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Facebook introduces video ad serving to Atlas, rolls out path of purchase product


By Ronan Shields, Digital Editor

March 7, 2016 | 4 min read

Facebook is pressing ahead with its Atlas rollout launching several tools including a video ad serving product, plus tools enabling brands to better understand their customers’ paths to conversion across screens. It comes amid a wider global PR-drive for its publisher offering, namely its Instant Articles and eLearning products.

First up, Facebook today (7 March) announced the launch of a video ad serving, which it claims makes it easier for brands to tell their stories across devices within the Atlas platform. The social network claims that its previous video experiments have demonstrated that native video ad formats are the best performing on its network, with mobile an increasingly important platform for advertisers.

In addition, it is also announcing the launch of ‘Offline Actions’, a measurement tool which it claims helps advertisers using Atlas to tie together offline sales to online ad spend. Advertisers who measure their ads with Atlas can now upload their point-of-sale (POS) data and understand how their online ads are influencing offline purchases.

The rapid growth of digital video, combined with evolving consumption habits across devices, makes this one of the most valuable formats in a marketer’s toolkit, according to Dave Jakubowski, head of ad tech at Facebook.

In a blog post announcing the launch, he added: “We’re also working with advertisers on Path to Conversion (by device reporting) to provide insight into all the ways real people — not cookies — see ads across multiple devices before making a conversion.

“Other path to conversion solutions rely on cookie-based reporting, but Atlas is based on real people - which allows advertisers to see the real path across desktop, tablet, and mobile prior to online conversion."

Jakubowski said the changes in the platform were brought about by experiments over the past year (since the relaunch of Atlas), and that they were chiefly dominated by Facebook’s observations on how to identify and measure where most waste in online media spend comes from, nominally exchanges and banner ads. This was behind the rolling back of its LiveRail ad serving business, and the culling of three quarters of publishers on its network.

Speaking with The Drum, Brian Boland, global head of Atlas, said Facebook had experimented with the prospect of launching a demand-side platform (DSP) – as had been reported previously been widely in the trade press – but instead it had decided to take a fresher approach.

Instant Articles tie-up with WordPress

In addition, Facebook is today also announcing a tie-up with popular content management system (CMS) WordPress in a bid to get even more publishers using its supply-side offering to repurpose their content for its Instant Articles.

To date, publishers creating Instant Articles have had to create custom RSS feeds that work with their CMS in order to repurpose their content for Instant Articles, but the latest plugin means this is now less complicated.

Chris Ackermann, partner, engineering at Facebook, made the announcement earlier today.

“A few weeks ago, we announced that Instant Articles will be open to all publishers—of any size, anywhere in the world—by Facebook’s F8 conference, taking place on April 12, 2016,” he said.

“The open-source WordPress publishing platform now powers more than 25 per cent of sites on the web, so we are excited to help millions of publishers all over the world bring the Instant Articles experience to their readers.

“We’ve worked with a small group of publishers on WordPress to beta test the plugin as a seamless way to adapt web content for the Instant Articles format, with a built-in suite of interactive tools that help stories come to life on mobile."

Facebook rolls out eLearning platform

Finally, Facebook announced this week that it is also expanding the number of languages its BluePrint eLearning is available on in the hope that it will make the social network the first port of call for advertisers in developing economies.

Having previously only been available in English in the US and Europe, it is available in six new languages including German, Portuguese, Korean, Spanish, Japanese and Mandarin.

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