Facebook has apologised to marketers who were unable to access its ad interfaces, including Ads Manager and the Marketing API, yesterday during an outage which impacted the social media giant’s platforms globally.
Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp all experienced partial outages for more than 12 hours, in what is thought to be the most significant disruption to its services the 15-year old company has ever experienced.
In response, ads buyers have asked for refunds and directed their spending to other channels.
“While existing ads are continuing to deliver, your campaigns are likely experiencing reduced reach as a result of some people having trouble accessing our family of apps,” Facebook said in an email to marketers.
“Our engineers are working hard to resolve the issue. We do not yet have timing to share, but will update you as soon as it’s available.”
“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this is causing your business, and appreciate your continued patience. We’ll continue to provide updates as soon as we know more.”
Which-50 has contacted Facebook as to whether the issues affecting the ad platforms have been resolved. We will update this story if we receive an update.
Sarah Arvela, a senior digital marketer with independent digital marketing agency Sparro, told Which-50 the outages significantly reduced the reach of her clients’ current campaigns and they were unable to publish any changes to campaigns or ads.
“This is preventing us from setting up new campaigns, making changes to budgets and delivering on work that our client’s expected would be completed today,” Arvela said.
Reporting was also impacted. Sparro uses an API tool to pull Facebook ad data into an automated client report which stopped working yesterday.
“In the past we have been reimbursed for technical glitches or ads serving incorrectly through the platform. We reached out to our Facebook representative early this morning and asked if we will be compensated for the outage… we are still waiting on a response.”
Bloomberg reports the Facebook is exploring the issue of refunding advertisers and, in 2019, ad sales are projected to generate average daily revenue of about US$189 million for the company.
Others in the industry have noted that Facebook and Instagram ads are auction based, so advertisers’ spend and reach would be reduced for the outage time, which Facebook will not charge the advertiser for. However the timing of the outage was especially problematic for ecommerce retailers, hitting mid-way through Afterpay’s two day sales event.
“The majority of our clients have partnerships with Afterpay and this outage has coincided with the Afteryay 48 hour sale which they are participating in. We were anticipating massive reach and volume of sales for the promotion today and due to the outage it appears we are going to fall short of this,” Arvela said.
We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
— Facebook (@facebook) March 13, 2019
Arvela said yesterday was spent communicating with its clients to keep them informed of the situation while also acting quickly to redirect campaign budgets.
“We put delivering client value at the forefront of all our decision making, on a day like today we keep our clients informed on the outage and the implications on our work,” she said.
“We’ve been agile and shifted spend into other digital platforms like Google search and display ads, and lastly, we’ve assured clients that if the outage has caused negative performance we will seek compensation from Facebook on their behalf.”
During the outage Facebooked tweeted it was working to resolve the issues and ruled out a distributed denial of service attack.
“We’re focused on working to resolve the issue as soon as possible, but can confirm that the issue is not related to a DDoS attack,” the company said.
The Facebook outage occurred just a day after Google suffered a global issue which took down its Gmail and Google Drive products.
The company tweeted this morning that outage was caused by a server configuration change and the issue is now resolved and services are recovering.
“Yesterday, as a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services. We’ve now resolved the issues and our systems are recovering. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone’s patience,” Facebook said.