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User data: Facebook's biggest weapon for the Google ad fight

Facebook’s trove of user data presents the best chance for its new Atlas advertising platform to succeed against the likes of Google and Yahoo in the ultra-competitive space.

The new platform, which should be announced today, is unique in that it allows the marketing departments of companies to use user data to target Internet users when they have left the Facebook site.

"Facebook has deep, deep data on its users. You can slice and dice markets, like women 25 to 35 who live in the Southeast and are fans of 'Breaking Bad,'" said Rebecca Lieb, an analyst at the Altimeter Group, according to NDTV. She added that the new platform, "can track people across devices, weave together online and offline."

Read more: It’s war: Facebook points new ad weapon Atlas at Google (opens in new tab)

Marketers will be particularly drawn to the site by the fact that real identity information is melded together with voluntarily disclosed personal information to create a powerful option to take advantage of.

"Nobody else besides Facebook has the depth of data about individuals," said Debra Aho Williamson, a principal analyst at eMarketer. "That's where the power of this ad platform is going to come from."

One example given would be for PepsiCo, one of those that have signed up to use it, to use Atlas to effectively target college age men with an ad for Mountain Dew Baja Blast.

"A lot of these digital media companies are working on different ways to go after the same people," Williamson said. "We're going to see Facebook being a very strong competitor, but if I were an advertiser, I would look at all of them."

Atlas was originally acquired by Facebook back in May 2013 from Microsoft and it gives the social network the chance to significantly improve its share of the advertising sector that sat at $2.68 billion [£1.63 billion] in revenue for Q2 2014 – dwarfed by Google’s $14.36 billion [£8.75 billion] in the same period.

Image Credit: Flickr (SEO (opens in new tab))

Jamie is a freelance writer with over eight years experience writing for online audiences about technology and other topics. In his time writing for ITProPortal he wrote daily news stories covering the IT industry and the worldwide technology market, as well as features that covered every part of the IT market, from the latest start ups to multinational companies and everything encompassed by the IT sector. He has also written tech content for our sister publication, TechRadar Pro. Jamie has since moved into sports betting content and is Content Manager at Betbull.