Facebook hasn’t been shy about its cross-device intentions. At the time of the Atlas acquisition in 2013, its ads product director, Gokul Rajaram, noted that Facebook’s goal is to “be able to measure cross-device insights” and “to be the best ad-serving platform on the Internet.”
Lately, the race to make this happen has accelerated. Facebook, it has been widely rumored but not yet publicly confirmed, will bake logged-in user ID into its rebuilt Atlas ad server. Some industry experts think this replaces the increasingly irrelevant cookie, allowing Facebook to track ads along the path to purchase, deduplicate impressions and perform other functions that allow for more consistent and reliable ad serving, campaign measurement and attribution of conversion.
The impact on media-buying practices could be large. Megan Pagliuca, VP and GM for digital media at Merkle Inc., wrote in a recent AdExchanger column. "To date, neither [Atlas nor DoubleClick Campaign Manager] has been strong in either mobile or cross-device capabilities but, as they integrate identity, they have the potential to provide long-awaited salvation from inaccurate measurement that has prevented budgets from moving to mobile and digital overall."
But a cross-platform measurement system is only as good as its reach, and sizing up the two rivals in terms of multidevice logins is a challenge.