Omnichannel Marketing

The Great Facebook/ Instagram Outage of 2021 | Lessons Learned

By October 5, 2021No Comments

By Chris Ochs | VP & Head of Sales – Americas | Factoreal

Whew!!! That was close!

Fortunately, we all survived the Great Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp Blackout of 2021. Heck we might have even been more productive…Nah, most of us went over to Twitter to see what that was all about.

Ultimately, the outage only lasted 14 hours (*only!!*) and then the world was able to go back to its normal distracted-all-day self.

A few noticeable things happened yesterday though.

We had some Winners & some Losers

– Facebook lost $222,000 in revenue for every minute it was down. (Since I was told math would not be part of this post, my TI-36X Pro calculator tells me this was, $186,480,000 of advertising spend… kinda a bad revenue hit to start the 4th Quarter.)

– Mark Zuckerberg lost $7 billion in net worth during the outage…that will really show up at the ATM next time you try to withdraw $80 for drinks at the club.

– Instagram Influencers were lost during the day, unable to do the TikTok fist-bump, ask-me-a-question dance…Go ahead and “OK, Boomer” me, I’m fine with that.

– Many companies were lost with how to communicate with their customers when a significant channel—social media—was unavailable.

– Companies who did have a firm grasp and understanding of their customers though, they were not worried at all. In fact, marketers and business intelligence folks could take a victory lap showing their leadership how their companies were in great shape. Well done!

So what were the lessons we learned here?

I’ve broken them down to a few, non-exhaustive, but easily digestible points.

ZERO Party Data

Your company’s contact list needs to be “Zero Party Data”. Not first-, second-, or third- party, ZERO party.

– Data needs to be exclusive to your company with no sharing, co-branded partners, “stored offsite with a 3rd-party vendor”, or “we bought a list to pump up our numbers”.

– Every name opted-in (double opt-in, preferably), suppressed when requested, and verified frequently.

– Phone numbers for SMS are opted in with an unsub option for each message sent, communication frequency set and updated.

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

– Remember that time 10-15 years ago when someone asked, “Why do we need social? Nobody buys anything off it, it’s just cat videos.”?

– Now adjust your thinking to, “What will happen if we lose our social media capability?”

– We just found out what impact 14 hours sans social media has on your company.

– If you aren’t prepared to “lose a channel”, and don’t have a plan to mitigate that loss (e.g., we can deploy campaigns to customers who are highly engaged in mobile if our IP/domain gets blocked), then you will have a difficult conversation with your boss.

True Omnichannel Engagement Benefits your Customers

– Right message, right person, at the right time, via the right channel is what your customers want.

– Customers have progressed from “Email confirmation and wait 5-7 days” to “My order was confirmed via Facebook Messenger and I got a text in the morning that my order was en route with a mobile tracking number embedded in the message.” How many times have you Twitter DMed a company’s customer service to resolve an issue?

– Customers want that level of engagement. And the ones that don’t will give you feedback as such.

– How many times did you see this post (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) before you finally read it? See, multiple touch points can amplify your message!

If you aren’t understanding your customers, ANOTHER COMPANY WILL

– The days of uninspired emails, boilerplate messaging, and daily bombardment of your list with “free shipping” offers are long gone. Customers are too savvy and don’t have time for companies, brands, or messaging that does not resonate with them. They will leave.

– Can you answer the question, “Why does this person care about my company’s brand?

– Are you able to track the progression of a customer from list subscription to first purchase to evangelist?

– Is your customer attribution precise?

– Is your customer acquisition scalable?

– Why did this customer buy from your company and not your competitor?

– What are the Top Five reasons why you lose customers?

We can help you with all that right away

At Factoreal, we built our marketing automation platform to give brands and marketers the ability to connect and communicate with their customers effectively via true omnichannel engagement, and understand their customers in ways that empower them to answer all of these questions…positively.

If you want to take your customer data to the next level and bulletproof your business for the “next” outage, come talk to us.


authorChris Ochs is Factoreal’s VP & Head of Sales—Americas. He is a fifteen-year veteran of the digital marketing industry, having worked for several data and analytics companies prior to starting with Factoreal.

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