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The limitations of cookies, and the new Atlas

Facebook relaunched Atlas this week, a solution it says was ‘built from the ground up’ and is focused on people-based marketing.

Atlas head Erik Johnson said cookies, the technology for ad serving and management were flawed when used alone, they don’t work on mobile, and 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 said. Atlas’ Lori Goode explains the issues with cookie-based measurement succinctlyhere.

What does the new Atlas aim to do?

Because today’s buyers move between devices, channels and physical experiences, brand journeys are shaped in different ways. Although, 94 per cent of retail purchases still happen in bricks-and-mortar stores. Cookies, as a tool for measurement, can’t keep up. As well as not working on mobile, they overstate reach and underestimate frequency.

So, Atlas aims to help marketers reach people across devices, to optimise and measure advertising results. “Using the power of real people, Atlas can connect online touch points with offline purchases to generate a new understanding about what really drives incremental reach and new sales.”

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What does it look like?

Atlas allows marketers to target, serve and measure across device, platforms and publishers. “Atlas can now connect online campaigns to actual offline sales, ultimately proving the real impact that digital campaigns have in driving incremental reach and new sales.”

In essence, it provides a platform for cross-device marketing, with new ways of evaluating media performance centred on people.

How does it measure online to offline: how does it connect real-world purchases with online activity?

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It uses people. According to Atlas: “With people-based measurement, Atlas moves beyond using cookies alone and that can reveal relationships between online, mobile and in-store experiences. Putting people – not just cookies  – at the core of campaign success, Atlas helps marketers understand, guide and build results more easily and effectively than ever before. That means marketers will be able to see more of the important touchpoints in real-life brand journeys, giving advertisers a holistic view about the way their work shapes behavior beyond the click or impression.”

Who’s using the new Atlas so far?

Instagram, as a publisher, is enabled with Atlas to measure and verify ad impressions.

Omnicom is also signed up with Atlas, and is the is the first holding company to sign an agency-wide ad serving and measurement partnership with Atlas. “ Together, Omnicom – powered by Neustar technology– and Atlas will jointly develop integrations to enable more automated capabilities for Omnicom’s clients, including Pepsi and Intel – who are among the first testing the new platform,” Johnson said.