Q&A: How the Instagram + Facebook Shutdown Took a Toll on Advertisers


Q&A with Jon Mottel, Director of Social Strategy at Undertone  

What are your thoughts on the recent Instagram/Facebook outage? What impact did it have on your business? 

Being in the ad technology space, we’re accustomed to the occasional outage or technology snafu that affects our day to day. This one specifically was much longer than we’ve ever seen before, but didn’t last long enough that would affect a large portion of advertisers. For us specifically, the impact was not severe since most of our clients operate in more of a long term campaign approach.

The outage caused managers to be locked out of their accounts for hours. When major platforms are down, how can social marketers align with their clients and stakeholders to ensure campaign delivery?

Our first step would be to assess the damage: what campaigns were live and how will an outage stretching longer than a day affect the company? Second would be to come up with a game plan. If a brand has time-sensitive messaging in market or dollars that need to be spent very quickly, dollars would need to be shifted to other channels to ensure the message stays top of mind. Lastly, it’s necessary to present the situation to clients and/or internal stakeholders with clear recommendations for how to proceed. Showing clients that the situation has been properly assessed and a game plan has been proactively laid out will demonstrate that they can rely on your company in any situation.

Social media has become a crucial component for brand marketing campaigns. Do you see outages like this having a long-term effect on brands, and what can social media managers can learn from this outage to prepare for the next one? 

Outages like this are generally pretty rare, and when they do occur, they almost never last longer than a few hours. I only foresee long term damage happening if outages do come more frequent and pronounced than they have been historically – to this point, the outages haven’t been dramatic enough to cause advertisers to lose confidence in these channels. I don’t think it’s necessary to prepare too thoroughly for such an unlikely occurrence, but it is worthwhile to keep in mind the steps laid out above and quickly put them into action where necessary.

Why are brands and agencies becoming less likely to outsource social investments to third-party groups?

As investment in paid social has continued to significantly increase, it becomes imperative for brands and agencies to not only have more control, but also a greater understanding and expertise in social and how it affects their and their clients’ business. Having experts in-house that can do this becomes a worthwhile investment to ensure this ever-important channel is treated appropriately.

Describe your role as Undertone’s Head of Social Strategy for Undertone? Can you elaborate on some successful tactics you’ve leveraged for social campaigns?

My role at Undertone is to oversee our social products and solutions, shaping the services we offer in the social space to best meet the needs of our clients. In particular, we’re hyper-focused on connecting the dots between our high impact display network, custom content, influencer and paid social channels to deliver our clients a synchronized campaign approach across screens and platforms. We do this via connectivity in creative and audience sharing; developing a consistent creative experience between display and social, while also leveraging top performing audiences from our display campaigns into social, and vice-versa.

Where do you see the future of social media marketing is heading?

I think you will continue to see more and more emphasis on AI and automation in the years to come – Facebook has already begun to streamline both their targeting and creative options that rely on algorithms to find the most relevant user for the right ad. I think you’ll begin to see the platforms develop more solutions that allow marketers to opt in to automated solutions to find the right audience for their product vs. the tried and true approach of using targeting and data based on who they “think” their target audience might be.

About Jon Mottl

As Director of Social Strategy, Jon Mottel oversees the social products and offerings that Undertone provides to its clients and the teams that make this work come together. He works closely with teams across the organization, ensuring Undertone is using all facets of the organization to deliver best-in-class social products and services.


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