2013 01 03 mindshare digital pov facebook to acquire atlas pov
Acquisition by Christopher March 1st , 2013 Facebook of Doyle ATLAS from MicrosoftDetailsFacebook has confirmed that it has entered an agreement with Microsoft to purchase Atlas, the digital adserver and measurement solution. Although the financial details haven’t been disclosed, the acquisitionsays a lot about the digital fortunes of both Facebook and Microsoft; the latter limiting its ambitions inselling online advertising, whilst the former is using its considerable clout - one billion users and counting -to become a hub for advertising. Amidst murmurings that Atlas’s direction was waning under Microsoftsstewardship, the purchase is certainly exciting news for advertisers.With Facebook’s eagerness to discover innovative ways of monetising its service and turning a profit for itsshareholders - something thats proved particularly challenging in the face of stiff competition from Google- the worlds largest social network will now be hopeful of proving its value to brand marketers. Atlas willenable Facebook to show advertisers how well its ads drive sales or help to achieve other marketingtargets.ImplicationsPart of Atlass appeal is the ability of its Advertiser Suites to decide which ads should be displayed to whichinternet user. However, its major selling point is the proprietary data that tracks media attribution foronline purchases, detailing how ads have influenced and encouraged transactions. If somebody buys anew coffee machine, for example, Atlas will show marketers if the same customer was exposed to any ofthe brand’s online ads in the days leading to the purchase. In addition, Facebook will be able to trackfurther touchpoints in the consumer journey by combining Atlas’s existing features with the capabilities ofNielsen and Datalogix.Brian Boland, Facebooks director of monetisation product marketing, said Atlass acquisition is driven by adesire to achieve a "holistic view" of campaign performance, allowing marketers and agencies "to do amuch better job of making sure the right messages get in front of the right people at the right time".Facebook plans to invest in Atlass capabilities by scaling its back-end measurement systems andupgrading the current suite of advertiser tools on both desktop and mobile, while user interface andfunctionality will also be improved.SummaryWhile good news for Facebook and its marketing potential, Microsofts sale of Atlas is continued falloutfrom the companys disastrous $6 billion purchase in 2007 of Atlas’ former parent company, aQuantiveInc. At the time, Microsoft believed the purchase would position it as a leader within the digital advertisingsphere.In reality though, the value of Microsofts digital advertising business continued to fall, while someadvertisers have argued that the company has allowed Atlas to drift. Rather than brokering ads across theinternet - a la Google - Microsoft has cut its losses and will instead focus on selling advertising on its ownplatforms and products.Facebook’s acquisition of Atlas should result in a significant increase in the sophistication of ad campaignanalytics, giving brands a more complete view of how their Facebook advertising spend is performing. Forbrand marketers, the enhanced attribution and ROI features Atlas will provide for Facebook campaigns willenable them to justify shifting more advertising dollars to the social network.