4 Takes on Facebook’s ‘New’ Paid Media Platform

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This year’s Advertising Week has already involved plenty of high-profile speakers and events that we were unable to attend. But one of the biggest announcements concerned Facebook and the relaunch of its cookie-free paid content placement platform, Atlas.

This doesn’t just concern ad agencies — it’s a big deal to anyone working in paid media. In short, it will supposedly help marketers better prove the ROI of their clients’ social media investments.

We asked our contacts in the marketing world for their takes on what the new development means to the marketing industry at large.

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. Facebook is 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’ journey is more complicated. By tracking social profiles instead of cookies, brands will better be able to understand the path to completing that conversion.”

Eric Dahan, CEO of Instabrand:

“The largest challenge of influencer marketing is attribution, especially when it comes to mobile social platforms (ie: Instagram, Vine, Snapchat). For example, when an influencer is talking about a new product, most people immediately don’t click on the provided link or follow the (often annoying) call to action proposed by the influencer. Often times, that person searches the product from their computer, becomes more likely to click on a sponsored link or goes to the site directly. With Atlas, we can now track a users behavior to better attribute what’s and in our case who is affecting their purchasing decision, rather than having to rely on nebulous statistic correlation models.

This is a huge step in tracking how influence flows throughout the digital social ecosystem, clarifying the effectiveness of all the variables that affect our actions. On the influencer side, this will lead to assigning a true value on influencers actual influence over their audience, allowing a brand to assign a dollar amount to an influencer’s audience regardless of the number of followers and engagement of a particular influencer.”

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.”

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.”

What do we think? How will Atlas affect our future paid social media efforts?