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Serverless is All Fun and Games, Until the External API Wait Timeouts Hit

Serverless is All Fun and Games, Until the External API Wait Timeouts Hit

26 January 2024

Kilian Niemegeerts

Key takeaways

  • Anticipate External Dependencies: Plan for limitations in a serverless setup.
  • Agile Problem-Solving: Swiftly address issues for seamless user experience.
  • Early Signaling: Identify potential problems early for uninterrupted success.

In the realm of digital marketing, employing cutting-edge technology is often the key to success. Our recent collaboration on a high-profile marketing campaign serves as a prime example of this. However, even the most innovative projects can face unexpected technical challenges. This blog post delves into a specific issue we encountered: API timeouts in a serverless environment during a global campaign. We’ll explore how our team navigated these challenges, ensuring the campaign’s success despite the technical hurdles.

The Challenge

Our project hinged on a serverless architecture – an innovative approach enabling scalability and efficiency. However, this project’s critical component was an external deepfake API, which posed unique challenges. The API, crucial for generating personalized content in real-time, began experiencing timeouts due to overwhelming global demand. Unlike our scalable serverless infrastructure, the API could not keep pace with the sudden surge in demand, leading to timeouts and impacting the user experience.

Our Solution

Early Involvement and Proactive Planning

From the outset of this ambitious campaign, our team was deeply involved, working in close collaboration with the leading marketing agency. Our early participation allowed us to gauge the potential scale and impact of the campaign, leading us to raise concerns about the capacity of the external deepfake API. We anticipated that the unique blend of the brand power and the massive fanbase could lead to unprecedented traffic, potentially straining our serverless setup and the API.

Immediate Response to Unforeseen Demand

As predicted, upon launch, the campaign’s popularity soared beyond expectations, attracting a volume of visitors that even Coca-Cola hadn’t anticipated. This success, while welcome, brought to light the limitations of the deepfake API. We observed a significant slowdown, resulting in disruptions and timeout errors. Reacting swiftly to these challenges, we, in partnership with Tool of NA, devised a series of solutions to manage the traffic surge effectively, all while keeping the campaign live.

Tactical Measures and User-Centric Fixes

Our first step was to implement a quick fix by resetting the pipeline whenever an error was detected. This approach, though temporarily inconvenient for users in the process, was crucial in preventing a complete system halt. It ensured that users didn’t perceive the experience as offline, maintaining engagement and trust.

Recognizing the need for a more sustainable solution, our customer suggested setting up a dedicated landing page. This page played a dual role: it provided users with a still image from the deepfake content to share immediately, maintaining engagement, and it offered a dedicated link for users to return and access the full deepfake video at their convenience. This not only enhanced user experience but also effectively managed the load on the API.

Additionally, we implemented several minor but impactful fixes and optimizations. These included enhancing the efficiency of the API calls, optimizing the serverless functions for better performance under high load, and integrating additional infrastructure to support the increased demand. Our goal was to ensure that every fan of League of Legends received the personalized experience they expected, without compromising on quality or performance.


This campaign was not just a triumph in digital marketing; it was a testament to the power of strategic foresight, technical agility, and collaborative innovation. Our journey through this high-demand, serverless environment underlined the importance of being prepared for the unexpected and the value of swift, user-focused solutions.

At FlowFactor, we take pride in our ability to navigate complex digital landscapes and deliver seamless experiences, regardless of the challenges. Our expertise in managing serverless architectures, integrating external APIs, and ensuring high availability under peak loads stands as a testament to our commitment to excellence.

Are you embarking on a digital marketing journey and need a partner who can adapt, innovate, and deliver under pressure? Look no further. FlowFactor is here to transform your challenges into successes. Let’s discuss how we can make your next campaign not just successful, but remarkable. Contact us today, and let’s create digital experiences that resonate and engage.

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