On September 29th, Facebook unleashed a new marketing weapon to the world’s advertisers that will change the way advertisers target customers. Omnicom, global advertising group for companies like Pepsi and Intel, will be the first agency group to have access to this all-new ad-serving and measurement tool. This new tool in advertisers’ arsenals will replace cookies, give advertisers wider and more accurate access to the mobile market and will create “people-based marketing,” as David Jakubowski calls it in an interview with the New York Times. Facebook Atlas will also give marketers the ability to link offline purchases to their online presence, which is a pretty mind-blowing concept. Fat Guy Media will explore how Facebook’s retooled Atlas will take the place of cookies, what people-based marketing will entail and how Facebook Atlas will change the mobile marketing game.
No more cookies
Cookies (should really be called breadcrumbs because that’s how they’re used) are dropped in a user’s computer from a website server as they access a website. The cookie stores the activity of the user on the site, and if the user revisits the website, its server will know what site elements the user has interacted with in the past. For advertisers, this is a way to tailor ads to target specific people online. So why the move to upgrade from cookies? First, cookies do not work very well on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. As the mobile market increases and mobile user-ship surpasses desktop internet usage, there has to be a way to better advertise to these users. Using cookies to gather information about users is also inaccurate and involves a lot of guess work. With cookies, they try and decipher a pattern in web browsing to create a picture of the user. If a user is on sports sites or searches for men’s clothing, the cookies paint a picture of the gender and approximate age of the user—you know what they say about when you assume… Cookies can’t easily or accurately measure the customer purchase funnel across browsers and devices or in the offline world. Cookies give an incomplete view of the ads consumers are exposed to. Instead of servers putting cookies into users’ computers, Facebook Atlas will be using what Facebook is dubbing “people-based marketing.”
With Facebook Atlas, marketers will be given the ability to use Facebook to measure which ads have been displayed to certain users, and then directly link that information to a user’s profile. Facebook Atlas will follow user account interactions on Facebook as well as on third party sites. This gives advertisers a better picture of what users see, how they interact with and act upon ads, and will link it all back to the user’s profile, no matter the device. The ads you are looking at on your tablet or phone are linked to your profile from those devices and combined with what you are interacting with on your computer, giving marketers a more accurate, fuller picture.
Tying Online Presence to Offline Actions
Before, we mentioned the link between online ad impressions and offline purchasing action. The first time I read that, I was really confused, but research (as it usually does) simplified the concept and gave me some clarity. So, say you go to a store, and after making your purchase, you sign up for the mailing list or a store card, and in doing so you provide an email address or phone number. A company using Facebook Atlas will take that information and try to match that data with a profile on Facebook through a process called “hashing.” The company can then use Facebook Atlas to see if there was an ad that you viewed that may have brought you to the store or something along those lines. This gives the company a better idea of what’s working and what’s driving traffic through their doors. Imagine the possibilities.