Facebook today formally announced a long-rumored deal to acquire Microsoft’s Atlas Solutions division today and that its interest in the technology stack boils down to measurement.
Ad Age previously reported that Facebook had agreed to buy the ad-serving business, which Microsoft had busily been seeking a buyer for over the past six months. Microsoft has acknowledged that it’s looking to focus on developing the ad business for its owned and operated products like xBox and Windows 8, not on its ad tech.
The deal price was not disclosed, and the parties would only say that a “commercial agreement” will be put in place whereby Microsoft will continue to buy its own ads through Atlas. The price had been expected to be less than $100 million, based on prior bids for Atlas, which were in the $30 to $50 million range.
Facebook is formally announcing its partnership with data behemoths Acxiom, Epsilon and Datalogix to target ads to users based on their recent in-store purchases.
Ad Age reported last week that the social network was already beta-testing the product — which will enable brands to match data gathered through shopper loyalty programs to individual Facebook profiles for ad targeting on the platform — with top agency partners like OMD. Aimed at CPG marketers, it would hypothetically would enable Pampers to deliver ads to Facebook users who have recently purchased baby products, or Coca-Cola to market to teenagers in Atlanta who’ve bought soda in the past month.
The targeting will function through anonymized matching of loyalty-program members and Facebook users through email addresses and phone numbers. Holders of loyalty cards from retailers are asked for their email or phone number when they register, and Facebook users sign into the site using one or the other, and a match between two corresponding data points needs to be detected to enable delivery of an ad.