Facebook is set to share data on its millions of users with companies looking to sell targeted ads outside the company's social network, taking its ad business to the rest of the Internet in a major challenge to Google.
The company on Monday will launch a new ad platform dubbed Atlas, through which it promises to deliver “people-based marketing,” especially mobile devices. The idea is to leverage Facebook's vast troves of data on its users to deliver targeted demographics to advertisers and provide metrics on results. Facebook is already the second-largest advertising platform on the web.
"People spend more time on more devices than ever before, Erik Johnson, who is heading Atlas, wrote in a blog post Monday. "This shift in consumer behavior 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. Cookies don’t work on mobile, are becoming less accurate in demographic targeting and can’t easily or accurately measure the customer purchase funnel across browsers and devices or into the offline world.
"People-based marketing solves these problems," Johnson added.
Atlas has already signed up with the advertising giant Omnicom Group to test automated, targeted ads, starting with campaigns for Pepsi and Intel.