Facebook Nixes Demand-Side Platform For Atlas

Facebook is walking back plans to build a demand-side platform into Atlas, the social giant said Monday. It had been testing an automated buying platform within its ad server and measurement platform since last year.

What went wrong?

“We were able to deliver ads to real people with unprecedented accuracy, but came up against many bad ads and fraud (like bots),” Dave Jakubowski, head of ad technology at Facebook, notes in a new blog post.

“While we were fortunately able to root out the bad actors and only buy quality ads, we were amazed by the volume of valueless inventory,” according to Jakubowski.

In trials, Jakubowski and his team also discovered that native and video ads were the only two formats that delivered sufficient value. As a result, they removed over 75% of the volume coming from the exchange by turning off publishers circulating bad inventory into its LiveRail unit.

“We knew that in good conscience, we couldn’t sell what Atlas and our people-based measurement told us was valueless,” Jakubowski conceded. “Unfortunately, those ads were almost certainly dumped into another low-quality exchange where all of them were most likely purchased.”

The move follows Facebook’s decision to shut down the ad-server portion of LiveRail, in January. At the time, the company said it would continue to focus on LiveRail’s automated sales of publishers’ in-app mobile video sales and native display ads.

Going forward, Facebook plans to focus on native and video, in addition to mobile.

Under the Atlas banner, Facebook is also rolling out Offline Actions -- a new measurement tool that ties offline sales to online ad spend.

Advertisers that measure their ads with Atlas can now upload their point-of-sale (POS) data, and confirm whether or not their online ads are influencing offline purchases in near real-time.

The company is working with advertisers on Path to Conversion -- by device reporting -- to provide insight into all the ways that real people see ads across multiple devices before making a conversion. The offering does not rely on cookie-based reporting, which Facebook counts as its key differentiator.

Atlas is also rolling out Video Ad Serving this week. The new service should be broadly available by March, Jakubowski said on Monday.

3 comments about "Facebook Nixes Demand-Side Platform For Atlas".
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  1. Ari Rosenberg from Performance Pricing Holdings, LLC, March 8, 2016 at 7:19 a.m.

    Brilliant move / press release by FB -- the underlying message -- while other "publishers" sell their inventory on exchanges in return for shitty ads and invite bot/fraud related activities, FB will not play that game -- so come buy ads from us directly the water is safe.

  2. Seth Ulinski from Independent Analyst and Consultant, March 8, 2016 at 9:41 a.m.

    Interesting development. However as I read it Atlas plugged into only plugged into a single inventory aggregator (operated by Facebook), not all of the other major marketplaces like Rubicon, OpenX, and AdX which carry their own anti-fraud systems. No doubt there are bad actors in the ecosystem, which is why semi-private and programmatic-direct tactics are gaining in popularity...but one inventory pool does not represent the space.

  3. Chris Carter from AAM, March 9, 2016 at 1:19 p.m.

    Ari is right, Facebook is the only one accredited, none of the others are.

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