Facebook Just Took on Advertising’s Great Challenge: End-to-End Attribution

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Facebook recently relaunched Atlas, their ad-serving and measurement solution. As new channels are introduced and digital advertising becomes more complex, advertisers want the ability to holistically examine campaigns across digital and into the offline environment. With the introduction of Atlas, Facebook has harnessed their existing data in order to provide marketers with a premier end-to-end measurement system wherever their customers are – across devices, channels, and offline.

Why does it matter? Atlas promises a greater understanding of customer behavior across channels, and makes it actionable. For advertisers, this is a holistic measurement and attribution system which will allow them to take learnings across channels and use them to formulate new, adaptive campaign strategies to efficiently reach the right users at the right time to maximize ROAS.

Mobile-First Cross-Device Attribution

Users and customers increasingly spend more time on mobile. In order to keep pace with changing trends in customer behavior, marketers need new tools to understand the mobile behavior of their customer base and understand how it fits into their existing performance across other channels, informing their overall campaign strategies.

Facebook recently introduced a feature which allows marketers to track conversion across devices. For example, if a customer saw an ad on mobile, but later converted on desktop, Facebook can use the SDK to identify that unique customer and tie the conversion back to the original ad.

Historically, user behavior on the internet was tracked by cookies. With Atlas, advertisers have the ability to view attribution across devices because Facebook can combine web-based tracking methodologies, such as cookies and pixels, with in-app tracking on mobile and tablets via the Facebook SDK. For advertisers, this supplies a more complete picture of how customers are interacting with their ads on all their devices and allows them to build campaign strategy that fits the behavior of their customer base.

Online to Offline Insights

For offline or bricks-and-mortar retailers, attributing offline and in-store conversions back to digital advertising has always been difficult. With Atlas, Facebook has introduced a solution that covers the full conversion funnel, allowing advertisers to connect in-store, offline purchases with the audiences who engaged with their online advertising. For retailers with significant offline sales, Atlas provides the tools to devise advertising campaigns online that can produce attributable, measurable offline results.

Targeting Linked to Unique User Identity

Facebook has one of the most sophisticated user data sets on the planet, predicated on a user base that utilizes their authentic identity on the platform. Coupled with Facebook Connect in apps and on the web, Atlas allows advertisers to understand the behavior of their customers outside just Facebook-owned properties. In aggregate, this data allows Atlas to provide a deeper level of understanding of user behavior than the historical industry incumbents.

Ad Serving Capabilities

The historical incumbent in the online ad serving space is Google, with their DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM), which allows for the centralized serving and tracking of clicks and impressions across traditional display channels and native advertising platforms such as Facebook. Atlas changes the game because it allows advertisers to utilize the deep bench of Facebook native customized targeting to centrally manage campaigns by providing audience-specific insights about ad placement across web and mobile platforms. It provides a full tagging solution with integrated reporting and measurement, to ensure that marketers can view customer activity as it happens, providing real-time insight into which ads are driving customer actions, conversions, and sales.

Adaptive Technology Suite

Atlas offers an API, which allows marketers to utilize technology partners, such as sPMDs, to integrate Atlas’s services and product suite into their own wholly-owned management systems. Like Facebook’s Ads API, the Atlas API allows sophisticated advertisers the additional flexibility to launch, manage, and optimize campaigns in real-time.

As advertisers continue to use the new Atlas and fully utilize its evolving capabilities, the ultimate question will be whether this will become the new incumbent ad-serving, management, and measurement platform across channels – or whether it is better utilized as an additional tool in a sophisticated multi-channel marketer’s arsenal.

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