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Facebook said to be near launch of new ad network

New Atlas platform expected to help marketers better target and measure their ads, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Facebook is No. 2 in global digital ad revenue behind Google. CNET

Facebook is expected to unveil a new online advertising service next week aimed at helping advertisers better target and measure the impact of their ads while helping it better compete with Google, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The new platform, dubbed Atlas according to the Journal's sources, is based on the Atlas Advertising Suite, which Facebook purchased from Microsoft in 2013. Microsoft acquired the ad-serving product as part of its $6 billion acquisition of aQuantive in 2007.

The deal was expected to help Facebook develop its own one-stop shop for advertisers and agencies to buy, sell, optimize, and track ads across the Web. The aim was to give marketers tools to target ads based on social habits that it captures and to better understand how social activity influences consumer purchases.

The new platform is expected to help Facebook better challenge Google, which dominates the global digital ad market. The Web giant is expected to capture 31.45 percent of the market's revenue this year, according to estimates by market analyst eMarketer. While Facebook was expected to register the largest market share increase this year among US companies in the eMarketer survey, the social network was still expected to be a distant second with 7.8 percent of a market estimated to be worth $140 billion.

Facebook is already plugged into tons of websites through Facebook Login, and each time people share or"like" an item on a site, Facebook's data trove gets a little bigger.Facebook can connect that data with the information from within Facebook -- the social graph -- to create a social ad network that is potentially more effective than Google's AdSense.

A Facebook spokesman declined to comment on the Journal's report.