UPDATE: Facebook has confirmed that David Jakubowski will be joining the company, and that he will have a role that extends beyond Atlas.
UPDATE 8:15PM ET: Jakubowski, through Neustar’s public relations agency, released the following comment via email: “I have been presented with an opportunity that I simply couldn’t refuse. I can assure you that Neustar has a very talented team and the right technology and people in place to provide marketers with a complete workflow solution. I’m more confident than ever in the strengths of Neustar’s technology and assets.”
Facebook’s Atlas Advertiser Suite has a new boss – one that solidifies the importance of the ad server in a tech stack (which includes an ad server, an exchange and, as of Wednesday, a mobile ad network) that pushes beyond the confines of the Facebook social network.
David Jakubowski will leave his position as SVP of marketing services at Neustar to oversee the ad tech solution, acquired from Microsoft in early 2013, AdExchanger sources said.
Atlas was originally Microsoft’s answer to Google’s DoubleClick acquisition, functioning as an ad server and as a measurement platform through which advertisers could evaluate their digital campaigns.
But the product never took off the way Microsoft envisioned; it sold the suite to Facebook, where it had seemingly been gathering dust until recently when, in a flurry of sudden activity, the social network launched a new logo as well as product updates including support for programmatic direct buys and a rich media API program.
Upon its acquisition by Facebook, Gokul Rajaram – who at the time was the company’s product director of ads – said Atlas’ goal was to be able to measure cross-device insights, adding this would require hiring of engineering and product management talent.
Jakubowski, who came to Neustar when it acquired his previous company, the data-management platform (DMP) provider Aggregate Knowledge, would seem to fit that bill. As CEO of Aggregate Knowledge, Jakubowski oversaw a product designed to manage identity information across devices.
He was also hyperaware of privacy concerns that often arise when linking user activities from device to device. This is a trait that might have appealed to Facebook, which often faces questions from its users and from privacy watch organizations over how it collects and uses consumer data.
Jakubowski is also familiar with the ad network world. According to his LinkedIn profile, he was SVP at Specific Media prior to Aggregate Knowledge. And before that, he was GM at Microsoft’s search marketing discipline adCenter and Search Strategy (which is now called Bing Ads) where he “oversaw product marketing, product management, go-to-market and monetization strategy.”
All of this suggests Facebook is doubling-down on its ad technology stack, of which Atlas is a part. As an ad server, Facebook is gearing up its product to support rich media and more premium inventory. Cross-device metrics might follow, based on the goals Atlas has stated in the past as well as current market trends (MediaMath and Lotame each acquired cross-device targeting companies).
Of course, Facebook already has its exchange in FBX, albeit a single-publisher private exchange. And at its f8 conference in San Francisco, the company unveiled its mobile ad network Facebook Ad Network.
Jakubowski’s relationship with Facebook leadership may have begun prior to Neustar’s acquisition of Aggregate Knowledge. According to one source, Facebook peeked under the hood at Aggregate Knowledge when the DMP began exploring a sale.
His exit may have been made easier with recent declines in Neustar’s stock price, which as of Wednesday afternoon was trading at around $26. That’s about half what it was worth at the time of the sale to Neustar, reducing his equity value – and therefore his incentive to stick around – under the restricted stock offering that accompanied that deal.