Many companies weigh the efficacy of their digital marketing efforts by keenly studying the last click before purchase.  While Google has known for years that this single focus measurement is flawed, it was the only conclusive link between the online world and the cash register.  It has also served the Google search model very well.

In the real world, many factors affect consumer behavior.  Online banners, social media, video ads, past purchases and a plethora of other factors all have some impact on consumer behavior.

Machine Learning (ML) is improving so quickly that we can now start to trust the perceptions it is garnering in understanding complex consumer behavior.  For example (and this is only a product of my imagination), ML can watch us next January as we search for sunglasses on Amazon or Google and compare that with our geo tags from last March picked up from mobile apps and deduct that we are planning another March vacation to a warm weather spot this year.  Couple that with our search for a great fare to Orlando and BOOM, ML knows what to offer us to entice our behavior.

Here’s where things get interesting

Last May, Google started using billions of credit card transactions as a conversion metric to justify its digital marketing tools. The Washington Post reported, To power its multibillion-dollar advertising juggernaut, Google already analyzes users’ web browsing, search history and geographic locations, using data from popular Google-owned apps like YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps and the Google Play store. All that information is tied to the real identities of users when they log into Google’s services.  Google claims to be able to capture 70% of all US-based credit card transactions.

“In the coming months, we’ll be rolling out store sales measurement at the device and campaign levels. This will allow you to measure in-store revenue in addition to the store visits delivered by your Search and Shopping ads.”


Google reported that it has taken many years to develop protection to assure individuals’ privacy.  However, Google is now aware of the identity of real-world shoppers and is going to start sharing with marketers the anonymous cookies associated with purchasers.  Google doesn’t know the details of every transaction, only the total amount of the transaction and the physical location of your phone when the charge was processed.

The goal is to give marketers more information on offline activity tied to online promotions assimilated using ML.  Google is planning on sharing this data with partners like ourselves very soon.

To make sure your business is ready for this big data shift feel free to reach out to us.

Other sources: TechCrunch; SearchEngineLand; MarketingLand;