Facebook Buys Microsoft Atlas Ad Platform

Facebook has purchased Microsoft’s Atlas ad platform, a move that could help the social networking site in its fight with Google for online ad revenue.

The transaction has been rumored for a long time, though Facebook did not confirm the amount that they paid for the technology.

The Atlas Advertiser Suite is an ad management and measurement platform, reports Reuters. Microsoft took on the ad platform when it purchased digital ad agency aQuantive in 2007.

The Redmond, Washington-based company was not able to make it work for its own purposes and wrote off $6.2 billion of the deal’s value last year.

The company purchased aQuantive for $6.3 billion. Google currently leads the $15 billion US market for online display ads. They currently have a 15.4 percent of the market, while Facebook has 14.4 percent.

Brian Boland, Facebook’s director of monetization product marketing, stated that the purchase of Atlas isn’t a step toward creating a bigger ad network. However, analysts believe this is the network’s ultimate goal.

Yahoo! News notes that Forrester analyst Nate Elliot stated:

“Although the statement announcing the deal focused on Atlas’ measurement tolls rather than its ad targeting technology, we expect that Atlas will soon be using Facebook’s data to target sponsorships, in-stream ads, and other rich ad formats across the entire web, and that’s big news.”

Facebook’s purchase of the Atlas ad platform is an interesting choice. The social network has been dogged by doubts over its ad effectiveness. It was embarrassed just days before the initial public offering in May. General Motors Co declared it was no longer going to pay to advertise on the website’s network. Elliot added:

“The question now is how quickly and successfully Facebook can integrate its data with Atlas’ tools, and whether they can avoid a privacy backlash as they do so.”

Facebook currently uses sponsorship for advertising on its own network, though analysts believe it is possible the network could be building up to Google’s advertising services.

[Image via Tomislav Pinter / Shutterstock.com]