The re-launch of Atlas, the acquisition of LiveRail and the launch of point to Facebook’s emergence as a key player in the digital advertising market. Facebook’s network/adtech initiatives will emerge as a key theme in 2015.
What is Atlas?
Atlas is an ad server and measurement platform that helps marketers and advertisers create digital advertising campaigns. Atlas was founded in 2001 inside digital ad agency Razorfish, later renamed aQuantive, was acquired by Microsoft in 2007 for $6.3bn (shortly following Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick). And, last year, Facebook acquired the Atlas business from Microsoft reportedly for $50mn. At one point Atlas was considered to have roughly 50% market share in the ad agency section in the U.S. ( DoubleClick’s DART being the other large player), though this share is considered to have declined meaningfully in recent years as the business was bought and sold a few times. Atlas today is still a relevant platform in the sector and operates in more than 24 markets globally with dedicated support.
Atlas’ technology platform serves two purposes: 1) Atlas is an ad server that enables ad agencies and advertisers manage their online ad campaigns; and 2) Atlas is a measurement platform that enables these same clients to leverage data in order to optimize their campaigns. Atlas will reduce the risk that a key competitor, Google, owns the primary platform (Google Bid Manager and DoubleClick for Advertisers) by which most agencies and advertisers manage their digital ad campaigns. Also, when coupled with Facebook’s sources of ad inventory (Facebook, Instagram, LiveRail, Facebook Audience Network). The Atlas platform supports all ad formats including search, video, and display and digital channels like mobile and desktop.
What is LiveRail ?
LiveRail, a Facebook company, is a leading publisher monetization platform for Video, which uses real-time bidding platforms to monetize more than 7 billion video impressions per month for website and mobile app publishers like the MLB, ABC etc Sometimes referred to as an SSP (supply-side platform), LiveRail provides premium publishers with the technology infrastructure to sell their video inventory smarter and safer, across all devices (e.g., mobile and desktops). It also enables users to forecast, buy, and report on campaigns in both private and public video ad exchanges using RTB and multifaceted audience data.
For advertisers and video ad networks, LiveRail provides network management capabilities in a real-time video ad serving platform to manage and buy video advertising campaigns across large pools of dynamic inventory, whether through direct publisher relationships or via the major real-time biddable exchanges.
Given Facebook’s competitive advantages in the areas of audience data/targeting/reach and in mobile, and given the quality of the adtech assets and people it’s assembled, we believe FB has an opportunity to develop a multi-billion dollar incremental revenue stream in this area.