Facebook Buys Microsoft's Atlas Ad Service

The social network hopes to expand its share of the digital advertising market.

Facebook has announced that it purchased the Atlas digital ad service from Microsoft for an undisclosed sum. The social network says Atlas's analysis tools will be a boon to its advertising business.

The Wall Street Journal's Shira Ovide and Evelyn M. Rusli reported, "Facebook Inc. said Thursday it agreed to buy digital-advertising service Atlas from Microsoft Corp., as the social network continues to feed its ambitions to rival Google Inc. in online advertising. The acquisition by Facebook highlights the diverging digital-advertising fortunes of it and Microsoft. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed."

Janet I. Tu with The Seattle Times explained, "Seattle-based Atlas is a digital media measurement platform; it provides measurement, analytical and management tools for ad campaigns and marketing agencies. Atlas was part of digital ad company aQuantive, which Microsoft had purchased for $6.3 billion in 2007. Last year, Microsoft took a $6.2 billion writedown for aQuantive."

Bloomberg's Brian Womack and Dina Bass observed, "Facebook, owner of the world’s largest social-networking service, is seeking to accelerate revenue, which is projected by analysts to slow for a fourth straight year in 2013. Atlas will help in challenging Google, which gained ad-serving technology in its $3.24 billion purchase of DoubleClick in 2008. Google will have 18 percent of the U.S. display-ad market in 2013, compared with Facebook’s 15 percent, according to EMarketer Inc."

In the blog post announcing the deal, Facebook's Brian Boland wrote, "Today's marketing environment is much more complex than it was just a few short years ago. Marketers and agencies struggle to understand how their efforts across different channels complement and strengthen each other. Consequently, they are forced to adopt siloed marketing strategies for each channel, leading to poor and inconsistent end-user experiences. This challenge also provides an opportunity. If marketers and agencies can get a holistic view of campaign performance, they will be able to do a much better job of making sure the right messages get in front of the right people at the right time. Atlas has built capabilities that allow for this kind of measurement, and enhancing these systems will give marketers a deeper understanding of effectiveness and lead to better digital advertising experiences for consumers."

Tags: Facebook, Microsoft, advertising, merger and acquistion activity

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