Pinterest Play? Instagram Takes Steps Towards Shoppable Ads

Instagram waded into the shoppable ads arena when it trialled its version of the popular ‘buy now’ button with twenty US brands. The social photo sharing platform has taken steps to close the gap between browsing and shopping by allowing users to learn more about products from within their app, and then purchase them seamlessly. If this sounds eerily like Pinterest, you may be onto something.

Instagram recently ran afoul of Snapchat when it was accused of copying Snapchat Stories with its Instagram Stories.  After several failed attempts to purchase the platform, Mark Zuckerberg did the next best thing, copied Snapchat’s most coveted feature, Stories, on Facebook-owned Instagram as Instagram Stories.

Instagram is ready to play copycat again with its venture into Shoppable Ads. It set about testing posts with select brands in the US to allow users to learn more about the products they see before buying them. Instagram presents the user with a ‘tap to view’ icon at the bottom left of each photo which expands tags for up to five products. The tags contain the details and cost of the items but don’t immediately appear, users must hover over the ‘tap to view’ indicator to see a featured item. Users can then scroll through the products shown and decide to purchase from within the app.

Pinterest has had this feature for some time, and has seen remarkable results. 75% of its users have purchased something on the platform or because of it.  Pinterest users stay on the platform for approximately fifteen minutes per visit, giving marketers plenty of time to deliver ads to them. The demographic for Pinterest and Instagram used to vary widely, with Instagram being the platform predominantly for Gen Z and younger Millennials, and Pinterest skewing predominantly towards women in their late 20s to early 40s. Recently, Pinterest has seen a spike in Millennial use, with 67% of its users falling into that category.  Instagram is eager to cash-in on this potential new source of revenue and is now strongly courting brands to use its platform to reach their younger demographic. Add to this, the eventuality of a ‘save for later’ button, and Instagram fully moves into Pinterest’s territory as a save and shop platform.

This latest development is aimed at Instagram’s discovery audience, i.e., those who use the platform to look for the latest items but aren’t sure what they want just yet. Much like Pinterest, it enables retailers to capture users as they are information gathering and turn them from inspired browsers to buyers.

Why is this development important?

  • It cuts out a step/barrier to purchase. Users don’t need to leave the app and open a separate search window to find out more about the products they like. They can navigate and get all the pertinent information they need all within Instagram’s platform.
  • The consumer can then hit ‘shop now’ from within the tags and be taken directly to complete their purchase on the retailer’s website.
  • It solves the problem of inserting unwieldy captions to redirect users to click on links to circumvent Instagram’s ban on organic links within posts.
  • Shoppable ads have the potential to steal revenue from online shopping giant, Amazon, as users are heading onto sites like Pinterest and Instagram to discover new products and get alternative shopping ideas.
  • Most mobile use is spent in-app. Instagram has the highest rate of mobile use among social networks in the US. Given that Instagram is primarily mobile-focused, making products shoppable is a vital step for the social media platform and for brands that have a significant following on it.

Twenty popular US retailers have joined the endeavour, predominantly up-market brands such as Michael Kors, Kate Spade New York, Coach, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Hollister. The tags will be initially rolled out to iOS users in the US, but there are definite plans in the works to expand globally. Currently, this is a free service to post to your followers but Instagram plans to monetise the shoppable format by allowing brands to advertise to relevant target groups outside of their followers.

While advertisers have seen success using Instagram ads, only time will tell how users will react to yet another form of advertising. If it does not alienate its original base of photography enthusiasts, it has the potential drive significant ROI from Instagram.

[Infographic] 5 Reasons LinkedIn Advertising is Great for B2B

Infographic LinkedIn Advertising Stats

41% of marketers in B2B put LinkedIn ahead of Facebook as their #1 choice here’s why:

B2B Heavyweight

  • Users engage on LinkedIn for professional networking purposes over social connections
  • 60% of LinkedIn users have clicked on an ad on LinkedIn
  • 332 million users: 30% log in every day and 48% are decision makers

Top 5 Social Channesl for B2B: Effectiveness Rating

  • LinkedIn 66%
  • Twitter 55%
  • YouTube 51%
  • Slideshare 41%
  • Facebook 30%


  • Owner 9%
  • Partner 1%
  • CXO 4%
  • VP 4%
  • Director 6%
  • Senior 24%


B2B Marketers Choose LinkedIn Over Facebook, Felix Richter, Statistica, May 29 (2015)

Facebook vs. LinkedIn: Which is Best for B2B Marketing? Kim McNeil, Lead Agency, July 1 (2015)

Do You Do B2B Social Media? Phil Gerbyshak,, May 15 (2104)

A Guide to the Demographics of LinkedIn Users, (2016)

Want to learn more about B2B Marketing? Download our latest white paper: Your Guide to Successful Digital B2B Marketing 


The Shift in Facebook Sharing

Media sites have been abuzz the past few days with news that Facebook’s heyday has passed; announcing that it’s a waning social media player, eclipsed by Millennial upstarts like Snapchat. What’s caused all this noise?

Recent investigations into Facebook user habits have indicated that the majority of people on the platform have seriously curbed their social sharing – meaning personal posts like photos, status updates, and milestone announcements. Instead, Facebook users have been sharing news articles, weblinks, and videos. Innocuous, and impersonal. Just how deep is the drop? According to Business Insider, personal social sharing fell by as much as 15% over the last  year and Inc. reported an even steeper drop the preceding year of 21% for the 2014-2015 period.

Once the go-to place to share personal life events for many users, Facebook was their photo album, contact list, job board, events hub, and way to keep family and friends connected. So the question remains why the sudden shift and hesitation towards personal sharing?

  • Privacy Concerns: While Facebook does have improved privacy settings, they are difficult to navigate and locate for most users, and are onerous to apply for every single “friend” on your page. In addition, Facebook friend lists themselves no longer feel personal, where they were once the domain of close family members and friends. Fast forward a few years, and people will add you as a “ friend” if they have met you once at a bar, or you may find half-remembered coworkers from three jobs ago counting themselves amongst your 350 “friends”, and one-off acquaintances you made over a long weekend in Miami buried in that list. This expansion of what the term “friend” actually means has caused people to be more careful about what they post.
  • Facebook is about Facebook: Users have also been quick to catch onto the fact that Facebook is now about Facebook, not the user experience, no matter how much they claim to be constantly trying to improve feeds and content. It has become a home for brand content and users don’t feel the relationship is reciprocal, they are not getting a good deal. Inc’s Bureau Chief, Jeff Bercovici recently said,“The massive decline in personal sharing is a sign that large numbers of people have started to figure out that the value they get out of Facebook is a lot less than the value they put in.” 

This could sound off putting to advertisers, but this is only one side of a two headed coin. Facebook users are now more likely to share branded content than personal posts in the form of news articles, videos, and informative links. With this being the case, the shift is something brands can capitalise on so long as it is non-intrusive and provides value-added information. Publishers can also ensure that content is professional and of good quality; i.e., post your best pieces, share your most popular and engaging stories. Facebook has been prioritising quality over quantity for some time now, penalising click-bait posts and rewarding brands that give something back to the user in the form of relevant, interesting and engaging material.

Furthermore, in addition to the shrinking personal profile information, Facebook primarily uses to channels for advertisement targeting: online search behaviour, and third party data. This leaves advertisers with incredibly accurate, granular data targeting options outside of being solely reliant on what users are willing to post to their pages.

Ultimately, a reduction in personal social sharing does not mean the end of Facebook, in fact user numbers have been increasing inspite of the noise around the platform saying it is past its prime. At the end of January 2016, Tech Crunch reported that Facebook had hit 1.59 billion users and growing. 80% of their revenue now is via mobile advertising, and mobile-only users have shot up by 13.2% from last quarter. These are respectable results indicating that it’s far from over for Facebook.


Using Data more Effectively with Facebook Custom Audiences

As advertisers strive to reach the audiences, and re-engage former users, Facebook has simplified this process. Using Facebook Custom Audiences, advertisers can reach old and new users in one fell swoop.

What are Custom Audiences?
Armed with a list of email addresses or phone numbers (CRM data), advertisers can upload the information as a CSV or TXT file into Facebook’s advertising platform, create a custom audience and target those individuals with relevant ads across Facebook. Information can also be captured from a website or mobile app using Facebook tags. Data collected on user site activity can then be segmented into different groups, such as users visiting specific products but failing to purchase.

Tapping into New Audiences
Instead of bombarding random users with irrelevant ads, Facebook offers a smart alternative to growing potential customer base through lookalike audiences. Lookalike audiences use custom audience data to reach out to similar users that are relevant to your business on Facebook.

Lookalike audiences can be based off the data collected from people who: like your page, have visited your website, are part of the demographic you care about, or live in/are visiting your desired location. Advertisers can also focus on milestone/life events such as weddings, new homes, or a new baby, or even target specific preferences, such as dog lovers, fitness buffs, and coffee aficionados.

Re-engaging with Former Customers
Consumers are far more likely to buy from a brand they have previously purchased from, making Custom Audiences an efficient means of making your advertising budget go further. You only spend money on people you know are more likely to convert, rather than casting a wide net and wasting ad spend on people who aren’t your target demographic, or interested in your products or services.

Benefits of Facebook Custom Audiences

  • Reach Relevant New Users – for those trying to expand their customer base, lookalike audiences, are an incredibly powerful tool. Target new people who have a similar user profile to your current customers, indicating a higher propensity to purchase the products or services your business offers.
  • Increase page likes – get more people to notice your brand.
  • Selling/Upgrading a product – capture users who have purchased an item or service and market accessories or extras that they may find useful.
  • Reach users who don’t open your emails – many people automatically delete product emails or send them to a junk folder never to be seen again. By using Facebook’s Custom Audiences, you can capture this user when they are on Facebook by putting the product or service from your email in front of them in their news feed.
  • Remind your audience of a call-to-action – remind users to continue with an action they may have forgotten about in their email.
  • Turn free trial/“freemium” users into subscribers – show freemium users the extras available to them in their Facebook newsfeed – let them know the features they’re missing out available via subscription.
  • Promote contests – have a contest in the wings? Capture interest with customer who you want interacting with your event through Custom Audience targeting.
  • Encourage customer feedback when launching new products or services – ask your custom audience to respond to the survey on your latest product by offering an incentive like a “freebie”, or discount on their next purchase as a thank you for participating.
  • Enhance email marketing efforts – catch people in their inboxes, and on social media, doubling you chances for interaction.

Points to Remember

  • For website and mobile created custom audiences, users are only kept in the group for a maximum of 180 days, unless they revisit the site or use the mobile app again.
  • Lookalike audiences can only use people located in one country at a time.

Want More? Read our two white papers on how to use Facebook more effectively and Turning Big Data into Smart Data.

Facebook Releases Canvas Ads for Mobile

Facebook recently launched yet another interactive, and vibrant ad platform: Canvas. Hot on the heels of it’s roll-out of Carousel Ads last year, Facebook has gone the extra mile for advertisers, and users with a new innovative, and immersive, ad experience. Big name brands such as Target, Wendy’s and Netflix, have been quick jump on-board and build stunning ad platforms.

Benefits to advertisers: Effective Mobile Ads
As most mobile ads are intrusive and provide little to no value or relevancy to the user, advertisers should endeavour to provide an actionable experience for consumers.

Canvas frees advertisers from restrictive ad measures and gives brands more creative control. The ad are easy to construct and implement. Advertisers can build beautiful, fluid ads using videos, stills, and calls-to-action that feel native and seamless. It also makes it less likely for users to abandon the ads. Cumbersome, clunky ads and slow load times have been cited as the main reasons potential customers abandon a website.

The biggest benefit seems to lie in retail, where the platform has the ability to become another quick access point shopping channel. Amy Worley, VML’s Managing Director of Channel Activation, suggested, “An ad format like this has the potential to become much more of a shopping experience.”

Canvas ads are a marked improvement on Carousel and autoplay ads. They are customisable and open quickly from a click on the Facebook newsfeed straight into an immersive experience.

Benefits to Users: Mobile, Fast, and User Friendly
The platform is tailored to mobile, and the ads are designed to be visually appealing, all whilst being built to load ten times faster than traditional web pages. This makes the platform fast and rewarding. Canvas is beautifully designed, and easy to navigate, making it an enjoyable experience.

Benefits to Facebook
It’s not just advertisers and mobile users that benefit from this new ad platform, Facebook will reap plenty of rewards because the entire ad experience remains squarely within Facebook’s platform. There are fewer links leading out – much like what we saw with publishers using Facebook’s Instant Articles.

Facebook will also see a nice bump in revenue as this rich media platform entices marketers to increase their ad spend to get in on the latest ad trend. Mobile comprises 73% of Facebook’s ad revenue so it’s no small wonder that they are keen to push this format out to brands.

4 Strategies to Get Creatives Noticed on Facebook

Facebook’s robust ad platform has the audience numbers and in-depth metrics that can help marketers drive real value to their advertising strategy. With so much happening on a single user’s newsfeed, it can be hard be heard above the noise. Advertisers have a split second to capture a viewer’s attention before they move on; if your message isn’t succinct, eye-catching and relevant, you’ve lost potential revenue. So how do you stand out on Facebook’s advertising platform?

 Video Ads

Facebook videos now get more reach than any other post. It is a real growth point for advertisers and has made a serious dent in YouTube’s monopoly on video advertising recently surpassing YouTube’s 7 billion daily video views by 1 billion. Brands interested in advertising on Facebook would be wise to take video ads seriously as a format to push their message ahead in creative, visual and memorable ways.

In addition, Facebook are favourable towards video advertisers. Auto play, and the launch of captioning for video ads, have made this marketing format accessible and more effective than ever to implement. 47% of Facebook users exclusively log into the social media site via mobile where 65% of Facebook video views occur. Video formats have to be adjusted for not only “viewability”, but for non-audio moments to capture attention quickly while scrolling through a feed.


Testing Visuals: The Right Image

Don’t make assumptions about what constitutes a “good image” for your Facebook ad campaign. Your personal preferences hold little weight here, it’s all about testing. Test several images to reveal the one that gets the most engagement and the most ROI. Jason Keath, CEO of Social Fresh offers this sage piece of advice, “When you have the ability to put a dozen or two images out there to test and see which image performs better, do it. You save money in the long run and create an ad that will get noticed more and create more clicks”

Getting the “Buy-In”: Why Should I Click?

It isn’t enough anymore to dump a picture on Facebook and hope for engagement. Your video, photo, or link, have to quickly tell the viewer why they should click on your ad. According to Hubspot’s Amanda Sibley, a good Facebook creative strategy includes not only a captivating image, but a clear reason that the person should visit your website, buy your product, or use your service. The ad needs to be believable and feel native and not intrusive. Back up your claims with text like “over 1 million happy customers!”, and last, but not least, have a clear call-to-action that conveys a sense of urgency.


Keep it Fresh

Consumers scroll rapidly through Facebook’s newsfeed and seeing the same ad day in, and day out, no matter how clever, can cause ad fatigue. If you have an ad that’s worked exceptionally well in the past, recycle it – use it as the springboard for ads that stem from the same value proposition. Split testing ads will help here – use an aspect of what made the ad successful and test from there. Same premise, different delivery in order to keep your audience interested and engaged.

Using Carousel Ads is another way to keep your messaging fresh. If you have images and copy that has worked, change it up by rotating your offer with different images of several items, or an in depth set of photos detailing one product.


To remain ahead of the pack, increase revenue and encourage meaningful engagement, advertisers need to adjust their marketing strategies to capture interest and offer relevant solutions and services to users rapidly scrolling through their Facebook feeds.


Inside Instagram Advertising

Instagram has moved into the advertising arena and doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of slowing down. Since Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, Instagram has launched a variety of ad formats, including the recent addition of the direct response “Shop Now” button, allowing users to make a purchase, sign up on a website, or download an app all without ever having to leave the app. Brands looking for a way to enhance their social media advertising may want to try this highly visual, and mobile-centric advertising platform.

Why Advertise on Instagram?

Instagram has 400 million users worldwide, 80 million photos are shared on Instagram every day resulting in an impressive 3.5 billion likes daily. Advertisers, especially in industries like retail, fashion, food and travel, would want to capitalise on this visual format to capture a new and rapidly growing market segment.

Instagram is also a unique platform as its advertising is exclusively mobile. While you can log in via desktop or tablet to view your photos, the functionality, content creation, and user experience of the app remains purely in your hand.  Instagram’s founders intend to keep it that way; when the app was launched in October 2010, it was built to be a strictly mobile experience; to capture micro-moments in your day and share them with others in the blink of an eye.

It seems they were ahead of the game, with the explosion of smartphone use over the past several years, Instagram’s mobile-only platform has boosted its appeal to advertisers ten-fold. Instead of being a sad, ugly cousin to bigger, more robust platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which have tried to improve user interaction with desktop and tablet versions, Instagram is happy to remain the king of mobile in its advertising endeavours.

Who Is Instagram’s demographic?

While Facebook has been trending towards a more mature audience, i.e., 35 and older, 53% of Instagram users are between 18-29 years of age. Over 200 million of its users fall into this age bracket. Instagram also tends to be popular among higher income youth and mobile users.

Getting Started

If you already use Facebook advertising then getting started with Instagram is easy. If not, the creation of Instagram ads requires an advertiser to have a Facebook page although they are not required to have an Instagram account.

Step 1: Select an objective

Similar to Facebook, Instagram objectives include items such as, send people to your website or reach people near your business. Currently, there is no ability to run a campaign with a conversion objective though that functionality is in the pipeline.

Step 2: Set audience and budget

Targeting options are identical to Facebook’s though for Instagram ads consider targeting popular hashtags. The proper use of hashtags has the ability to increase in the number of interactions per post.

Step 3: Choose ad creative

For most objectives you can choose from either of the following formats:

Single Image or Video Ads

The traditional ad format is the single image ad, which displays a single image with a description and a call-to-action button. The standard Instagram ad format can also include video content. Advertisers can reach Instagram’s massive audience in an appealing and interactive way, with thirty second snippets.

instagram ad format

Video is becoming a strong marketing contender for the visual platform, and puts Instagram in direct competition with video advertising giants, YouTube. Video ads are particularly useful for teasers, whether it’s a new movie, the creation of a recipe, or even a retailer’s latest fashion line up.

Multiple Image Ads

Multiple Image ads, also known as Carousel ads, function like a magazine for mobile; viewers on the go browsing through their Instagram streams can now turn into shoppers after viewing an enticing, and beautifully crafted, series of ads.

Carousel ads provide advertisers with a new way to serve ads to potential consumers. Brands can share up to five images of their products or services with viewers, with a link to their website or a call to action, such as “Learn More”, “Shop Now”, or “Install Now”, on the final picture. Advertisers can use images of multiple products, allowing them to tell a story, or keep it simple by focusing on one item with varying shots to showcase a product’s special features.

“Shop Now” Buttons

In mid-2015, Instagram launched “Shop Now” buttons, a direct response feature that allows the viewer to take marketable action. This was big news, as previously Instagram ads didn’t allows for external links in their advertisements. The transition is seamless, allowing visitors to shop, download, and signup without ever leaving the Instagram platform.

Case Study

Papa John’s: Driving Instant Results with Instagram

Papa John's Instagram AdObjectives

Global pizza company, Papa John’s, looked to take advantage of Instagram’s popular and visually appealing platform to gain new customers through exploring an alternative channel, and to find a new path to conversion. NMPi helped tailor and promote their sponsored ads on Instagram.


Facebook and Instagram have the same targeting capabilities, allowing NMPi analysts to employ a complementary targeting strategy to their highly successful Papa John’s Facebook campaigns. To reach Papa John’s target market, NMPi used specific targeting segments including, fans of Papa John’s, students, look-a-likes, and users interested in pizza.

Creative design is an incredibly important aspect of Instagram’s advertising campaigns. Papa John’s creative combines the ability to invoke hunger, with a tantalising promotional offer: £10 off when you spend £25 or more. This creative, paired with a strong call-to-action button, worked to make purchase easier for users.


During the month of November, NMPi saw return on ad spend increase month-on-month by more than 44% due to NMPi’s optimisation strategy. With a set objective to increase clicks-to-website, the click through rate increased by 22% compared to our similar campaign on Facebook.


Facebook and Instagram’s New Holiday 2015 Behaviour Segment

With Christmas fast approaching, Black Friday less than a week away, and online shopping on the rise, retailers are heavily focused on maximising their digital advertising sales this holiday season.

A recent survey by The National Retail Federation shows that the average person plans to carry out 46% of their browsing and buying online. As the world’s largest social network, it is no surprise that Facebook has rolled out a new ad-targeting segment called ‘Holiday 2015,’ aimed specifically at people who are engaging in the holiday season.

This new segment will be available between 26th November and New Year’s Day on both Facebook and Instagram. You will find the ‘Holiday 2015’ ad-targeting option within the ‘Behaviours’ category under ‘Seasonal and Events’.

Facebook Holiday Targeting

These Facebook users are identified by picking out holiday-related keywords, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, in posts which they have published, commented on, liked or shared. Facebook will take into account users who interact with these posts the most, with the audience remaining aggregated and anonymised.

This is not the first time Facebook has utilised real-time conversations. Earlier this year, the Big Game targeting segment was introduced for the Super Bowl. It will be interesting to see how advertisers use the Holiday 2015 segment in comparison; especially with so much hype around the Black Friday period.

For advertisers looking to take advantage of the holiday season traffic, we highly recommend using this segment in the run up to Christmas by testing it overlaid with their usual targeting options. Users engaging positively with keywords like Black Friday and Cyber Monday on Facebook show a higher propensity to buy, and will likely result in a higher CTR and conversion rate. However, advertisers cannot rely too heavily on this ad segment alone, it must be used alongside strong messaging and enticing creatives. Consider using it in conjunction with Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads.

Facebook Has Introduced New Features for Local Advertising

With the aim of making advertising easier for local businesses, Facebook introduced local awareness ads in the US in October 2014, and rolled them out to the UK and other territories last summer. Local Awareness is one of Facebook’s campaign objectives; it can target people when they are within a certain distance of a store if they have location services enabled on their device.

In a recent article from Facebook, they outlined eight reasons these ads can benefit businesses:

  • Encourage consumers to shop in store
  • Increase local brand awareness
  • Help specific stores meet their sales targets
  • Tell consumers about new store locations and grand openings
  • Get the right individuals to your event
  • Tell consumers in the area about current events
  • Build buzz by rallying local communities
  • Spread the word about local promotions

With mobile advertising becoming increasingly important, it is not surprising that Facebook is rolling out new features in this area. Since the launch of local awareness ads, Facebook has introduced new call-to-action options in addition to the ‘Get Directions’, ‘Learn More’ and ‘Like Page’ buttons originally available. These include a ‘Call Now’ button and a ‘Send Message’ button, enabling customers and businesses to connect immediately.

On the 6th November, Facebook announced two new developments: Multiple Store Locations and Local Insights.

Multiple Store Locations

This feature makes Local Awareness campaigns easier for businesses with numerous stores.  Advertisers using the Locations for Pages tool to manage multiple store Pages will be able to target individuals who are near any one of their stores, and serve them with a location-specific ad.

There are three main benefits:

  • Customers are shown highly relevant ads: based on the information from the store Pages, location-specific ad copy, links and call-to-action buttons can be inserted into the ad.
  • Simpler ad targeting: businesses can choose which stores to show ads for using the addresses attached to their store Pages.
  • Performance Analytics: Advertisers will also be able to analyse the performance of each store using location-specific ad reports.

Local Insights

In addition, Facebook augmenting the Page Insights section; a Local Insights tab will be coming out soon. This tool uses data from devices with location services enabled to show overall demographics and trends relating to users near a store. It allows businesses to find out:

  • The area’s busiest times of day and days of the week
  • Demographics of the people nearby (such as age, gender, tourists and local residents)
  • The percentage of people nearby who have seen the ad

These trends will help advertisers form a balance between reaching a larger percentage of people nearby and accomplishing their goals by targeting the right people at the right time.


Facebook says: “Updates to Local Awareness Ads are now available globally through the API and will soon be available in Power Editor. Local insights are rolling out to Pages in the US starting today and over the coming weeks.”

The Multiple Store Locations feature as well as Local Insights will not only support businesses with local advertising, they support Facebook’s growing mobile advertising revenue which made up 78% of its total ad revenue in Q3 of 2015.

However, according to a recent survey by mobile location network Skyhook Wireless, nearly 40% of mobile users are hesitant to share their location data due to privacy concerns, not seeing the value in doing so, or battery drainage. As a result, 18% have location services turned off for all their apps and 20% disable location services to avoid ads. Only 25% of those surveyed keep location services turned on for notifications, despite 83% saying that they thought location services are important.

We don’t foresee deactivated location services being detrimental to campaign performance at the moment as advertisers are still reaching individuals with hyper targeted and relevant advertisements. This means while you may be reaching fewer consumers, the impact of these ads will be greater.

Facebook Announces Launch of Atlas, their New Ad Platform

At Net Media Planet’s Digital Breakfast Seminar last week, our client panel discussed cross-channel continuity and how to tackle the omni-channel challenge. Both of these topics are critical to get right for not only our client panel, but also for the wider marketing community.

Less than one week later, Facebook has announced the launch of Atlas, their new Ad Platform, which is designed to tackle these problems head on. Atlas is intended to reach people across devices and bridge the gap between online impression and offline purchases through what they are calling “people-based marketing”.

Facebook previously utilised data from its 1.3 billion users to sell highly targeted advertisements through their social media platform. Now, with Atlas, marketers can harness Facebook’s extensive data across its network of thousands of websites and mobile applications.

There is an expectation that this could cause challenges and increased competition for Google, who currently own nearly one-third of the global digital advertising market. Facebook is taking on the inefficiency of the common cookie by using data that Google doesn’t have access to. Other advertising platforms typically track users’ browsing data through cookies. However, cookies can be unreliable as consumers increasingly switch between or share multiple devices. In fact, multiple cookies can often represent a single person.

What potential benefits does Atlas offer?

– It’s all about the Data: The sheer amount and depth of information is Atlas’ primary advantage. It comes from actual users who have voluntarily divulged their personal information. Atlas allows marketers to choose a “real person” as oppose to a cookie representing a person’s stored behavioral trends. By example, you could target a campaign to women who are 20-35 years of age in London, who are engaged and fans of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. This increase in targeting accuracy could effectively reduce wasted budget.

– Cross-Device Strategies: Where traditional digital advertising strategies often fall short is in their inability to follow users across multiple devices. With Atlas, if a user is logged in to Facebook via their smartphone, ads can be served and tracked to that specific person. This opens up a whole new element to tracking a consumer through the purchasing funnel. Previously, you wouldn’t have been able to determine whether a user has seen your ad on a different device before an online purchase occurred. With many users having multiple devices this has been a challenge for marketers for quite some time.

What questions and concerns might marketers have?

– Online to Offline: Facebook states, “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.” They go on to say that it, “allows advertisers to measure which channels, platforms and publishers within their online campaigns impacted the actual sales that happened in-store.”

These are big claims and we wonder will it be as effective as they say? In terms of targeting, Facebook clearly has some of the most granular data available, however, we are curious to see how they effectively track online impressions to offline purchases. Their description of the process is lacking in detail. Is it possible that Facebook has found a way to bridge one of the biggest gaps marketers face? Only time and extensive usage will tell.

– Privacy Concerns: This has already raised many concerns about the privacy of Facebook users’ information. While Facebook has stated that they never reveal the identity of the consumer, it is+ still creating concern amongst online communities. Many already worry about the amount of their personal information companies can access about them.

Last June Facebook warned users that it would be increasing user tracking for advertising purposes, allowing users to see and change some of the information that had been collected. Is this good enough for the Facebook user or will an even greater number leave to use social sites which promise not to use their information for advertising?


Is Facebook’s Ad Platform the answer to the Omni-Channel challenge?

Facebook certainly has granular targeting capabilities, something that Net Media Planet has taken advantage of in our social media advertising. Furthermore, its ability to effectively connect users across devices is something that fulfils a long-standing marketing challenge. However, there is still much testing to be done and knowledge to be gained before the true effectiveness of Atlas can be evaluated.