individuals. Apple removed that targeting ability on iOS devices, and ever since, there’s been a drastic decline in performance. Another damaging aspect to Facebook includes its history of deceit and false information. Facebook was caught lying about ad metrics, when they “deliberately did not remove duplicate or fake accounts” in their “Potential Reach” metric.
Facebook isn’t appealing to younger generations anymore. 66% of college students reported they used Facebook less frequently than they had in the last two years. With this in mind, it might be time to consider where you’re spending your time and energy in marketing and what would happen if more blackouts occurred in the future.
Be Everywhere With Genius Monkey
This outage may have been a good wake-up call for you, even if you have a solid advertising plan in place. The main takeaway is to be prepared, be flexible, and be willing to re-evaluate your strategy. The team at Genius Monkey knows how to show your ads to the right people at the right time—even in a blackout. With programmatic advertising, you can round out your marketing strategy and spread your eggs out, ensuring more coverage and more security in your future ads, leads and revenue.