Facebook confirmed its long-rumored acquisition of Atlas from Microsoft. Rumors of the acquisition first surfaced in December. And yesterday, AdAge reported the acquisition would be announced today.
No price was mentioned, but TechCrunch speculated that the figure was considerably less than $100 million.
Microsoft acquired Atlas when it bought aQuantive in 2007 for more than $6 billion, which was Microsoft’s largest acquisition at the time. Redmond essentially wrote off the full value of the acquisition a year ago.
The primary value of Atlas for Facebook is in proving ROI and attribution. The company hopes that it will help end the debate about the value of Facebook advertising.
Facebook said in a blog post that Atlas would help marketers get “a holistic view of campaign performance” and ultimately, along with other tools, help advertisers “close the loop” with their marketing. According to Facebook’s Brian Boland:
“We plan to improve Atlas’ capabilities by investing in scaling its back-end measurement systems and enhancing its current suite of advertiser tools on desktop and mobile. We will also work to improve the user interface and functionality with the goal of making Atlas the most effective, intuitive, and powerful ad serving, management and measurement platform in the industry. Ultimately, Atlas’s powerful platform, combined with Nielsen and Datalogix, will help advertisers close the loop and compare their Facebook campaigns to the rest of their ad spend across the web on desktop and mobile.
“Our belief is that measuring various touch points in the marketing funnel will help advertisers to see a more complete view of the effectiveness of their campaigns. Acquiring Atlas will be an important step towards achieving this goal.”
Facebook’s Custom Audiences product and its related third-party data deals (announced yesterday) are part of this larger project to provide a complete, online-to-offline marketing solution and greater visibility into ROI for its advertisers.