Twitter was full of news on June 19th that it was the day that Facebook died. Now, Twitter is of course a competitor of Facebook, so it would be great for them if the other social media giant was no more. As a result, anything anti-Facebook that appears on Twitter must be taken with a grain of salt. However, it is certainly true that the day saw a lot of problems for Facebook and these problems could end up being far-reaching due to the many companies that use Facebook for their internet marketing processes.
Facebook Goes Down for Some
For several hours, users across the world were unable to access Facebook. Not everybody had this problem, but there were plenty. It didn’t take very long for Facebook to come back up, luckily, but those hours were damaging for various reasons, as we will explore. Facebook has now provided an official statement.
Earlier today, an internal issue in our web infrastructure caused the site to be slow or unavailable for a brief period of time. We resolved the issue quickly, and should now be back to 100%. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Generally, this wouldn’t be so bad. After all, Facebook has always been known for its reliability, something that Twitter cannot say. When Twitter first went live, there were constant problems with the entire platform going down. So, we would think that a single little mistake will easily be forgiven. However, it isn’t a single little mistake, since Facebook has actually been having various problems since February of this year.
Earlier this year in February, Facebook also suffered an outage lasting about an hour, but a cause for the downtime wasn’t provided. A similar situation in October last year was put down to “a change to DNS as part of a traffic optimization test.
One of the big ad immediate problems for Facebook was that there ensued a real, global panic. With Twitter users reporting that this was the day Facebook died, all sorts of rumors started to appear. Some suggested that the government was behind it, in light of recent news that all our internet usage is monitored. Others immediately put “some people” on it and tried to get it fixed (to no avail, of course). Email messages and Tweets were sent at alarming rates asking people if they were experiencing the same problem. The panic was felt across the globe.
Chatter on Twitter only escalated as Facebook’s problem dragged on tonight. Frustrated users took to the micro-blogging site to vent and crack jokes at the situation. […] Facebook is down. No worries, it’s just the NSA conducting a routine maintenance check on all of your messages.
There were various other jokes going around. Some were suggesting that it was ridiculous that they would now have to go to Twitter in order to find out whether or not they could get on Facebook. Again, this is not good advertisement!
The Effect on Internet Marketing
All joking aside, Facebook being down for several hours had some significant consequences. Various companies pay a lot of money to advertise on Facebook, and none of their advertisements came through during the time Facebook was down. Even if their part of the site came back online pretty quickly, there were still thousands of users that were unable to see the advertisements because their own Facebook account wasn’t working yet. Understandably, many companies are very angry at what has happened, since the costs of Facebook ads are quite significant.
Every time your ad is shown to a user on Facebook, it counts for an “impression”. It doesn’t matter how much or how often your ad is clicked: You pay for the number of times your ad is displayed to users by the Facebook platform.
This means, clearly, that companies have had to pay for impressions that haven’t actually taken place. Due to the slowness of Facebook, people would refresh their page, or close the page down before having fully loaded, but according to the system, the impression had been displayed. Only those who use just Pay per Click options have not lost out on any money, but even they have potentially lost out on revenue, because they weren’t able to advertise for several hours.
So what are the consequences of this? Initially, the Facebook stock price dropped quite significantly. In fact, it came quite close to its all time low, although it has now climbed back up. It is likely that, this time at least, Facebook has dodged the bullet in terms of really ending in significant trouble.
Facebook, Inc. Stock Quote & Summary Data $24.33 * 0.12 negative 0.5%
Although there are numerous companies that purchase stocks in Facebook, the majority comes from people and companies that don’t have a vested interest in as such that they don’t advertise on the social media platform. Hence, to them, Facebook has simply had a glitch and they have recovered. After all, everybody has a glitch every once in a while, and how well they deal with that is actually far more telling than anything else. However, news hit today as well that Facebook has now hit the magical mark of 1 million advertisers.
Facebook just hit 1 million advertisers, a milestone signaling that it has become a mainstream advertising channel for small and medium-sized businesses.
Facebook obviously needs to work very hard to keep that status intact, and to have such a huge problem on the day they are able to officially become a mainstream advertising channel may just work against them. Over the next few days, we will have to see exactly what the results are of the glitch that was experienced by the social media giant. However, whenever advertising agencies have made a mistake of this proportion in the past, their customers haven’t been overly pleased. It will be very interesting to see whether their advertisers drop below 1 million again as a result, or whether they will be forgiven this one mistake.