As had been widely rumoured, Facebook is buying the Atlas Advertiser Suite from Microsoft. Atlas specialises in campaign management and measurement for marketers and agencies. Using the Atlas platform, combined with Nielsen and Datalogix, will enable advertisers to close the loop and compare their Facebook campaigns to their ad spend across the web, on desktop and mobile. Microsoft originally picked up Atlas through the $6.2bn (£4.1bn) acquisition of its parent company, aQuantive, in 2007.
There had been much speculation that Facebook wanted Atlas in order to launch an ad network, but a Facebook post explaining the reasons for the acquisition suggests it is more around tracking an analysis. The posts references the increasing complexity of today's multichannel marketing environment, but notes also that this is both a challenge and an opportunity, since, if marketers and agencies can get a holistic view of campaign performance, they will be able to do a much better job of making sure the right messages get in front of the right people at the right time. This is what Atlas aims to deliver. There is logic in the acquisition too, the post suggests, in the fact that many of Facebook’s advertisers use and are familiar with Atlas.
The post adds that Facebook plans to improve Atlas's capabilities by investing in scaling its back-end measurement systems and enhancing its current suite of advertiser tools on desktop and mobile. Facebook says it will also work to improve the user interface and functionality, with the goal of making Atlas the most effective, intuitive, and powerful ad serving, management and measurement platform in the industry. The Atlas team is based in Seattle and will continue to operate from there.