Sunday, October 5, 2014

Facebook Ads Will Now Follow You No Matter What Device You’re Using

Facebook's long-awaited Google
AdSense competitor is finally here. It's called Atlas, and it will
allow brands to use the social network's massive trove of data
to target ads on sites across the web. 1

Facebook announced the news late Sunday night to coincide with the
start of Advertising Week in New York City. For other brands hoping to
make headlines at Advertising Week,
Facebook's news will be a tough act to follow. Investors and the media
have been waiting for an
announcement like this for years.

In January, Facebook took its first steps in this direction launching
a network that could serve up
ads within mobile apps. But the launch of Atlas symbolizes a
deeper commitment to controlling the web's ads—and an even fiercer
fight with Google for that control.
Atlas is not a new platform, perse.

Facebook acquired the
product from Microsoft last year.
But according to a blog post from Erik Johnson, head of Atlas, the
team has rebuilt the platform
"from the ground up" in the hopes of making it easier for
advertisers to follow a consumer, regardless of what type of device
she's using.

In an apparent dig at Google, Johnson writes that the method
advertisers have traditionally
used to track consumers— cookies—is flawed, because consumers are no
longer using
one device at all times. "Cookies
don't work on mobile, are becoming less accurate in demographic
targeting and can't
easily or accurately measure the customer purchase funnel across
browsers and devices or into the
offline world," Johnson writes.

He offers "people-based marketing," that is, marketing
based on Facebook's data, as the solution. It can not only track
users between devices, but it can
also connect online campaigns to offline sales to determine how
effective a given campaign really was.
In the announcement, Facebook said it had already signed a
contract with Omnicom to begin
serving advertisements for
brands like Pepsi and Intel.
Instagram, which of course, is owned by Facebook, is also
enabled with Atlas.

The company noted in its announcement that
advertisers who buy ads on Facebook, Atlas, and Instagram
will be able to easily compare the results.
It's worth noting that even Google has been interested in this
people-centric strategy. That was likely the thinking behind the
launch of Google+, Google's
own social network. If Google+ had been a true success the
personal data it offered would have bolstered Google's search data to
perfect its ads. But, Google+ wasn't the hit Google
had hoped for, primarily because
it felt like an also-ran candidate to Facebook.

Facebook is different; it's already some hybrid of social network and
advertising platform. With Atlas, Facebook stands a much better chance
of beating Google at its own game.
Of course, this new advertising initiative is not likely to please
any of Facebook's already privacy
conscious users.

Backlash against Facebook's existing data collection policies is what has
been recently fueling the growth of Ello, a Facebook competitor
that vows never to sell user data.
The more partners Facebook has within its ad network, the more data it
will have at its fingertips.


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