If you pay attention, you can begin to see Facebook’s ad sales strategy coming together.
First, figure out how to better engage advertisers by cross-tabbing and de-duping their CRM databases with Facebook fan bases so they can plan ads and campaigns more effectively. Second align with big data suppliers to enable segmentation building, intense precise targeting and personalization. Third, use the Atlas infrastructure to build more ways to dice and slice Facebook audiences and to serve Facebook ads with better precision and metrics. The game plan directly addresses the biggest objections in adland.
The Atlas buy feels like a play to accelerate building infrastructure rather than developing a new third-party ad-serving revenue stream. The value of Atlas, widely considered second tier behind Google’s Doubleclick platform, is a head start on proving the impact and value of Facebook ads to a growing number of skeptical advertisers. With Atlas in-hand, Facebook programmers and strategists can start modifying and adding onto an existing platform, which will give them something to brag about and sell more inventory sooner.
The combination of these three moves will allow Facebook to answer many of the outstanding questions on targeting, impact, metrics and ROI by big name advertisers who have embraced social media advertising tepidly.
Data-centricity will fuel better targeting, tighter message strategies and the ability to drive sales in real time. The mother lode of data emerging from the combination of sources, not to mention Facebook profiles, will yield a huge competitive edge in identifying likely prospects, building propensity-to-buy models, scheduling ads and forecasting or driving sales in real time.
Add this information to growing opportunities for advertisers to track conversion events like registrations or checkouts and the possibly inadvertent slip exposing a new metric called “return value” and you might get the idea that at Facebook, social media is morphing into direct and database marketing.