GOOGLE LINKING ADS TO PHYSICAL STORES
Attribution platform threatens to intrude privacy
GOOGLE is testing a way to tie online ads to brick-and-mortar store purchases, a move whetting marketing appetites while fuelling privacy worries.
A product called “Google Attribution” was unveiled at a marketing conference this month here by the Internet giant. Google has long been able to determine when users click on ads and make purchases, but linking online and offline habits takes its analytics a step further.
Google senior vice-president Sridhar Ramaswamy, who announced that Attribution was in test mode with a limited number of partners and would be rolled out to more advertisers in the coming weeks, touted the tool as being able to answer the question of whether marketing campaigns were working.
“Google Attribution makes it possible for every marketer to measure the impact of their marketing across devices and across channels,” said Ramaswamy.
Real-world customer email addresses or loyalty plan information can be woven with Google data from services such as AdWords, Google Analytics and DoubleClick Search to provide “a complete view” of marketing performance, according to the company.
Using artificial intelligence, or machine learning, to better analyse and understand consumer behaviour to target ads and promote sales was a major theme of the conference.
For several years now, AdWords has enabled advertisers to measure visits to real-world stores stemming from online campaigns, said Ramaswamy.
“Still, measuring store visits is just one part of the equation,” Ramaswamy said.
“You also need insights into how your online ads drive sales for your business.”
Tying online activity to offline shopping decisions has been a “holy grail” for advertisers for quite some time, and comes with worrisome privacy implications, according to American Civil Liberties Union senior policy analyst Jay Stanley.
Attribution threatens to intrude on a core tenant of privacy, that people can have dealings with one party not spill over into affairs with other parties they interact with, Stanley contended.
“This is an evolution, not a revolution; another step towards increased monitoring of individuals,” Stanley said.
“Each step raises the question: Where does this all stop?” AFP