Everybody in the ad business watches what clever moves Google, Twitter and Facebook make to entice advertisers as much as most consumers who know about it probably loathe the same news.
It is at least generally true that most people don’t like to be followed, in real life or in person, and it is generally true that on the Internet that’s pretty much what the game is all about.
Today, Facebook is introducing its new and improved Atlas platform, which it says will allow advertisers to track its ads across the Internet, even on non-Facebook sites, and will also also help advertisers buy those ads -- and make it all that much better by letting advertisers use Facebook data to arrive at their decisions.
That’s quite a powerful platform -- in theory at least, and with the re-launch today -- it will partner with Omnicom and a couple of its clients, Pepsi and Intel.
Erik Johnson, head of Atlas, wrote today on the company blog that “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.” And make no mistake about it -- angling for mobile advertisers is a lot of what's behind this. Facebook derives billions in ad revenue from mobile users.
But Facebook’s Atlas platform, Johnson writes, has a new code base that makes it easier to evaluate media performance “centered on people” -- which is a way of saying it can follow you around and report and analyze just what you’re up to once you leave your yammering pals on Facebook.
Atlas won’t be following by name, of course. That would just be creepy and we can’t expect something like that for perhaps another decade -- because that’s how long it will take before we all realize that would make advertising really, really efficient.
For now, getting lots of information about millions of kind of faceless Facebook users might be just as good as getting ad dollars coming back Facebook’s way.
Cnet gave a good prediction of what Facebook hoped to accomplish with Atlas when it acquired it from Microsoft last year.
“Facebook is already plugged into tons of Web sites through Facebook Connect, and each time people share or "like" an item on a site, Facebook's data trove gets a little bigger,” wrote Jay Greene and Paul Sloan. “Facebook can connect that data with the information from within Facebook -- the social graph -- to create a social ad network that is potentially more effective than Google's AdSense.”firstname.lastname@example.org