Facebook's New Platform Taps User Data for Ads Across Web
Facebook announced Monday that it would be relaunching the Atlas advertising tool it acquired from Microsoft last year. The platform will allow advertisers to buy ads through Facebook, and serve them on Web sites, videos and apps that Facebook does not own. Advertising holding company Omnicom has said it plans to buy ads from Atlas.
The world's largest social network is expected to rake in 7.8 percent of Internet advertising this year, a significant increase over the 5.8 percent it earned the year before, but still significantly behind Google, which claimed 32 percent of the market.
Tracking Users on Their Phones
Facebook is promising that Atlas will fundamentally change the way marketers measure and target ad campaigns. According to the company, Atlas will allow marketers to see exactly which ads users have seen. Normally, advertisers track user activity by downloading bits of code known as "cookies" onto a users' Web browser. The cookies can report on which Web sites and which ads a user has viewed.
However, cookies are known to be unreliable, and provide only an incomplete picture of a user's Web activity. They do not work well on smartphone or other mobile devices, making it difficult for advertisers to see what a user is browsing when not using a laptop or desktop.
Facebook says Atlas will be able to track users across the Web much more closely, by linking the ads directly to their Facebook accounts. That way, Facebook will be able to track a user's entire browsing history, regardless of the device they use. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said she hopes the technology will spur advertisers to spend more money on mobile and digital advertising.
A marketer such as PepsiCo could use Atlas to identify potential customers for a new product based on their Facebook accounts. It would then be able to serve ads for the product to the users on third-party Web sites, apps, and in online videos. Facebook's user data will likely be particularly valuable to marketers thanks to the sheer volume of personal data it has about each member of the network. Atlas would potentially give advertisers access to information such as a users' age, gender, marital status, and level of education.
According to the company, tracking individuals rather than just following cookies on their computers could revolutionize online marketing. For example, a store might ask a customer for an e-mail address when making a purchase. If that e-mail address is associated with a Facebook account, the social network could then inform the retailer about the customers' browsing habits and where they saw the retailer's ads online.
Facebook said it would not disclose users identities to advertisers. Nevertheless, news that the company will be implementing even more powerful tracking technology could drive more users away. Facebook has recently seen increased competition from startup social networks like Ello, which has promoted itself as an alternative for users concerned about the way Facebook is using their private data. Ello has promised not sell users' personal information to advertisers.
Image credit: iStock/Artist's concept.
Posted: 2014-10-01 @ 9:55am PT
Hey! Your saying is true actually. Facebook has become a multi-billion corporation just by 'selling' likes. In Facebook, people can 'buy' likes. Facebook does not necessarily show the ads to related people and the advertisers have to pay per view. So if some people sell likes outside Facebook, it's Facebook's loss, so they seem to discourage it. My sugestion, buy likes outside too. Not so costly compared to your reputation gained after buying likes. I have been lately using www.BuyFacebookFans.co (don't mean to promote the site, just an example) and it's very safe, and privacy matters too. They are cheap too and easier then promoting from facebook.
Posted: 2014-09-29 @ 12:23pm PT
When will marketers understand that it is counterproductive to track users who do not want to be tracked? The more they track me, the more barriers I will raise. Cookies are so yesteryear. The more ads they will show me, the more aversion I will develop to their brands, products and services. If they want me to consider what they have to offer, it has to be competitive, not "stalkative."