Everyone has an opinion about data: some people support the aggregation of data for research, some people are so scared about the collection of personal data that they have sworn off the internet, and some people just like to talk about data.

In 2013, Facebook acquired Atlas from Microsoft for nearly $100 million and nobody really knew that they planned to do with this new service until recently. Facebook revamped Atlas into a tool that is said to solve a problem that has stumped even the finest of digital advertisers today.

How This Changes the Game For You

Before this week, you may have experienced the aftermath of Facebook using your personal information to better serve advertisements. If you were browsing shoes online at Target.com and put a pair in your shopping cart and then for some reason decided not to purchase them, you would later see an ad for these same shoes while looking through your Facebook news feed. Facebook used cookies and pixels to track all your browsing data and then collected that information in order to remarket products to you.

The problem with this cookie run advertising system is that these cookies can not keep up with all the places you browse the internet throughout the day. Many people spend their morning online on a smartphone while eating breakfast, then use a work computer throughout the day, and later come home and either using a personal laptop or tablet. In general, cookies do not work on mobile devices, so this previously stopped Facebook and brands from learning about their consumers at vital points in the day.

image from arstechnica.com

image from arstechnica.com

Atlas for Facebook is a new way of piecing together all the cookie crumbs for Facebook by developing a consolidated and consistent view of consumers. Facebook is calling this “People Based Marketing” by assigning each Facebook user a unique user ID. Now, do not fret, Facebook claims that all of your personal information is kept anonymous through the ID. Then Facebook pulls all your activity across the devices we discussed, and compiles it all together. The anonymous ID puts together all web, mobile, tablet together in one place and allows Facebook to see the overall web experience of a customer.

image by marketingland.com

image by marketingland.com

What It Means for Advertisers

The ability to track over multiple devices is what all advertisers have been waiting for. This allows advertisers to leverage targeting capabilities to their fullest by being able to piece together all the pieces of your digital journey. Atlas allows Facebook to track individuals outside the confines of facebook.com, which provides more information on what customers are interested in and where they are spending their time. Mobile is no longer untraceable, and this adds a big piece of the puzzle that was missing, as adults are said to spend 23% of their day on a mobile device.

This all leads to advertising dollars being spent more efficiently online. Facebook Atlas solves the age old problem of advertisers and brands not knowing if their advertising is actually working. Step by step we have seen improvements in this problem, but with Atlas a brand can know exactly if males ages 18-24 are interacting with their ads. In addition, this new program puts the focus back into the most important part of marketing and advertising. Atlas really lets advertisers focus on getting to know their audience on a deeper level. With the ability to obtain deeper insights, advertising will be more compelling and advertisers will produce less wasteful content.

What’s Next?

Currently, Omnicom is Facebook’s first major Atlas partner with two of their most well known clients being Pepsi and Intel. While, Atlas has the potential to change the online advertising game, it also still has some kinks to work out. One thing that came to my mind when reading about this new service is when a whole family may share one computer. You may have a mom, dad, grandparents, and a few kids all searching and shopping on computer. This would definitely confuse a service like Atlas and is something Facebook should address.

What do you think of Facebook Atlas? Let me know in the comments below!