Facebook recently purchased the Atlas Advertiser Suite, a third party tracking system that allows users to drop cookies on customers through redirect URLs, thus allowing them to track behavior on anyone who clicks on their ads.
Atlas has been outdated for some time, although many advertisers continue to use the platform because they have invested so much in building cookie pools within it. Having attempted to use Atlas for large scale campaigns across search, display and social media myself, I can tell you that Facebook engineers have their work ahead of them to update the platform as they propose to do (). Having raised capital in its IPO, however, Facebook’s newly acquired obligation to appease shareholders may bring the motivation needed to take Atlas and Facebook to the next level.
Mashable recently posted an article explaining how Facebook is beginning to pitch advertisers on their ability to leverage Datalogix data to match up customers to their purchase history and allow advertisers to target them. This, in combination with Atlas tagging and Nielson data, is setting the stage to make Facebook a major player in advertising. This shift towards Google’s advertising revenue model will set the stage for serious competition for digital ad spend.
As it stands today, Google has established itself as a standard for the digital marketer. A Google AdWords campaign should be a first stop for any online advertiser today; however, Facebook may be in a position to challenge this through more advanced targeting options and the conversion tracking benefits that Google has introduced to the broad advertising population.
With advanced targeting, comes the creepy factor. Will privacy concerns of Facebook users grow enough to make a difference? It is hard to know but get used to seeing complaints similar to the one in this twitter user’s reply to Mashable’s post above:
At the end of the day, Facebook has a long way to go. Their advertising teams have a heavy focus on the large advertiser and make it difficult for small businesses with modest budgets to leverage the majority of advanced targeting and tracking options that are available. Google has done a great job of enabling and empowering small businesses across the world with advanced advertising capabilities. Until Facebook adjusts its support and help center to enable this broader base of individual advertisers and modest sized agencies, they will have a hard time being serious competition for Google.