Facebook's utilities include its recently expanded Audience Network, an ad serving platform for mobile apps; LiveRail, a technology platform for video ads that Facebook acquired last summer; and Atlas, the ad platform it acquired from Microsoft and rebuilt so marketers can measure and manage all of their digital campaigns.
With Atlas, Facebook is trying to solve two industry-wide problems: bringing mobile marketing up to speed with mobile usage and reaching the right people with the right ads, according to Erik Johnson, who runs sales and service for Atlas.
"Mobile marketing hasn't kept pace with the usage of mobile," Johnson says. "People are tired of seeing bad ads, and they see bad ads because they're not targeted the right way."
Mark Trefgarne, former CEO of LiveRail and current director of product management for the ad platform at Facebook, says this disconnect is stems from a hesitance to embrace new technologies and approaches.
"Right now we're in a world where we think mobile is substantially underrepresented," Reframe says. "It's a case of changing decades-old practices to make sure they keep pace with where people spend their time."
With Facebook Users' Time Comes Responsibility
Boland says Facebook feels a sense of responsibility for the time that people spend on the site. "That time is going to have a portion of their lives taken up with marketing messages and advertising," he says. "I feel a responsibility to make that time is really worth their while."
When asked about competitors, Jakubowski immediately mentioned Google and Seismic and specified a set of weaknesses that he thinks will serve as competitive advantages for Facebook.
"We have without question the largest real-name identity platform on the planet, so there's nobody who can do it at exactly our scale," Jakubowski says, noting that Google is working to address this problem and is expected to release something related in the near future.
Jakubowski cites Amazon, Twitter and Salesforce as companies with notable data assets, but he also said those companies still aren't on Facebook's level. "You're talking a couple hundred million against 1.3 billion" monthly active users on Facebook today, he says.
The media session at Facebook's sprawling campus along the San Francisco Bay ended on the topic of privacy, and more specifically, a line that Facebook doesn't want to cross.
"We want to make sure that targeting is valuable and additive, and not creepy," Boland says. "The tools that we create [could let] marketers to do things that would be uncomfortable for a person."
Facebook provides details at the bottom of each ad on why users see specific ads and gives them controls to see more of less of those ads in the future. However, this solution to privacy concerns may seem lacking to some.
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