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Facebook Shuts Atlas Down -- What's Next?

It finally happened. Facebook on Friday shuttered its Atlas ad server, a long-anticipated move that took a while to become official. The ad-serving function will be phased out over the next few months but it appears that Facebook will use what's left of Atlas as a measurement offering. Lately, Facebook has come under scrutiny for measurement issues.

Facebook seems to be putting all its eggs in the Facebook Audience Network (FAN) basket. FAN is Facebook’s ad network, and it’s starting to look like a giant walled garden.  The premise behind FAN is that it enables advertisers to extend their campaigns beyond Facebook to reach audiences on mobile apps, mobile websites, Instant Articles, and videos.

On the ad tech front, Facebook appears to have moved in fits and starts. It was supposed to build a demand-side platform for Atlas earlier this year, but didn’t. Then Facebook closed LiveRail, its video supply-side platform, this spring. It shuttered FBX, its retargeting solution, earlier this month.

So what’s left in ad tech for Facbook? Not that much. It doesn’t seem to want to be a player in the cluttered space apart from FAN, which appears to be doing just fine, thank you. Facebook reported a $1 billion run rate for FAN earlier this year.

So does Facebook want to embellish its ad tech stack beyond FAN? And if so, with what components and features?  We'll have to wait and see.

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