Facebook Resurrects Atlas As A Media Attribution and Reach Tool

Atlas-Makes-A-ComebackFacebook is again tackling cross-device measurement and attribution.

Although its Atlas product struggled as an ad server in the marketplace, Atlas could successfully use Facebook IDs to measure across devices and help marketers assess campaign performance.

Now Facebook is making those features available to marketers through its Business Manager, in a tool dubbed Advanced Measurement. Marketers can do two key things: measure reach and frequency and perform online attribution in multiple ways, not just last-touch.

Because the tech uses Facebook IDs, not cookies, marketers often find out that their ads are reaching far fewer consumers than they thought. To make matters worse, those consumers are being barraged with ads.

With marketing becoming more complex across more formats and channels, “it’s really hard to understand what’s happening with audiences,” said Scott Shapiro, Facebook’s measurement product marketing director.

Facebook wants to help. The tool works across a variety of publishers. Marketers get a tag to place across all their media that is measured by Facebook.

Although third-party pixels often have a hard time making it past Facebook’s walled gardens, Facebook said it’s able to measure other publishers’ media, with varying success. YouTube, for example, despite its crackdown on third-party pixels, would appear to be trackable media.

But not everyone wants Facebook’s help measuring media.

In the wake of Facebook’s very public measurement messes and its reluctance to allow in third-party measurement, GroupM is skeptical of working with a media partner for measurement.

“Letting a vendor grade their own homework is not a good thing,” said Ed Gaffney, managing partner and director of implementation research at GroupM. “Having them grade all the homework? Probably a worse thing.”

GroupM – which is developing its own cross-device measurement solution as part of [m]Platform – said it supported unbiased, third-party, transparent measurement. Gaffney expressed concern that the solution would tell marketers to spend more on Facebook.

Rival holding group Omnicom’s Annalect has been testing the solution over the past year for clients, even before it was revamped as part of this product.

Facebook’s solution will not have outside accreditation.

The Media Ratings Council did certify Atlas when it was an ad server. But a spokesperson for the MRC said that when Facebook decided to go in a different direction with the product, it did not schedule an audit, so the MRC rescinded its certification. Facebook’s product will measure media, but no outside verification gives a stamp of approval to Facebook’s methodology.

Its success will depend on whether Facebook can attract marketers to the product or not. Facebook said it hadn’t worked out a pricing model yet.

Some customers currently using the Atlas ad server will transition to this measurement product, and other marketers will likely test it out. GroupM’s Gaffney said it might offer value for smaller marketers without agencies and fewer resources.

“Facebook is awesome at building massive amounts of high-quality audiences and has issues with measurement,” Gaffney said. “Measurement companies don’t build audience. They just measure. Or they go away quickly. I’m fond of sticking to my knitting.”

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1 Comment

  1. Mathieu Roche

    “Letting a media vendor grading their homework is not a good thing” -and yet GroupM agencies (like most others) and their clients use Doubleclick and Google Analytics. How is that different? Clients can’t complain about quality and transparency of media owners and give away all their campaign data to the biggest one of all at the same time!