Facebook’s Outage Again Shows Us the Importance of Diversifying Your Ad Mix

By Todd Van Etten, Chief Digital Strategist

If you were like most of the world, you may be wondering why you couldn’t access Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram for hours on Monday. While missing out on friends’ updates or the most recent memes is one dimension of the impact, the $7 billion of advertising revenue that Facebook lost touched on a second dimension and highlighted the complications of over reliance on one platform.  We’ll walk you through the basics and how we have been building a plan to shield clients from these impacts.

Facebook’s environment

For those who work in the digital advertising world, Facebook is what is called a “walled garden”: ads placed on the platform will only appear on the platform. All targeting information must be filtered through the platform’s Ads Manager. Facebook is so vast, with three billion users worldwide, they can set the terms for reaching their audience and advertisers are happy to comply with their policies.

But we increasingly see the problems that this “walled garden” creates. Last year in the thick of campaign season, Facebook decided to disallow all political advertising, leaving many agencies and ad buying firms scrambling. Thankfully, The Herald Group had many novel alternatives already in place, which you can learn more about here.  Now, charges from a whistleblower are raising the possibility of regulation on the platform, with uncertain outcomes for advertisers. And earlier this week, a small accidental change caused significant problems for Facebook, bringing the entire site down for many hours.

What it means for you:

All these recent events underscore the importance of diversifying your ad mix, something THG’s digital team has been advocating for many years. What’s more, the content syndication company Outbrain stated that non-Facebook properties saw an increase in traffic of 40% while the social media platform was down, which in turn extremely increased the visibility of our network display, video, and native content. Because we put a lot of thought into how to strategically reach our audiences using an array of platforms, we were well suited to confirm our client’s messages were seen even when Facebook was out of commission.

Crafting and testing the best way to reach a defined audience is part of what THG is best at: leveraging diverse digital strategies and tactics to engage targeted audiences to help achieve defined policy objectives. Contact us to learn more.