Facebook offers user data to marketers

Facebook has revamped, and is rolling out Atlas, the ad platform it bought from Microsoft, which is aimed at helping companies and marketers track their ad effectiveness on the web.

The social network has always been able to track its 1.3 billion users on desktop, mobile and other sites. Now it offers marketers the same, calling it “people-based marketing”.

Technology for ad serving and measurement runs largely on cookies, and this is flawed when used alone, said Atlas’ head, Erik Johnson, in a blogpost.

“Cookies don’t work on mobile, are becoming less accurate in demographic targeting and can’t easily or accurately measure the customer purchase funnel across browsers and devices or into the offline world. People-based marketing solves these problems,” he said.

The service is aimed at allowing brands or marketers to reach “real people” across devices, platforms and publishers – claiming to connect online campaigns to offline sales.

Omnicom has already signed on with the service to develop automated capabilities for Omnicom’s clients, including Pepsi and Intel – who are among the first testing the new platform, said Johnson. Atlas is also looking for partners in search, social, creative management and publishers.

The service will extend to Facebook’s platforms, such as Instagram, which will have its ads included in Atlas’ reporting.

According to Bloomberg, the platform gets data from what users are revealing on Facebook, as well as from the other sites where they log in with their Facebook identities.

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has said that marketers will not be given access to data beyond what members have made available through their privacy preferences.

Facebook offering up user data for marketers was only a matter of time, as the network acquired other social entities such as Instagram and Whatsapp (read also: Should you be creeped out when Facebook buys Whatsapp?), and not to mention hardware, in the form of Oculus – creating a monolith of user data, as well as forming a formidable rivalry to Google.

While the site continues to grow, users are also showing data privacy fears. Over the past months, a social network called Ello found itself pulling in an average of 35,000 users as its promised not to serve ads or sell user data. (Read also: Rapid uptake of “anti-Facebook” site highlights data privacy fears).

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