- Google Display and Video 360 experienced technical problems for about six hours on Black Friday, causing disruptions for advertisers, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a statement from Google. Advertisers use the platform to plan, buy and measure targeted online ad campaigns.
- Existing ad campaigns ran as planned on Google, but marketers struggled to change settings and had problems creating new campaigns. Advertisers sometimes optimize campaigns while they are in the process of running by changing the text or audience being targeted to improve performance.
- Facebook's Ads Manager also experienced an outage for a few hours on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, but a spokesman said the problem had been resolved.
The technical glitches experienced by Google and Facebook during the biggest shopping week of the year underscore the pitfalls of marketers being too dependent on the platforms, which are projected to control a combined 57.7% of U.S. digital ad revenue this year, eMarketer forecasts. News of technical glitches joins a growing list of issues faced by leading digital platforms this year, including growing scrutiny over how sensitive data is handled. Over the weekend, Britain's parliament seized documents related to Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal, the latest indication that blow back continues to be felt from the issue.
While marketers, for the most part, remain supportive of the leading digital advertising platforms, at some point the growing list of troubles might cause some marketers to consider their investments more closely. If that happens, Amazon could be a viable alternative. Amazon is also growing its ad business and becoming a stronger competitor for Facebook and Google. Some marketers are shifting up to 60% of their search budgets usually allocated to Google toward Amazon. Forty-one percent of advertisers were using the Amazon Advertising Platform as of July 2018, putting it ahead of other demand side platforms, according to an Advertiser Perceptions report. Usage of Google's formerly known DoubleClick Bid Manager, now the Google Marketing Platform, was at 35%.
Black Friday is a crucial day for retailers, and more consumers are shopping the sales digitally. U.S. online sales are projected to increase 15% this holiday season over last year to reach $124.1 billion, according to Adobe Analytics data cited in the Journal report. Seventy-three percent of consumers plan to shop at brick-and-mortar retailers for holiday gifts, but 57% also plan to shop online via their computers and 42% via mobile devices, a new survey by Citi Retail Services found.