Facebook Launches Atlas: What it means for online retailers

On Monday, September 29, Facebook announced the launch of their new marketing platform Atlas. Purchased from Microsoft last year with a reported price tag around $100 million, Facebook rebuilt Atlas from the ground up to tackle increasingly common marketing challenges while providing an alternative to Google’s AdWords. The release of Atlas, however, is completely distinct from Facebook’s earlier released Audience Network, a mobile advertising app.

So, what is Atlas and how can it help you?

Atlas is looking to bridge the gap between old and new school advertising by addressing the limitation of online cookies which:

  • Don’t work on mobile devices

  • Provide increasingly less accurate demographic information about users

  • Can’t accurately measure the purchase funnel across browsers, devices and offline purchases.

A complete overhaul and redesign of the existing Atlas system aided Facebook in their mission. The new Atlas has an entirely new code base with targeting and measurement capabilities. It even offers better optimization decisions so advertisers can spend their money in a wiser way.

The new platform is coming out with a bang too. A partnership with Omnicom has already developed in an effort to develop integrations for Omnicom clients (think Pepsi Co.). Instagram has also signed on as a publisher and can be enabled with Atlas to measure and verify ad impressions. There’s even talk of Twitter joining in with Facebook reps saying it “remains a possibility.”

This is big news for online retailers. Atlas provides a new advertising option with new techniques so you don’t have to depend on Google anymore. The platform will always share more in-depth information about each consumer using the details found on Facebook profiles, something Google can’t even begin to compete with. Careful though! Not all consumers will be thrilled by the idea of advertisements following them even closer than they were before.

Use cases we expect to see from this new platform:

  • Look-alike modeling based on Facebooks data. Example: Facebook customers who order from your store typically look like this so show ads to similar customers.

  • Publisher level targeting segmented by demographic data. Example: CNN readers who are Females between ages 25-35.

  • Publisher level targeting segmented by “like” activity. Example: CNN readers who are also fans of Nike, Under Armour, or Adidas

  • Strategic partnerships with shopping sites like Pinterest, Wanelo, Polyvore, etc.  Example: Pinterest users who have pinned “fire pits” and who have also “liked” Lowes or Home Depot.

It’s often been said that when customers are on Facebook, it’s like trying to get them to buy something while they’re at a party.  Now that Facebook has opened up their data and give the option to serve ads on non-Facebook sites you’ll be able to target customers when they’re in the mood to actually purchase products.  For example, customers on RetailMeNot who have liked you in the past.  You know they’re shopping because they’re looking for discounts and you know they’ve “liked” you before - so why not try to win them back again?

To find out more about Atlas check out the solutions website.

Will you give Facebook’s Atlas a try?