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The Disastrous Side-Effects of Going Viral By @RyanBateman | @DevOpsSummit #APM #DevOps

Did those users complete your desired action and sign-up, check-out or convert?

The Disastrous Side-Effects of Going Viral and How to Avoid Them

I've encountered this a few times in the field when chatting with fellow marketers, even the most mature marketing organizations have made these mistakes. We aspire for exponential growth and to do it, we've adopted agile practices to fail-fast, learn from our mistakes and quickly rebound with another marketing concept that could be "the next big thing." However, when I ask marketers about what they'd do if they really accomplished virality and if their ordering systems, websites, sales teams, etc., could actually handle the volume increase they always say...

Sometimes they say: "You're so handsome Ryan, but that is a good problem to have and we'll address it then!" Okay, maybe I made up the former statement, but the latter is true.

Preparing your infrastructure for viral peaks all the time isn't cost effective but preparing for scale as you succeed is. And preparing to handle viral growth online is easier than you think. Let's look at a simple example.

Do: Communicate and Collaborate Across Marketing and IT
This story comes from a large business in Europe (made anonymous to protect their feelings). It came to our attention because the IT group within this business nearly shut down their website due to lack of coordination with their marketing counterparts... who happened to be in the midst of a gigantic Asia-targeted email campaign with a social media related call to action.

As you can see in the dashboard below, with no word from marketing, the IT group started freaking out a bit when they saw a sudden spike in traffic from Asia. They nearly nuked this traffic after initially thinking it was a bot attack in order to preserve their hardware costs and to sustain availability for the other countries. Luckily this IT group had the smarts to investigate the traffic type further and proactively reached out to Marketing before making a rash decision. After discovering that the traffic bump was a result of an email blast, IT wisely allowed the CDN they had in place to intelligently shoulder the increased load.

Don't: Assume increased attention directly results in increased revenue
This secret European business survived a scare after the initial email blast success. Thanks to a mature IT group, their data center avoided a possible crash due to increased activity. But... was this a success? Let's look at the success criteria. As marketers, our first instinct is probably to look at Google Analytics and/or something like Constant Contact; we notice things like open rates, increased sessions/visits, time on site, etc., and diagnose the campaign as a success. Did those users complete your desired action and sign-up, check-out or convert? How does your cost-per-lead analysis look if IT presents you the bill for the CDN service or extra hardware required to handle the increase in traffic?

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More Stories By Ryan Bateman

Ryan Bateman is a Marketing Director at Dynatrace. He has been working in the IT and Telecommunications industries for over 10 years with experience in all forms of data communications. In his 6+ years at Dynatrace, he has spent considerable time experimenting with digital technologies and social media. Ryan also enjoys cynicism, soccer, basketball and video games.

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