Frank Sinton
Mar 23, 2016 · 2 min read

Facebook’s Atlas Won’t Be Lifting Up Advertising Banners, Exchanges

Not that desktop-bound, cookie-fueled banners and exchanges needed more piling on from advertising critics, but one of the biggest platforms out there, Facebook, just piled on in a big way.

In a recent blog post, one of the online giant’s top ad-tech executives talked about testing the company did around its Atlas offering, and why they decided not to build in demand-side component based on the rampant problems they found.

In doing the testing, Head of Ad Tech Dave Jakubowski wrote: “We were able to deliver ads to real people with unprecedented accuracy, but came up against many bad ads and fraud (like bots). While we were fortunately able to root out the bad actors and only buy quality ads, we were amazed by the volumes of valueless inventory. Only two ad formats delivered significant value: native and video.”

That last sentence is particularly important: Only native and video advertising delivered significant value on the buying platform they were testing. Most fraud and wasted ad buys came from exchanges and banner ads. And when the company shut off low-performing publishers, it cut overall volume by a whopping 75 percent.

As an aside, these low-quality ads helped fueled the adoption of ad blocker software. So many users get so frustrated with their experience that they want to turn it all off.

But the real point here, one I’ve written about before, is that cookies are crumbling. They’re just not a great tool for knowing your audience.

In an increasingly mobile world where interactions are mostly through apps, cookies are headed to the ash heap of history. With apps plus smartphones, we can know about a user’s gender, age and location with so much more accuracy than desktop cookies.

And yet, as Jakubowski wrote: “Many marketers still choose to deliver and measure their ad campaigns using desktop-first tools that are not built for a cross-device world — and they’ve got the wasted spend to show for it.”

Programmatic mobile display ads are expected to pass desktop advertising this year, at more than $9.3 billion, according to eMarketer. And video is projected to hit $2.2 billion.

Facebook is quickly adapting to the world that’s coming, leaving behind desktop- and cookie-driven ad technologies for the mobile- and video-driven world that’s coming. When will your business do the same?

Contact me when your business is read to talk mobile video.

By Frank Sinton, Founder and CEO of Beachfront Media

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