What The Facebook Crash Means for Your Online Advertising

On Wednesday, March 13th, Facebook and its properties suffered a massive outage for 10 hours. Users all over the world suffered from slow and limited website access. During the outage, Downdetector reported an average of 36,000 website loading issues per hour compared to the usual 1,600. While users complained about wonky site access, social media reps quietly lost their minds.

Facebook attributed the problem to a server configuration change. “We made a server configuration change that triggered a cascading series of issues,” the website announced. This statement appeared on the website the morning after:

Facebook crash explanation announcement on server configuration change

How to Overcome the Next Facebook Crash

If your business uses social media to attract and engage with customers, you likely encountered unforeseen problems on March 13th. You may have had trouble reaching clients and staying up-to-date on your local market. If you have Facebook Ads and sponsored posts, they likely suffered from a traffic loss.


At this time, there is no reason to anticipate an increase in serious outages. However, as firm believers of storing our eggs in multiple baskets, we recommend having viable alternatives ready and active at all times. If social media is your go-to for customer outreach, we recommend branching out and improving your web presence elsewhere.

Advertise on YouTube

When Facebook is down, bored users go running to other platforms. While primarily an entertainment platform, YouTube is also the place to go for tutorials and amateur reporting, making it possible to hone a YouTube marketing campaign to any target audience. Upload your video and select your demographic targeting just like you would on Facebook. Another cool feature specific to YouTube is the ability to select and omit specific types of videos for your ads to be paired with.

Optimize Your Website

If customers are unable to search for you on Facebook, the best remaining option is the open web. Ensure that when customers search for your services, your company is at the top of the list. This means not just featuring your products clearly and readably on your website but also reaching out to associated businesses for relevant backlinks. See more details on how to improve your online presence.

Diversify Your Social Media Outreach

It can be hard to believe sometimes, but there are other websites out there besides Facebook. While they don’t receive the same traffic volume, every social media site has different audience to cater to. Consider appealing to the fashionable masses on Instagram or targeting business profiles on LinkedIn. Check out our targeting recommendations for each social media site.

Help Customers Reach You

Facebook is often the friendliest, easiest and least intimidating way for a customer to reach out to a company. The message box pops up automatically, providing suggested questions in a familiar blue box. It’s tough to replicate that friendliness on your own website. Consider trying an instant message plugin from LiveChat to start a conversation with customers. In addition, examine your contact page and see how easy it is for customers to reach you. Do you include a phone number, email link, address, and social media links? Is everything current and clickable?

Note to Marketing Agencies: Redistribute Your Facebook Pay Metrics

In preparation for the next crash, consider switching some of your ad management fees to a flat rate. Generally, basing your fee on a percentage of spend is the most profitable, as you are able to share in the success of the client. However, when an outage occurs, your daily profits may tank. Including some clients at a flat rate will ensure continuous cash flow even in the case of an outage.


If you are only concerned with the Facebook marketing of your own company, you’re already covered. Paying by click or impression ensures your business is only charged when a user is there to see your ad. This means customers will not see your ads when Facebook is down, but you won’t be charged for it either.

Outages are always a possibility. There is no reason to assume outages for a specific website will become more common, widespread, or serious, but there is reason to prepare for them. Contact us to help diversify your targeting and prepare for the next important outage.