• Google, as part of its ongoing effort to link online ad exposure to offline purchases, announced in late May that it will be able to track about 70% of credit/debit card purchases, and to connect them to online consumer behavior. Currently, about 30% of all ad dollars are spent online, and Google receives about 50% of that as revenue. Google’s announcement is a response to its competition Facebook/Square/Marketo, who track some consumer store visits and transactions. (Facebook’s action, in turn, was a response to Google’s AdWords store visit metrics).
  • This is a major development for advertisers (although many would assert that specific metrics have continued to be controversial, misused, and subject to ongoing tinkering). Nonetheless, this ability will advance the question of who is buying what, where, how and why – an ever-hot issue among marketers looking to mot efficiently target likely consumers across platforms.
  • The technological leap forward, however, highlights concerns about privacy. Many would say that Google and Facebook are already too invasive in linking user data and offline behavior. To their own defense however, these companies assert that their algorithms already consider the privacy requirements of their users. How this pans out remains to be seen, as online/offline data and behavior linking steadily becomes more-and-more accurate and actionable.

 

 

(Harvard Business Review; 06.01.2017)