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March 1, 2013

Facebook to Buy Microsoft’s Atlas Ad Network

Social Network Says Acquisition Will Benefit Both Marketers and Users

Facebook has agreed to acquire Atlas Advertiser Suite from Microsoft in a bid to bolster ad revenues and better compete with chief rival Google.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, although it was announced the Atlas team, which is based in Seattle, will continue to operate there.

Business partners Facebook and Microsoft first began discussing the Atlas deal in late 2012.

Microsoft advertising chief operating officer Dave O’Hara said the deal will strengthen the existing partnership between the two companies while fostering a “long-term strategic commercial relationship.”

“I can say with confidence that we are quite pleased with this outcome and are excited to continue building a deeper partnership between our two companies,” O’Hara said in a blog post.

The acquisition will enable Facebook to offer a venue for advertisers to buy, sell, optimize, target and track their ads.

Facebook director of product marketing Brian Boland explained in a blog post the reasons the social network believes the acquisition will benefit both marketers and users.

The following is an excerpt from his blog.

Today’s marketing environment is much more complex than it was just a few short years ago. Marketers and agencies struggle to understand how their efforts across different channels complement and strengthen each other. Consequently, they are forced to adopt siloed marketing strategies for each channel, leading to poor and inconsistent end-user experiences.
This challenge also provides an opportunity. If marketers and agencies can get a holistic view of campaign performance, they will be able to do a much better job of making sure the right messages get in front of the right people at the right time. Atlas has built capabilities that allow for this kind of measurement, and enhancing these systems will give marketers a deeper understanding of effectiveness and lead to better digital advertising experiences for consumers.
Many marketers that advertise on Facebook today use Atlas, and Atlas has been an approved partner for measurement since June. Today’s agreement brings us closer together in a way that benefits both Facebook and Atlas’ agency and marketer clients. Atlas clients should not see any change to the service they receive today, and we will continue to innovate and invest in the Atlas platform.
We plan to improve Atlas’ capabilities by investing in scaling its back-end measurement systems and enhancing its current suite of advertiser tools on desktop and mobile. We will also work to improve the user interface and functionality with the goal of making Atlas the most effective, intuitive, and powerful ad serving, management and measurement platform in the industry. Ultimately, Atlas’s powerful platform, combined with Nielsen and Datalogix, will help advertisers close the loop and compare their Facebook campaigns to the rest of their ad spend across the web on desktop and mobile.
Our belief is that measuring various touch points in the marketing funnel will help advertisers to see a more complete view of the effectiveness of their campaigns. Acquiring Atlas will be an important step towards achieving this goal.