Online advertising is a huge growing market. The question of how exactly digital displays impact purchasing behaviour, however, is still often a mystery. Facebook now aims to fill this knowledge gap with its marketing platform, Atlas. The “Offline Actions” tool is intended to track consumer behaviour; from consumers’ view of advertising to their payment of products in-store.
Businesses are under increasing pressure to rethink their advertising strategy. Yet, there’s a lack of concrete evidence about the actual persuasiveness of online advertising. Ultimately, a majority of purchases are still made in the real world and most can only guess whether a customer was encouraged to buy a new product through an ad on his or her smartphone display.
Targeting the right group of consumers is also becoming more difficult through the rise of mobile use. Whereas previously, cookies reliably tracked consumer surfing behaviour, today this is made more difficult by cross-device user profiles. In other words, cookies cannot move from laptop to smartphone or tablet.
Atlas tracks attribution without limits
Image via atlassolutions.com
Facebook wants to eliminate this blind spot. The Head of Ad Tech, David Jakubowski, announced this groundbreaking innovation on March 7 on the Atlas blog. In his view, many business owners still waste their ad budgets with programs which are geared primarily to the traditional desktop sector. Facebook wants to convince these customers of the benefit of digital display through the Offline Actions measurement tool.
The new tool should provide answers to the important question: How do online ads impact offline sales? To measure this, retailers need to simply upload their point-of-sale data. Within minutes, Atlas shows whether their digital advertising actually had an effect on their cash register.
A key complement to Offline Actions is the Path to Conversion (also new) which is now available to all customers. It is based on the original idea of Atlas as “people based marketing.” Instead of old-fashioned cookies, it tracks users through their Facebook ID. This allows Facebook the access to track consumer behaviour across all platforms, devices and apps.
For example, a user on her way to work discovers an interesting display on her smartphone. In the evening, she looks into the offer more closely and the next day, she finally makes the purchase from her desktop or directly at the store. With Atlas, the incentive to the actual buying decision can be fully traced.
At the Dutch airline KLM, the program has resulted in a true “aha!” moment. According to Facebook, Atlas showed a 24% increase in conversions compared to the previous cookies-based analytic tools. Although at KLM only 5% of bookings are made on a mobile device, and the rest at a desktop computer, Atlas reported that every fourth booking was influenced by at least one mobile display.
Vivid Marketing with Facebook
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In a field trial last year, Facebook found that ultimately only two types of ads generate significant results: native formats and video. In the latter, Atlas wants to support its customers with the Tool Video Ad Serving, that started at the end of March. It is intended to help companies tell “lively brand stories.” Their reception can then be measured across all devices on the Atlas platform. It’s only logical that Facebook introduces this new way of online marketing - and according to Jakubowski, in one of the most effective areas of advertising.
In the US, the importance of the mobile advertising market is growing rapidly. Jakubowski pointed to the forecasts by market research firm eMarketer, saying that the US is expected to be spend $42 billion in mobile advertising this year, which would correspond to 62.6% of the full digital advertising market. The mobile share was only 38.5% in 2014. For 2019, an increase of 69.9% in the digital and 28.9% in the entire media advertising market is predicted.
Facebook is increasingly becoming important for retailers.
According to eMarketer, 2016 will be the first year that more than half of the US population (50,3% or 162.9 million people) will use Facebook at least once per month. The other most popular social networks are far behind, with Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) at 89.4 million and Twitter at 56.8 million active users.
Even with all this growth and success, some questions remain unanswered. For example, how can a user be identified once he has logged off Facebook?
itle image via atlassolutions.com