The Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram outage: A wake-up call for social media specialists

The Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram outage that occurred on 4 October was in many ways an eye-opening experience.

Owing to what Facebook has described as a “faulty configuration change”, traffic on three of the most used digital platforms globally ground to a halt, creating widespread disruption that impacted people over the world in many different ways.

For businesses, this was clear to see.

Social media is a vital component of the digital marketing toolkit. According to Hootsuite’s Digital 2021 July Global Statshot Report[1] , there are now 4.48 billion social media users around the world, equating to almost 57% of the world’s total population. And these users are active, with individuals aged 16 to 64 spending an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes of their day on social media.

From a marketing perspective, the potential is difficult to fathom. In the case of Instagram, Facebook reports that as many as 1.39 billion people can be reached with adverts on the platform, its potential advertising audience equating to 22.6% of the total population aged 13+.

Yet such statistics should not lead businesses into rabbit holing their marketing strategies.

If nothing else, the outage of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp should serve as a wake-up call for social media managers and creators.

Digital marketers should never place all their eggs in one basket. Instead, they should work to adopt a broad and diversified content channel strategy, adopting and honing various best practices across the board.

To be clear, this is not simply a strategy that should be used to help protect against the adverse effects of social media outages – the reality is that these are freak incidents that happen rarely, with Facebook’s last significant outage occurring back in 2019.

The benefits of having a broad, diversified marketing strategy extends far beyond this.

Asides social media , marketing channels include everything from search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing and email marketing to online advertising, offline advertising, and word-of-mouth.

Each channel offers a different avenue to reaching different consumers in different ways. While one individual may prefer to engage with brands via Facebook or Instagram, another may be more impacted by podcasts, billboards or person-to-person conversations.

Understanding this fact – that consumers have varying communications habits and preferences across different platforms – is vital if you are to ensure that your business is able to reach each of them in relevant and suitable ways.

So, what are some of the benefits that multichannel marketing can offer versus a marketing strategy solely focused on only one or two social media channels?

  • First and foremost is the opportunity to expand your reach. While a consumer might spend 2 hours and 24 minutes of their day on Facebook and 28 minutes on Instagram[2], they may also spend a similar amount of time browsing other social media channels, the web or wandering through city centers. Using different channels allows you to better target specific demographics and personas. By having a combination of both traditional and digital marketing methods, you will be able to reach consumers both more consistently and successfully over a greater period of time.
  • Secondly, tapping into multiple channels allows marketers to drive relevant engagement in their marketing. Posting 6 social media posts in a day may be viewed as spam, putting customers off. However, posting 2 social media posts, 2 emails, a video and a blog in one day that deliver consistent messaging provides more touchpoints for your prospects and customers to engage with you, without being overbearing on any one channel.
  • Combined, these can also deliver improved return on investment (ROI), sales and revenue. Statistics show that 72%[3] of online customers prefer to engage with brands over multiple channels – a preference that contributes to the fact that multichannel campaigns typically deliver 24%[4] more ROI than single-channel marketing.

Indeed, these are just some benefits among dozens that point to multichannel marketing being the most effective way forward.

Therefore, while big players such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp will remain undeniably important to the overall marketing picture for many years to come, they should not be the be-all and end-all of marketing.







More on these subjects

Social Media Digital Marketing Content Marketing Communications Strategy Marketing Communications


Posted by
Kim Lommaert 
on October 5, 2021

Share on


by Topic

Communications Strategy
Content Marketing
Crisis Communications
Digital Marketing
EMG Community
Industry Trends
Marketing Communications
Media Monitoring
Media Relations
Social Media



by Date