Facebook Advertising, to date, hasn’t been a terribly impressive source of leads and sales for most small businesses. Sure, you can find a few success stories. But for most, Google Adwords is the only game in town. Google attracts at least 67% of search traffic and Adwords really is a fantastic product. Adwords has earned its reputation as the go-to place for PPC advertising.
That’s not to say that Facebook advertising has been a failure. In January 2014, Facebook reported that 53% of its revenues came from mobile advertising. Despite what the numbers say, the social media behemoth has had trouble convincing many businesses that Facebook is a valuable advertising and marketing platform.
Enter Facebook Atlas Ads… and the scene might just change.
By relaunching Atlas, a third-party ad management and tracking tool that the company purchased from Microsoft last year for $100 million, Facebook ads are poised to become a lot smarter, across all platforms. With a lot in store for the small business from an advertising perspective, it just make sense for small businesses to give Facebook advertising another look.
The Cookie is About to Crumble
Traditionally, advertisers have used cookies to track people online. Cookies aren’t a reliable tracking method and are completely ineffective on mobile devices.
The usage of cookies and its effectiveness has been a point of debate for some time. But there has not been too many alternatives to this until now. But with the launch of Facebook atlas ads, this is going to change.
Let me quote something from Atlas’ website:
Cookies alone limit advertising effectiveness – because they’re ineffective on mobile and suffer from degradation over time…Atlas helps marketers reach real people across devices, platforms and publishers to target, deliver, optimize and measure advertising results. Using the power of real people, Atlas can connect online touchpoints with offline purchases to generate a new understanding about what really drives incremental reach and new sales.
So, advertisers who use Facebook Atlas ads should be better able to connect advertising to actual sales, even when the sale takes place offline. However, Atlas’ tracking capability works only when users are logged in to Facebook. Will that be a drawback to the entire system is yet to be seen.
Atlas vs. Google DoubleClick
“Retargeting” has been the golden nugget in advertising these days. It is unlikely that you will be surprised to see that product that you surfed on an online store follow you throughout on Facebook and all other social media sites and websites that you visit, at least these days. We have gotten used to retargeting now, aren’t we?
Retargeting is a highly efficient type of PPC advertising campaign that shows ads for your products/services to people after they visit your website. But, retargeting relies on cookies.
DoubleClick is Google’s PPC retargeting service and they use the same method of tracking that most retargeting services use – cookies.
Atlas does not rely on cookies. When a user is logged into Facebook, Atlas will be able to target individuals with highly customized ads as they surf the web and as they jump from laptop to iPhone, to tablet to whatever device a consumer is using.
Will the Opt-Out Stand?
Whether or not Facebook will amend that policy to fall in line with its ever-churning data mining and marketing operation remains to be seen. But if they don’t this is an aspect that will change the advertising world, for sure.
Facebook Atlas ads Remains Vulnerable to Ad-blocking
It’s interesting that in the race to optimize and place Facebook ads on every platform, Facebook Atlas ads seemingly ignores the growing threat of ad-blocking.
AdBlock and similar browser extensions and add-ons are available on both mobile and traditional devices. According to this article on Forbes, the use of ad-blocking services is on the rise. And Atlas is vulnerable to these ad-blocking services.
If Facebook doesn’t do something about it, this is sure to reduce the effectiveness of ads served by this platform. And as an advertiser, I might not be too keen on using a platform where the possibility of an ad being seen itself is just a probability.
How to Get Into Facebook Atlas Ads
Currently, Atlas is available to businesses by invitation only.
Not something new..eh!
Most services that start out do the same. They start off as an “invitation only” platform and later change. It will certainly change in case of Facebook atlas as well. For now, a small business can apply for an invitation here.
Facebook Atlas is very new and it’s too soon to judge how well it will work for advertisers. We can only hope that Atlas will be a strong competitor and give small businesses another advertising option. Having said that, with some of the things that they have announced to be a part of the platform, it is surely worth a try.
Images used under license from fotolia.com.
This is a Guest Post by Ellen Gipko. Ellen Gipko is a reporter for HubShout, a US based white label SEO reseller, website reseller and digital marketing firm with offices in Falls Church, VA (Washington, DC Metro) and Rochester, NY.