Sep 26, 2014

Facebook Atlas Launch Threatens Google’s Online Ad Space

Facebook has just launched its hotly-anticipated cross-platform, web-wide ad platform, Atlas. The move could pose a huge threat to Google’s Display Network, potentially claiming a significant chunk of Google’s multi-billion dollar ad platform. And for you, the marketer? It opens up an array of new opportunities, helping you identify the Facebook users who have seen and interacted with your ads on all third party websites and apps. The potentially ground-breaking multi-channel platform allows you to tie together and track your consumers’ online and offline activity. Yes, it’s powerful.

We spoke to Larry Kim, one of the most influential PPC experts in the world and Ian Cleary, leading social media expert and award-winning tech blogger about the implications. They both agreed that Atlas could be a big game changer for both Google and marketers alike. Perhaps the way we advertise will never be the same again.

Quick Summary of Atlas:
  • Focuses on people based advertising with a simple, yet powerful platform.
  • Enables targeting and tracking across multiple devices, platforms and publishers.
  • Integrates online and offline marketing activity.
  • Gives insight into audience and interest segments without revealing individual identities.
  • Action tags lets advertisers follow and understand action in real time.
  • Poses a significant threat to Google’s DoubleClick which currently dominates display ad serving.

1. Expert Opinion: Larry Kim, Founder & CTO of

Larry Kim, international PPC expert, expects some of Google’s billion dollar sales to shift over to Facebook. He tells the Digital Marketing Institute:

“At first glance this appears to be very exciting news. The ability to target specific people with ads, across any site on the internet, in a way that works on mobile, and provides the robust demographic segmentation options that Facebook Ads are known for, is nothing short of a complete game-changer for the display ads market. I estimate that around 20% of Google’s $15 Billion in ad sales comes from the Google Display Network, and I’d certainly expect to see some of that budget shift over to Facebook for the aforementioned reasons. Overall a great move for Facebook Ads.”

Larry Kim, Founder & CTO of | Facebook New Ad Network Threatens Google Online Ad Space

2. Expert Opinion: Ian Cleary, CEO of RazorSocial

Ian Cleary, leading social media expert predicts the pace of growth will be slow to start with but does expect Facebook’s new ad platform to eventually pose a threat to Google. He tells the Digital Marketing Institute:

“In the short term there will be very little (if any) impact to Google Display Network when Facebook launch their Ad platform across the web. The online advertising market is a growing market with room for both.” However, he cautions that, “As Facebook builds out the Ad platfrom it will have all the capabilities of Google and more and will grow at a faster rate. However, it will take a long time to catch up!”

Ian Cleary, CEO of RazorSocial | Facebook New Ad Network Threatens Google Online Ad Space

3. What Does Facebook’s New Ad Platform Mean for Marketers?

Atlas Business | Facebook New Ad Network Threatens Google Online Ad Space

The new cross-platform web-wide ad platform is set to revolutionize online advertising. Facebook’s pitch to marketers is that the new platform will focus on “people based marketing” and advanced audience targeting. Below we discuss the most beneficial aspects for marketers.

  • Enhanced Tracking Capabilities – Users’ ad interactions are linked to their Facebook accounts, allowing you to track ad interactions across all third party websites, mobile devices and apps.
  • Cross-Platform Targeting Options – Target your online ads to specific users based on their Facebook interests, preferences, likes and demographic information across all websites and third party apps.
  • First Click Attribution Tracking – If your customer purchases one of your products from a desktop but first saw your ad on a mobile device, you will be able to see this.
  • Online to Offline Tracking – If your customer buys a dress in your physical store and agrees to give you her email address, Facebook can use this address to tell you at what point, where and when your customer saw your ad online. However, their email address will have to be connected to their Facebook account to track this data.
  • Demand Side Platform – manage all your ad exchanges and data exchanges through one interface.

4. Any Downsides?

Of course, as with any marketing platform, Facebook’s new ad platform will not be without its downsides. Below are the most notable caveats that marketers will worry about:

  • Your customers must have a Facebook account to enable the cross-platform tracking.
  • Your customers email address must be linked to their Facebook account to enable online to offline tracking.

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