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Meet Facebook's Atlas: The platform for advertisers to track your movements

Facebook's revamped advertising platform, Atlas, allows marketers to track your patterns, preferences and purchase decisions across the Web.
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Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributor on
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Atlas, Facebook's advertising platform, is now open for business following an overhaul from the ground up.

First acquired from Microsoft last year by the social media giant, Atlas was reportedly in the middle of a revamp following Facebook's acquisition. However, it seems the platform has been completely rewritten for use on the social media website, according to a company blog post.

The company said Atlas has been rebuilt "from the ground up" to cater for today's marketing needs, such as "reaching people across devices and bridging the gap between online impressions and offline purchases."

"Atlas delivers people-based marketing, helping marketers reach real people across devices, platforms and publishers," Atlas says. "By doing this, marketers can easily solve the cross-device problem through targeting, serving and measuring across devices. And, Atlas can now connect online campaigns to actual offline sales, ultimately proving the real impact that digital campaigns have in driving incremental reach and new sales."

Advertisers often have to rely on cookies to track advert interactions, and as people spend more time than ever on their devices -- shopping, comparing and researching -- mobility had led to a shift in consumer behavior and purchase decisions. While 10 years ago you may have stayed local when shopping, for example, the Internet has led to increased competition and wider consumer choice.

The problem is closing the gap between devices and purchase decisions -- as cookies do not work well on mobile. As a result, demographics, data collection, advert targeting and measuring have all become less accurate than before. This leaves marketers at a disadvantage in a changing commercial world. 

In order to solve this issue, Facebook wants to use what Atlas calls "people-based marketing." According to reports, the social media giant will be able to use Atlas' new code base to 'anonymously' track individuals across a range of devices. As an example, a purchase made on a PC could be traced back to an ad impression from a smartphone or tablet.

In addition, adverts generated from Atlas partners can be tailored across other websites depending on the data Facebook has on a group of users -- such as age, sex and location. 

Atlas head Erik Johnson says:

"Atlas has been rebuilt on an entirely new code base, with a user interface designed for today’s busy media planners and traffickers. Targeting and measurement capabilities are built-in, and cross-device marketing is easy with new ways of evaluating media performance centered on people for reporting and measurement. This valuable data can lead to better optimization decisions to make your media budget even more effective."

The first company to sign up with Atlas is Omnicom. The company and Atlas will jointly develop integrative systems for Omnicom's clients, which include Intel and Pepsi, in order to test the new platform. Atlas says that other partners are swiftly coming on board, and Instagram -- as a publisher -- is now enabled with Atlas to both measure and verify ad impressions.

Read on: In the enterprise

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