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Facebook’s Summer of Downtime: Why Marketers Should Worry

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On September 3, Facebook users reported the social network went down on web and mobile in the U.S. as well as the United Kingdom, Germany, Thailand, Portugal, and other parts of the world at around 12:40pm PST. Facebook has had an uncharacteristically problematic summer with major outages in MayJune, and August.

Facebook later issued a statement:

“Earlier today we encountered an error while making an infrastructure configuration change that briefly made it difficult for people to access Facebook. We immediately discovered the issue and fixed it, and everyone should now be able to connect. We apologize for the inconvenience and will thoroughly investigate this issue so we can learn from it and ensure that Facebook is there when people need it.”

Why did Facebook go down? Who knows the real answer – except for some hilarious commentary from Twitter. Here’s my favorite:

 

OMG! Facebook is down!

 

While the world was not thrown back into the dark ages, the impact felt by web and mobile sites has not been trivial.  Each day, hundreds of millions of users access Facebook, either through the site’s homepage, or through widgets and APIs on other web and mobile sites. When the social media giant experiences an outage, the ripple effects spread far and wide.

Facebook theoretically loses about $22K for every minute it?s down around the globe. However, this most recent outage occurred at prime browsing time for social network’s key markets in the West, and, according to TechCrunch, it was likely losing much more: “The 20 minute outage could have cost it around a half million dollars.”

Imagine what that means for retailers whose ecommerce web and mobile sites are connected to Facebook via widgets and/or other APIs. Check out this older infographic for some statistics around the impact of Facebook being down:

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Facebook is here to stay for the foreseeable future, despite concerns that it is losing its “cool” factor among teens or irking users worried about privacy.  On their earnings call this past July, Facebook said they added another 40 million users in the second quarter, with one-fifth of the world’s population now logging into the social network at least once a month.  Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also shared that Americans spend an average of 40 minutes per day on their social network.  That’s twice as much time as we devote to exercise, and beats the time we devote time to thinking and reading! Don’t worry my fellow Americans, watching TV still reigns supreme.

And don’t forget about mobile! A Facebook-sponsored survey of American smartphone owners released last year found that their members checked the site an average of 14 times per day, and spent nearly 33 minutes on it. The study also found that Facebook was only the third most popular online activity, behind email and browsing the web.

And if improving the social widget and website experience for your customers is a top priority for your company, we’re here to help!

 

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