“Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Jürgen Galler, CEO and co-founder of 1plusX.
Meme sharing came to a grinding halt during the Facebook and Instagram outage in October, proving that even global social networking giants aren’t immune to service disruptions. But this is nothing new. In 2016, Twitter, Spotify and Shopify became inaccessible after denial of service (DoS) attacks on their DNS provider. Last year, Twitter suffered its own global outage. Even newcomer TikTok crashed earlier in 2021.
With half of the global population using social networks, and spending on social advertising worldwide expected to reach $137 billion, it’s clear why disruptions are concerning for advertisers striving to achieve mass reach and engagement.
Advertisers have a lot to lose when a social platform collapses. But there are ways to safeguard their investments.
One obvious precaution is to apply robust checks of service-level capabilities. Running risk assessments across supply chains can help improve your understanding of which channels, platforms and tools are prone to glitches.
This strategy, however, has its limits.
For example, midsize players are likely willing to share details, such as historic uptime and service management processes – particularly if audits help secure higher trust and investment. But the success of this solution depends on all players, including smaller companies and tech heavyweights, being open to scrutiny.
Plus, despite placing advertisers in a stronger position, evaluation won’t stop downtime. Advertisers need more protection.
To truly be prepared for outages, they must diversify their media portfolios.
The right data
Diversification makes logical sense. By extending advertising across varied media networks, advertisers can spread risk and strengthen defenses, ensuring reach won’t suddenly plummet if a handful of channels go down.
But in practice, diversification has its challenges. There are reasons prominent platforms have maintained their pull. Not only are these walled gardens the gateway to vast audiences, but they also hold the keys to insights.
To effectively diversify spend across the open web, advertisers need to enhance their own understanding of target audiences. In short, they must strengthen their first-party data muscle.
Honing first-party data
Cultivating first-party assets has become increasingly important amid ongoing privacy regulation and limits on third-party cookies. But it’s also essential for diversification and reducing reliance on walled gardens that keep data locked down.
Achieving this won’t be easy. But advertisers have a fast-growing array of options to help organize and optimize data.
Put insight to work
Predictive technology now does more than streamline collection. These tools can also filter, package, enrich and prepare data for use.
For instance, machines can decide whether incoming data should fuel artificially intelligent predictions or become a deterministic signal. Meanwhile, instant linking to new and current identifiers can drive steady ID assignment. This allows advertisers to reach known users or bolster audiences through syndication with identity networks.
Maximize data scope
As Google’s contentious FLoC proposal has demonstrated, training algorithms with data about anonymized users can enable interest-based segmentation. Similarly, analyzing so-called ground truths about consenting users reveals patterns that can be applied to individuals with shared traits, even without user-supplied signals. With this data, advertisers can fill in gaps with logical and predicted – rather than declared – insight. It’s a step above walled garden black boxes that enables advertisers to expand their targeting range.
As they strive to prevent outage disasters, advertisers must keep in mind that supply chain vetting likely won’t be enough. Although risk assessment can be part of the toolkit, protecting your full operations requires more strategic safeguards.
Diversification will help ensure tech titan outages don’t cause total campaign knockouts by distributing spend across multiple media outlets. But only by broadening their horizons with first-party data and AI enhancement can advertisers engage target audiences while staying firmly in control.