Until recently, one of the biggest frustrations with Facebook advertising has been the inability for advertisers to effectively measure the ROI of advertising campaigns. In fact, brands have been crying out for data to help them measure campaigns and justify their ad spend for years.
Advertisers are excited about the potential of Atlas, as it opens up two new and extremely powerful capabilities for digital advertisers: a solution to the ‘cookie’ problem; and the ability to target consumers on mobile devices.
Let’s look at these two possibilities in a little more detail:
The cookie problem
Before Atlas, advertisers tracked the performance of their online ads by dropping cookies on users’ computers. The problem with cookies is that they are often inaccurate, unreliable – (on average, cookies have a 59% tracking success rate) and they don't work effectively on smartphones and tablets, so it has been hard for advertisers to measure their effectiveness.
As the Internet continues to shift to mobile, cookies fail to connect users across devices and do nothing to solve the challenge of mobile conversion tracking.
How does Atlas fix the cookie problem?
Atlas makes it easier for advertisers to measure which ads have been displayed to specific users. Because it tracks people, rather than relying on cookies, it can follow users around the web and help advertisers track the relationship between users’ online ads and offline sales.
For example, if a user volunteers their email address at a retail checkout and the retailer partners with Facebook, the social network will connect the user's email address to its Facebook account. This way, Facebook could inform the retailer if, when, and where the consumer saw its ads across the Web.
However, the biggest impact of Atlas may be seen in mobile advertising. Today, people spend more time on mobile than on desktop, but marketers haven’t historically spent their ad budgets there, as they know that cookies don't work. Atlas could finally offer marketers an effective way to spend more money on mobile.
The ‘people based’ marketing approach of tying ad data to Facebook members’ profiles fixes the issue of measurement, and enables tracking across a wide range of devices.
An advertiser using Atlas might now be able to understand that a customer purchased a product on a desktop computer, but first saw an ad for it on their smartphone device, for example. That’s a problem various online ad startups have been attempting to fix for years with limited success.