Extract: Facebook announced Atlas, a new technology to target consumers with paid ads across networks and devices, reminding marketers just how important segmenting and targeting is to online ROI.

One of the most valuable ways to target content marketing campaigns is to track users across the web. Unfortunately, that’s often easier said than done with technology that struggles to follow consumers from desktops to smartphones. Enter Atlas, Facebook’s newly revamped paid ad platform tool that could have massive implications for the future of targeting web users with content.

The revamped Atlas code is designed to improve upon current methods for tracking customers and different audience segments aren’t completely reliable.

Giving segmented audience the content they want

Atlas is based on Facebook’s background-matching technology to provide people with videos, blogs and other content they’re actually likely to engage with.

While not all brands need to rush out and join the Atlas network, there are important features it records that marketers should be looking at, including:

 Impressions: Engagement is important, but it doesn’t effectively demonstrate exactly how many people are viewing content.
 Cross-channel populations: Between the walled garden of Facebook, the unreliability of cookies on mobile and the fickle nature of some web users, it’s essential for marketers to find reliable methods for tracking people as they move from social content to blog posts and back to other devices.
 Content targeting: Knowing which content is popular with one group allows brands to share more of the same with a similar demographic. With content retargeting, marketers can better understand where content will perform best.

What’s wrong with cookies, anyway?

Facebook believes that cookies aren’t a reliable method for following web users from one site to another or across devices.

In theory, cookies should work perfectly fine on mobile, but in reality, there are often complications that further twist the buyer’s journey – at least, from the perspective of marketers. According to research by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, cookie tracking sometimes comes apart when users move back and forth between mobile apps. This can often skew advertising metrics and throw off targeting strategies. Thus, Facebook created Atlas to circumvent those inabilities and gives its ad network better targeting.

Atlas and Facebook are (obviously) keeping mum about the exact details of their tracking and profile building strategy, but above all, their emphasis is on using behavior, to build relevant audience pools. Stay tuned, and we’ll update when more information about the service becomes public.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.