Atlas, Re-Launched by Facebook

Atlas is about people. Marketing is about people.

Facebook is about people, too. And the newly re-launched Atlas by Facebook is about helping marketers reach people wherever they exist in the digital world. The ad serving platform was acquired by Facebook (from Microsoft) in 2013.

The social media giant has spent the last eighteen months redefining the future of Atlas, improving its user interface and marketing tools, with the goal of making it the “the most effective, intuitive, and powerful ad serving and measurement business in the industry,” or so said Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg at the time of acquisition.

“People spend more time on more devices than ever before,” wrote Erik Johnson, Head of Atlas by Facebook. “This shift in consumer behavior has had a profound impact on a consumer’s path to purchase, both online and in stores. Today’s technology for ad serving and measurement — cookies — are flawed when used alone. 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. People based marketing solves these problems.”

Atlas, Revisited

Facebook rebuilt Atlas from the ground up — on the concept of people-based marketing — and an all-encompassing ad suite defined by data gathered from real people will provide marketers everywhere the power to reach those real people, outside of Facebook and across multiple devices.

High-level tracking capabilities eliminate outdated cookie-tracking technologies, and implement “people-based” (You’ll see, Atlas really is about people.) tracking via unique Facebook IDs that equip advertisers with better, more accurate demographic and frequency data. In an even bigger leap forward, Atlas allows for offline-to-offline tracking. What does that mean? Consumers’ in-store purchase information — email addresses, zip codes, et cetera — is compared to users who might have seen relevant ads online, which allows marketers to track a path from online impression to brick-and-mortar investment.

Improved ad messaging let marketers and advertisers compose specific messages based on specific interests, activity, demographics, and preferences, ensuring that only relevant ads are displayed. This type of customized messaging will follow users across the Web, and beyond the land of Facebook.

Atlas by Facebook has also taken care to ensure that privacy standards are maintained — an especially important success factor in the age of stolen identities, and stolen photos. No individuals’ names will be divulged; all users will remain entirely anonymous, and no information will be shared that has not been shared in days past.

Atlas, Looking Forward

It is the hope of Facebook and its partners — of which Instagram is, unsurprisingly, one of the first — to “make your media budget more effective.” Capitalizing on the growth potential for small business owners, the Atlas platform simplifies the client experience, allowing advertisers to “see a more complete view of the effectiveness of their campaigns.”

Re-launched just last week, to say the program is still in its infancy is an understatement. Atlas hasn’t, and likely won’t release names of all of its partners in this endeavor, but it’s clear that Facebook is transcending traditional digital advertising channels.