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May 06, 2014

Google Buys Adometry to Track Clicks to Actual Purchase Behavior


Google has been investing more in ad measurement lately, with the clear goal of boosting ad prices and gaining more share of wallet from marketers for their online channels. The latest move by the search giant is the purchase of Adometry, developer of an online ad measurement platform that claims to be able to take data from more a dozen different sources (including online, offline and mobile channels), and use it to determine whether an ad was viewed, and whether it led to an actual sale.

Adometry’s platform is known as Attribute, and it runs algorithms over massive datasets to determine which distribution channels (if any) deserve credit for producing a conversion. It says that those algorithms "work at the most granular level" to maintain accuracy.

Google is also running a pilot program to determine which search ad sales drive offline purchases, and has partnered with Nielsen to develop TV-like ratings tools for YouTube. Also, the Adometry deal shortly follows the purchase of Rangespan, a provider of analytics software that helps online retailers gauge product demand and make inventory decisions. Google is expected to use Rangespan to help product listing ad (PLA) clients optimize their campaigns.

A recent survey from comScore and Neustar found that 78 percent of local searches on mobile devices turned into purchases, with nearly 90 percent of those purchases happening in a physical store (73 percent) or on the phone (16 percent) vs. online (11 percent). Roughly three-fourths (76 percent) of those purchases happened the same day, and most (63 percent) were made within a few hours. However time to purchase varied by category and degree of consideration involved. The ability to hand over data to marketers that show more specifically the extent that mobile or online activity drives offline purchases would definitely drive greater spend on things like AdWords.

The pilot correlates AdWords search ad clicks with offline purchase data from Acxiom and DataLogix - two firms purchase-tracking firms that already partner with Facebook and Twitter. It’s called In-Store Attribution Transaction Reporting.

When a user clicks on an ad, Google sends an anonymous "click ID" to the advertiser, which is matched to a cookie that the advertiser has already installed on the device. When that person buys something at retail, the retailer then matches the purchase data with the brand’s cookie and then to the Click ID. Google says that despite the tracking aspect, the information is anonymized for metrics purposes only.

Meanwhile the Rangespan acquisition, while the start-up’s actual services were wound down, gave Google more intellectual property and expertise to attack the sales tracking space. As SearchEngineLand explained, "Inventory suppliers uploaded their product feeds into Rangespan's portal, giving online retailers thousands of products… at their disposal. Retailers could choose which products to stock using Rangespan's search engine. Each product got assigned a 'RangeRank score' — its predicted sales potential based on customer behavior signals gathered from other search engines and shopping sites.”

It would appear that Google is an amazing portfolio of ad-to-purchase competencies, aiming to crack a nut that has so far stayed closed up tight. "If Google can demonstrate that people did not just click on an ad but that they actually bought something, that is the Holy Grail,” said Benny Arbel, CEO of ad tech startup myThings, speaking to the Wall Street Journal




Edited by Maurice Nagle

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