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Twitter’s Working to Keep its Systems Running Amid Rising Demand and Supply Chain Issues



Like all social networks, Twitter is seeing unprecedented levels of demand amid the COVID-19 lockdowns. And this week, it’s outlined how it’s working to keep its systems running, while operating with reduced staff and hardware capacity, as it too grapples with the various impacts of the expanding outbreak.

As explained by Twitter:

“Keeping the service running and the Tweets flowing is one of our top priorities in these difficult times. Our work has never been more critical and our service has never been in higher demand. In the past few weeks, we have seen more and more people turn to Twitter to participate in the public conversation and follow what’s happening in real-time.”

Indeed, Twitter recently noted that its monetizable DAU (mDAU) count is up to 164 million for the quarter, a 23% increase Q1 2019, and an 8% increase on its most recent performance update. In addition to this, Twitter says that it’s also seen a 45% increase in views on its curated events page, which is currently focused on COVID-19 updates, while usage of DMs is also up 30%.

And that extra usage load is taking a toll on its systems:

The effects of COVID-19 on Twitter have already surpassed any event we’ve seen, and it’s possible that as the pandemic continues, we will see additional stress on our service.”

Twitter says that its physical infrastructure teams are currently keeping its data centers up and running, with staff operating under the “essential services” provisions in each region. But its operations are also under added strain due to hardware supply chain issues caused by delays in shipments from China, another impact of COVID-19.

“From our IT, Network and Product Engineering teams to our infrastructure and data center teams, we have collectively mobilized to ensure we are able to stay safe and productive under the stress of the new levels of traffic we’re seeing on our service.”

Basically, Twitter says that it’s doing all it can to meet rising demand, but as the pandemic spreads, it will continue to face more challenges – and you may see service delays as a result.


That’s not to say that Twitter will suffer any major outages or issues, but like Facebook, it’s warning that the increased strain is beyond anything that its dealt with in the past, and it may become problematic at some point. 

It’s yet another impact of the ongoing spread of COVID-19, which has already shut down so much of what we’re used to. And while social platforms are having a key moment, an opportunity to showcase the connective value that they provide, they too are susceptible to the many flow-on impacts of the various changes and shifts being made in an attempt to halt the virus.

Twitter says that it will continue to report on any issues, and provide transparency on issues as they arise.



Instagram Tests Out New Ad Options, Including Explore Placement and Interactive AR Displays



Instagram Tests Out New Ad Options, Including Explore Placement and Interactive AR Displays

As we head into the holiday shopping push, Instagram has announced that it’s testing out some new ad options, in the hopes of maximizing its revenue intake, while also providing new opportunities for brands.

Though I can’t imagine that these will be entirely popular additions with users.

First off, Instagram’s adding new ads into Explore, with the first page of Explore now set to feature a new ad unit in the content feed.

As you can see in this example, that’s a pretty big ad. Instagram hasn’t clarified if all of these new Explore ads will be featured as prominently as this, but the option will provide another means to reach IG users ‘in the earliest stages of discovering new content they care about’.

It could be a good consideration, with a chance to get your products featured in the main discovery feed in the app.

Instagram’s also testing ads in profile feed – ‘which is the feed experience that people can scroll through after visiting another account’s profile and tapping on a post’.

So now, if you check out someone’s profile, and tap on a post, you’ll also be eligible to be served ads in that dedicated stream of their content, essentially inserting ads into another surface in the app.


Instagram’s also looking into whether this option could also be used as a monetization opportunity for creators, as that activity will be tied back to an individual profile and content.

Instagram’s also testing what it’s calling ‘Multi-Advertiser Ads’, which will display more promotions from similar businesses to users after they’ve engaged with an ad.

Instagram ad updates

As per Instagram:

“When a person expresses commercial intent by engaging with an ad, we deliver more ads from other businesses that may be of interest, powered by machine learning.”

So Instagram’s looking to push even more related businesses at you, stacking ads upon ads. I don’t know how effective that will be, but in theory, it could get your brand in front of interested users based on previous ad engagement.

Finally, Instagram’s also launched an open beta of its AR Ads, which will be available in both feed and Stories in the app.

Instagram ads update

As you can see here, Instagram’s AR ads, built in its Spark AR platform, will invite users to interact with their ad content, which could also include positioning virtual furniture in their home, or test driving a car in the app.

Which Meta also says will help brands align with future engagement shifts:

“By giving businesses tools to create more personalized and immersive experiences today we’ll help them drive performance and prepare for the metaverse.”

I mean, AR and the metaverse, which is largely VR-based (going on the examples we’ve seen thus far) are not the same thing, but the creation of 3D objects will play a part in that next stage, and could help to advance your thinking on ad approaches.


These are some interesting ad considerations, but they’ll also see a lot more promotions being squeezed into your Instagram feeds, which, as noted, likely won’t be welcomed by users.

But with parent company Meta under rising pressure, Instagram has to do its part. And while leaning into further Reels, and forcing in more ads, may not be a great play, long-term, the usage and engagement data will ultimately tell the tale.

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