Facebook ads have started appearing on other sites based on each user’s behaviour, as the social network looks to rival Google with a new level of targeting for brands.
Facebook has rolled out an updated version of its advertising platform, dubbed ‘Atlas’, giving it the power to sell adds finely targeted to its 1.3 billion users whether they are on a Facebook site or not.
When a user logs into Facebook with their device, it registers a unique device identifier with the company’s servers.
The identifier can be used to track a customer so that if another app or website asks for an ad, Facebook can use information about the customer to find the best ad to display.
Facebook already owns vast amount of consumer data, so this new ad platform could provide huge value for marketers looking to get more relevancy and reach for the ad budgets.
Facebook is already plugged into a huge number of websites through Facebook Login, and each time people share or “like” an item on a site, this boosts the social network’s data trove.
Facebook can connect that data with the information from within Facebook — the social graph — to create a social ad network that is potentially more effective than Google’s AdSense.
Omnicom Group, one of the world’s largest advertising companies, is the first firm to sign up to the service.
Erik Johnson, head of Atlas, said that cookies – used by the likes of Google to deliver tailored adverts – are flawed and that data provided by Facebook users about themselves is more useful for targeting ads.
In a blogpost he wrote: “People spend more time on more devices than ever before. This shift in consumer behaviour has had a profound impact on a consumer’s path to purchase, both online and in stores. And today’s technology for ad serving and measurement – cookies – are flawed when used alone.”
Facebook bought the Atlas advertising platform from Microsoft last year.
The deal comes as Facebook trails a distant second to Google in the US ad market. The Google is expected to capture 31.45% of the market’s revenue this year, according to estimates by market analyst eMarketer.
While Facebook was expected to register the largest market share increase this year among US companies in the survey, the social network was still expected to be a distant second with 7.8 percent of a market estimated to be worth $140 billion.
Facebook counts 1.5 million advertising customers and the company’s ad business saw strong growth across all of its geographic regions, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg told Reuters in July.
Mobile advertising revenue grew 151% year-over-year, accounting for roughly 62% of Facebook’s overall ad revenue in the second quarter.
Facebook is also reportedly in talks to provide Nielsen with data from major publishers to improve ad tracking.
Facebook already brings in a lot of money from advertising, seeing a 50.5% increase in growth in their US mobile ad revenue last year while Google only enjoyed a 33.3% growth rate.
Read more about Facebook’s new Atlas ad platform here