This week demand for Kraftwerk ticket’s brought down the Tate Modern’s website. Marketers might think that crashing a website is the sign of a successful campaign, but in reality downtime damages both reputation and the bottom line.
The fact of the matter is that marketers need to up their game to ensure 100% uptime of their websites. Website stability is no longer just the concern of the techies. Anyone with a remote interest in online marketing and PR should ensure they know how to prepare a website ahead of a large traffic event.
This blog post outlines the sectors that are most at risk of catastrophic online events and provide eight pieces of essential actionable insight.
What is an online event?
Sometimes predictable. Often not. Events cause sudden surges of web traffic that can take websites to the edge. And over.
This might be: aTV ad; a ticket launch; a trending topic; a celebrity endorsement; a cultural or sporting event; or anything that provokes a sudden burst of traffic directed at a website.
These events are becoming more and more frequent as social media usage continues to grow and integrates with traditional media channels to amplify online campaigns.
There are three big sectors which need to be preparing event performance management strategies. Retail, Cultural and Media.
Event performance management in Retail
Like their bricks and mortar cousins, if an eCommerce website is slow or even down then people head for the doors at the click of a mouse.
Asos have been taking their online quality assurance very seriously and as part of an international ecommerce expansion they have not only benefited from 100% uptime but have boosted its site speeds by 250%. We all know that faster sites equal better conversions and revenues.
Event performance management for ‘Cultural’ websites
There are few events that will test website resilience more than a nationally publicised music festival, charity broadcast or a high demand ticket release.
As individual threats, each has the potential to seriously compromise a campaign. Combined, however, they could easily rip a site to pieces.
Glastonbury is an ever green example of a website that receives sudden peaks in traffic, high volumes of database queries and multiple, simultaneous transactions.
Event performance management in media
Getting tongues wagging on news and media sites is only half the story. Once people are tweeting, liking following and texting the next big challenge is how to handle the often dramatic bursts in traffic (sometimes thousands of impressions a second) that social media can drive.
So there are three big performance management sectors. What next?
The next step is ensuring as an organisation that the entire business is prepared.
There often is a tension within any business that operates online between marketing and the IT director. Marketing departments want to be fast, responsive and drive bottom line, while the IT Director just wants to know that the website is in safe hands and isn’t going to go down or slow.
The reality is that responsibility for ensuring maximum uptime is taken as a collective.
The challenge is to stay on the right side of resilience and the rewards can be significant. Get it wrong and watch systems freeze, value vanish and reputations collapse.
So how does this work in practice?
Here are eight actionable insights for any online business to consider:
1. The Numbers – model traffic predictions. Its volume, its activity and its nature. Traffic can be modelled and websites tested.
2. The Now -testing and benchmarking to assess current status. Target setting.
3. The Architecture – engineer and apply the necessary upgrades.
4. The Infrastructure – secure hosting and platform
5. The Rigour – test again. And again.
6. The Controls – deploy necessary traffic management tools.
7. The Contingency – apply dynamic backup. Backup the backup.
8. The Review – event performance analysis to identify opportunities for improvement
This article was written by Jeremy Gidlow of Intechnica, an event performance management specialist.