Google is set for some serious competition in the display advertising space as Facebook announces the relaunch of its Atlas ad platform.

Rumours surfaced last week concerning a new advertising platform that the social network was about to reveal, but Facebook has instead chosen to revamp the technology that it purchased from Microsoft in February 2013.

Until now Facebook has been limited to offering ad placements that are actually on its site. However with the Atlas launch, as with Google Doubleclick, any site can insert an ad that can be targeted by the platform’s clients.

In a blog post today, Facebook revealed that it has been working hard to improve Microsoft’s old platform since last year and has added cross-device targeting and offline sales tracking to its list of features.

“Flawed” cookies

The social network argues that cookies “are flawed” when used by themselves because they do not work on mobile and are not accurate enough for demographic targeting or measuring the purchase funnel on various browsers and devices.

Facebook is using what it calls “people-based marketing” to solve the problems outlined above. Atlas can not only target, serve and measure ads across devices, but it can also connect online campaigns to offline sales.

Omnicom is one of the first companies to sign up to Atlas in an agency-wide ad serving and measurement agreement. This will help the two parties develop more automated ad capabilities for clients like Pepsi and Intel.

Instagram is one of a number of other partners already on board. As a publisher, the photo-sharing network will be able to measure and verify impressions on Atlas, whereas advertisers will see reporting from any campaigns they are running on the site.