After months of speculation, Facebook has announced that it will acquire the Atlas Advertiser Suite from Microsoft.
Rumours about the purchase began flying in early December, but neither company provided confirmation or further details. Now, a message from Brian Boland, Facebook's product marketing director, rubber stamps the deal.
"Today's marketing environment is much more complex than it was just a few short years ago," Boland said, pointing at agencies that don't understand cross-channel marketing, and therefore provide poor and inconsistent end-user experiences.
"If marketers and agencies can get a holistic view of campaign performance, they will be able to do a much better job of making sure the right messages get in front of the right people at the right time," Boland said. Facebook has come to the rescue to do just that, naturally.
A number of marketers who advertise on Facebook already use Atlas, so the deal "brings us closer together in a way that benefits both Facebook and Atlas' agency and marketer clients," Boland said.
Atlas users shouldn't see any changes at the moment. Eventually, Facebook plans to improve the service by "scaling its back-end measurement systems and enhancing its current suite of advertiser tools on desktop and mobile," Boland said. The social network also wants to improve the Atlas user interface and functionality.
"Ultimately, Atlas's powerful platform, combined with Nielsen and Datalogix, 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," Boland wrote.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Facebook noted that Atlas employees will remain in Seattle.
Microsoft snagged Atlas in 2007 as part of its $6 billion (£4 billion) purchase of aQuantive, and has been trying to sell it for years. Around the same time, Microsoft paid $240 million (£158 million) for a stake in Facebook.