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March 26, 2013
Facebook's Emerging Ad Sales Strategy
 
If you pay attention, you can begin to see Facebook’s ad sales strategy coming together.
 
The announcement that Facebook is buying Atlas from Microsoft comes on the heels of Facebook’s announcement of big data alliances. The pieces of Facebook’s future advertising juggernaut are emerging.
 
First, figure out how to better engage advertisers by cross-tabbing and de-duping their CRM databases with Facebook fan bases so they can plan ads and campaigns more effectively. Second, align with big data suppliers to enable segmentation building, intense precise targeting, and personalization. Third, use the Atlas infrastructure to build more ways to dice and slice Facebook audiences and to serve Facebook ads with better precision and metrics. The game plan directly addresses the biggest objections in AdLand.
 
The Atlas buy feels like a play to accelerate building infrastructure rather than developing a new third-party ad-serving revenue stream. The value of Atlas, widely considered second tier behind Google’s Doubleclick platform, is a head start on proving the impact and value of Facebook ads to a growing number of skeptical advertisers. With Atlas in hand, Facebook programmers and strategists can start modifying and adding onto an existing platform, which will give them something to brag about and sell more inventory sooner. 
 
The combination of these three moves will allow Facebook to answer many of the outstanding questions on targeting, impact, metrics, and ROI by big-name advertisers who have embraced social media advertising tepidly.
 
Data-centricity will fuel better targeting, tighter message strategies, and the ability to drive sales in real time. The mother lode of data emerging from the combination of sources, not to mention Facebook profiles, will yield a huge competitive edge in identifying likely prospects, building propensity-to-buy models, scheduling ads, and forecasting or driving sales in real time.
 
Add this information to growing opportunities for advertisers to track conversion events like registrations or checkouts and the possibly inadvertent slip exposing a new metric called “return value” and you might get the idea that at Facebook, social media is morphing into direct and database marketing.

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Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.
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