Marketers will have a reason to celebrate when Facebook starts to roll out the Atlas ad concept this week, paving the way for what the social networking giant expects to be a transformation of ad targeting and measurement.
Facebook promises advertisers that Atlas would not be another run-of-the-mill ad server, but a top-of-the-line offering for marketing purposes. Whether that holds some grain of truth is something we’ll have to find out in the next couple of days.
But as Atlas looks promising to advertisers, Facebook users should begin to worry about what this massive ad network can actually do with a treasure trove of their data. And we are talking about big data.
Facebook intends for Atlas to help marketers measure their reach across the Web using what the company calls the people-based marketing approach. Using this concept, marketers can identify which ad a specific user views.
The traditional method used at present by advertisers to serve ads to potential clients via desktop is the dropping of cookies, codes that tell them which ads users have seen. But at times marketers encounter issues with cookies because they present less reliable measurement data, thus providing an inadequate view of what ads consumers actually viewed all throughout their Web interactions.
In order to address this issue, Atlas aims to connect the account of Facebook users to their ad interactions, both on mobile devices and desktop computers. This means Facebook will keep track of your every online activity no matter which platform you are on.
Specifically, Atlas will monitor every ad you see, interact with and click on, and the ad server will link that data back to your profile.
In an age when mobility is increasingly becoming the norm among Internet users, Atlas could usher in a favorable opportunity for marketers who wish to serve ads to mobile users. Since cookies are ineffective in smartphones and tablets, as they are designed primarily for desktop, marketers will have difficulty measuring their reach in those platforms. With Facebook Atlas, there will be a massive tracking of users online, on every device.
Atlas can also link the online advertising to the offline sales of marketers since it monitors people in this case, and no longer cookies. This way, marketers will know better which of their ads actually reached a certain user in the course of online interaction, and understand which marketing strategy actually worked.
Facebook said it also plans to bring Atlas to in-app, desktop, email, search, social and video advertising.