Facebook announced the news late Sunday night to coincide with the start of Advertising Week in New York City. For other brands hoping to make headlines at Advertising Week, Facebook's news will be a tough act to follow. Investors and the media have been waiting for an announcement like this for years.
In January, Facebook took its first steps in this direction launching a network that could serve up ads within mobile apps. But the launch of Atlas symbolizes a deeper commitment to controlling the web's ads—and an even fiercer fight with Google for that control.
Atlas is not a new platform, per se. Facebook acquired the product from Microsoft last year. But according to a blog post from Erik Johnson, head of Atlas, the team has rebuilt the platform "from the ground up" in the hopes of making it easier for advertisers to follow a consumer, regardless of what type of device she's using.