Facebook acquires Microsoft's Atlas advertising platform

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Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has acquired Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Atlas Advertising Suite, a move to help marketers more effectively manage and measure campaigns across the social network's mobile and desktop properties. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed; Microsoft purchased aQuantive, the firm behind the Atlas technology, for $6.2 billion in 2007, but AdAge suggests Facebook paid out less than $100 million.

The Atlas Advertising Suite encompasses a range of tools and plug-ins designed to track all phases of campaign performance. "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," said Brian Boland, director of monetization product marketing, in a Facebook blog post. "Ultimately, [the platform] 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."

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Boland said Facebook has no plans to offer ads beyond its own platform. "[The Atlas deal] is not any step toward an ad network," he said.

Last month, Facebook reported fourth-quarter revenues of $1.59 billion: Mobile advertising efforts accounted for 23 percent of the company's total advertising revenues, up from 14 percent in the previous quarter. Facebook's revenue outlook should improve throughout 2013, according to Aaron Kessler, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates. "Given the early positive feedback and traction from Mobile and News Feed… we believe Facebook is poised for strong ad revenue growth," Kessler said in a January research note.

For more:
- read this Facebook Newsroom post
- read this Bloomberg News article

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