Although both are technological giants in their own right Facebook is not a patch on Google when it comes to its advertising platform and revenue from it. However that might be set to change with the revamp of Atlas, the advertising suite they bought from Microsoft last year.
Facebook has re-engineered the product so that its capabilities are far greater than when it was available for Microsoft customers. Where this product may have Google worrying is through its greater degree of targeting and the accuracy with which it can do it. Currently, Google Display Network (GDN) offers broader targeting demographics whereas Atlas will be able to refine person type much further.
They will be able to do this through information gathered from when Facebook users are logged in to the account; browsing data will be available to advertisers rather than relying on cookies through search. This is what Google currently offer their GDN customers, a method which isn’t always accurate on mobile devices.
Because so many Facebook users are permanently logged in, either on their desktop or a mobile device such as their phone, the technology will be able to track and monitor much more comprehensive online activity. This information will be used to help advertisers target specific customer bases for their ads.
Greater penetration of customer information
It’s not simply users’ search behaviour, either. Google are able to offer browsing information to its advertising customers however Facebook will be able to go further than that – the profiles of their users are full of valuable information themselves. Being able to target by gender, marital status, geographical location and much more will mean targeting will be able to penetrate far deeper than happens currently.
Privacy issues for Facebook?
The problem that Facebook might face is in the objections of its users. If it becomes clear (it will need to be incorporated in to its terms and conditions of use) that Facebook are making not just users’ profile information available but their entire online activity history while logged in to Facebook they may face an uproar on their hands.