5 Takes on Facebook’s New Ad Platform

By Patrick Coffee 

The Zuck

One of the biggest announcements at this year’s Advertising Week concerned Facebook and the “relaunch” of its advertising platform, Atlas.

Whether we want to admit it or not, Facebook plays a huge role in determining which ads audiences see — and this move is its attempt to knock Google off the online ad throne. The idea is that Facebook can more effectively show the ads you make and place to people who actually want to watch them…but you knew that already.


We asked five contacts in the ad/marketing industries for their takes on this development.

First, two voices from the (digital) agency world.

David Berkowitz, CMO at MRY:

“This is Facebook’s moment to shine. As far as marketers go, Facebook has already fully transitioned from a social network where success means creating content that people shared to a major media property where success means getting a lot of impressions and interactions per dollar spent.

Facebook now wants to prove that it is the most effective media property to achieve marketers’ goals online and offline – a far loftier standard. The best outcome for marketers will be an even fiercer arms race between Facebook and Google (with others keeping them honest) to finally answer John Wanamaker’s complaint that he didn’t know which half of his advertising was wasted.”

CEO Ernie Capobianco of Portland’s Sq1:

“Facebook’s relaunch of Atlas is going to be a game changer when it comes to mobile display retargeting and reaching users across devices. Advertisers have long struggled with mobile retargeting precisely because cookies do not work in mobile or across browsers, and Atlas will enable unprecedented targeting capabilities in this regard. Despite concerns about privacy by some, most Facebook users will not even notice unless a big deal is made about it by major media outlets.

While the natural result of this release is more budgets allocated to Facebook advertising, the biggest challenge for Internet marketers will be figuring out how to integrate this new ecosystem of ad delivery into existing cross-channel attribution models. How well Atlas plays with other third-party tracking platforms, like DoubleClick, will determine the degree to which Facebook remains a silo in marketing mixes or becomes a key part of truly integrated media strategies.”

Adam Miller, social media specialist at Walker Sands Communications:

“Facebook’s relaunch of Atlas stresses the importance of tying digital marketing efforts and social media marketing together by restoring an old Microsoft initiative after acquiring it 16 months ago. The relaunch was meant to help marketers serve ads based on demographics rather than cookies. As consumers use a variety of devices to surf the internet and learn about different companies, Atlas gives agencies with integrated marketing programs the opportunity to better target their audience without the limits of cookies.

As a result, advertisers will better be able to track long-winded conversions while gathering information about who is converting and how they are doing it. The route to converting customers no longer goes from the website to a buy button or a download page. They are now looking at reviews, engaging on social media and viewing brand marketing collateral across many devices — so tracking customers’ journeys is more complicated. By tracking social profiles instead of cookies, brands will be able to better understand the path to completing that conversion.”

IZEA COO Ryan Schram:

“While the mobile aspects of Atlas are interesting and play to the strengths of Facebook’s user base, the reality is that Google is years ahead of them on buy-side display. This seems like another “me too” play to round out Facebook’s offerings and an attempt to combat the criticism from analysts that the segmentation and targeting data from the platform is still too myopic.

That said, none of this challenges the decreased likelihood of consumers engaging with the display units themselves. While targeting has gotten better and better over the last few years, the CTR’s continue to plummet. There is a better chance you will win the lottery than there is that you’ll intentionally click on a banner ad. That’s a real problem that remains unaddressed by Facebook and Google alike.”

Shawn Hur, acquisition marketing lead at Survata:

“With this release, Facebook seems to imply that they can track how users engage with ads across different platforms. Marketers want to see where our prospects are and what they’re doing, and this development could be a step away from channel-oriented marketing toward more activity-oriented strategies. People will see more useful ads, and marketers will get a fuller picture of their users.”

So does the relaunch mark another step in the victory of data over good work, or is it just a more effective way to make sure people actually see the campaigns that creative agencies produce?