The power of Atlas
Facebook's massive trove of user data is coming to websites, mobile apps and offline stores near you. This week they announced the re-launch of Atlas, an ad server that they had purchased from Microsoft in early 2013 and apparently have been busy retrofitting to run on Facebook user data as a fuel source. Digiday provided an overview of what marketers need to know about how Atlas will work as it helps to place ads outside of Facebook's own properties.
The overriding theme coming from Facebook, emphasized in a speech from Sheryl Sandberg, is that Atlas will track people and not just cookies. Mobile devices running Facebook apps will have their hardware identifiers linked to their user's Facebook accounts. The next step, according to Facebook's Erik Johnson, is to tie activities from multiple devices to offline purchases as buyers participate in loyalty programs or have receipts emailed to them (or perhaps pay by app). The talking points regarding privacy center on the fact that Facebook data will be used to target ads but will not be passed along to outside businesses.
360i called Atlas a 'next era media targeting model' and listed some next steps for marketers. They also noted that competing systems might not be far behind. The RKG blog offered a technical comparison of Atlas and Google DoubleClick, showing that DoubleClick has a much larger network but also has to shoulder the burden of a pre-mobile cookie based legacy.