Facebook has announced that they will be rolling out new changes to Atlas, and reintroducing it with a new focus. According to their press release, this new focus will be on “people based marketing”, as multi-device advertising becomes harder thanks to the falling popularity of cookies.
The social network is not new to marketing by a long shot. Their platform is one of the biggest for advertisers, especially big ones that have a rather wide gaping leg up on smaller advertisers who have to maintain a smaller budget.
Because of this, corporations have been begging Facebook for years to come up with a full on marketing network. This hasn’t exactly happened, but for the first time the platform is coming up with something a bit similar.
The biggest feature of Atlas, which Facebook bought last year from Microsoft and did little with until now, is that it allows people to buy ads through the platform, but which Facebook doesn’t actually own the rights to. The second biggest feature is that buying through Facebook allows marketers to track the effectiveness and gather more data than before from these ads, as they are connected to professional social accounts.
Ask any marketer, and this is a big deal. Cookies have been failing in recent years, as more people turn to mobile devices. Which means a tried and true standard for analytics has been compromised, and is leaving many scrambling to find an alternative. There have been plenty introduced, but this puts them all in one place while allowing a campaign to be launched on both a traditional ad, and social ad, track.
One other interesting fact about Atlas is that it is designed to track “people”, not cookies. So it could potentially have an application for tracking offline sales, which would then be filtered as anonymous data along with other buying habits taken from your Facebook (and Instagram) profiles.
Already, some concerns about privacy have been raised. But this isn’t that much different than what we already see. Targeted ads are promoted on Facebook, or on other webpages thanks to cookies, all the time.
Besides, if you have a social media account, your data is being sold. It doesn’t matter if it is Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. Most of us have at least one (often more) of those, as well as Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, ect.
Speaking of Twitter, rumor has it that they might be partnering up with Facebook on this particular project. Given the fact that Omnicom is already signed up to start creating ads through Atlas, that seems likely.