Facebook Ad Platform Expands User Tracking Across Devices

Danger Social networkDetails emerged this week about Facebook’s new ad platform that will focus on cross-device advertising to users. The new platform, Atlas, will “deliver people-based marketing,” according to Atlas head Erik Johnson, and will reportedly move away from traditional cookie tracking technology to trace users across the web. Instead, it was built on a whole new set of code that measures ad impressions everywhere a user goes — and across every device. It was designed with an easier interface that makes tracking data easier for media planners, and it can even help companies connect the impact of their online marketing to real-world, offline sales.

While this level of in-depth analysis will certainly feel invasive to some, Facebook was quick to point out that advertisers won’t know the identities of any one user.

“This year we did people-based privacy controls, and we’re doing people-based marketing,” Facebook CFO Sheryl Sandberg said. “This doesn’t tell marketers who you are, and when Atlas uses Facebook data it honors the Facebook preferences of the user.”

Though the identities of users will be protected on Atlas, virtually none of their online purchasing habits will be. Most Facebook users have shown a remarkable tolerance for the site’s data policies in the past, and that’s unlikely to change now. However, for the vocal minority of users that already question the site’s dedication to user privacy, Atlas will only serve as the latest disappointing evidence for their case.