Google has revealed its “intrusive” new plans to track what we are buying -everywhere.
Credit and debit card information will be used to prove that its online advertisements can get shoppers to pay up.
Determining just how many sales are generated directly from digital advert campaigns has long been debated and has become known as the “holy grail” among industry insiders. (Where is virtual Indiana Jones when you need him?)
Google has previously used web browsing, search history and geographic locations to see if an ad has been successful.
Adding transactions in brick and mortar to the mix could help Google show its revenue stream (aka: clients) that buying advertising is a good idea.
UK based Virgin Holidays said it has already benefited from tracking sales both on and offline.
It found that people who buy in store – but previously saw or clicked on a Google advert – spend more than people who just click through an advert to buy online. Much more. In fact, those who buy in store after clicking on a search advert are “three times more profitable than an online conversation.”
It’s easy to forget that Google is primarily a massive advertising company that makes billions from our eyeballs.
Privacy advocates are not on board with the new powers to track our offline spending.
They claim that customers haven’t got the faintest idea that their transactions are being tracked, and more must be done to alert them.
“What’s really fascinating to me is that as the companies become increasingly intrusive in terms of their data collection, they also become more secretive,”
Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center told the Washington Post.
Google’s gigantic partnership with companies track 70 percent of all credit and debit card transactions in the United States.
Merge this information with the data it owns and it shows who has seen or clicked on an advert in that location.
Google said it puts user privacy first.
“While we developed the concept for this product years ago, it required years of effort to develop a solution that could meet our stringent user privacy requirements,” said Google in a statement.
“To accomplish this, we developed a new, custom encryption technology that ensures users’ data remains private, secure, and anonymous.”
The UK government slapped Google on the wrist after it was revealed that adverts – footed by the British taxpayer – were appearing on terrorist propaganda YouTube clips.