Facebook to phase out Atlas brand, shift tools & clients to Facebook’s products

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Facebook is finally phasing out Atlas, the ad server and measurement platform that it acquired from Microsoft in February 2013 and has been folding into Facebook since last fall.

Over the next year, Facebook will move Atlas’s existing measurement capabilities and its remaining clients to Facebook-branded products like Business Manager, the company announced on Tuesday. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the Atlas brand will be eliminated as a result of the transition.

The announcement signals Facebook’s final steps in dissolving Atlas into Facebook, four years after the social network acquired the ad tech platform to beef up its measurement capabilities and two-and-a-half years after Facebook unwrapped the revamped platform. In September 2016, Facebook transferred Atlas employees from its ad tech division to its measurement division, and two months later Facebook shut down the ad server side of Atlas.

While the Atlas brand will go away, its underlying measurement products will not. After combining Atlas’s employees with Facebook’s own measurement team, the company is now merging Atlas’s products into Facebook’s own tools.

For starters, Facebook plans to make two of Atlas’s ad measurement categories available within Facebook’s Business Manager tool, which was built for companies that manage multiple ad accounts on Facebook.

In a test with an undisclosed number of brands, marketers will be able to view reach and attribution metrics for their ad campaigns running outside of Facebook within a new “Advanced Measurement” section in Facebook’s Business Manager. What exactly those reach and attribution tools will measure is still being ironed out, the spokesperson said. Facebook plans to migrate more of Atlas’s measurement tools — as well as the marketers that use them — to Facebook’s own tools for advertisers, like Business Manager, over the next year.

That test and Facebook’s broader folding of Atlas signal Facebook’s attempt to assemble its own all-in-one measurement platform like Google’s Analytics 360 and Adobe’s Analytics (née Omniture).

By making these measurements available through free tools like Business Manager and basing its reporting on the data Facebook collects on the 1.86 billion people who log into its social network every month, Facebook is attempting to win over a wide swath of advertisers who can’t afford or don’t want to deal with more complicated tools to measure their on- and off-Facebook campaigns, including search and display ads running on non-Facebook properties that are not sold through its Audience Network ad network.

Whether advertisers will adopt Facebook’s platform depends on to what extent advertisers will trust a company that sells them ads to also report on the performance of ads sold by its competitors, and to what extent they will trust the company’s measurements following last year’s series of errors.

About The Author

Tim Peterson, Third Door Media’s Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat’s ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar’s attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon’s ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube’s programming strategy, Facebook’s ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking’s rise; and documented digital video’s biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed’s branded video production process and Snapchat Discover’s ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands’ early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo’s and Google’s search designs and examine the NFL’s YouTube and Facebook video strategies.


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