'Give credit where it's due' says Google, as it launches Google Attribution- a free tool for marketers

By Shweta Mulki , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | May 24, 2017
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Google announces products aimed to help advertisers track the full journey of a sales conversion- from digital media to offline store visits.

Tech giant Google has just made some key announcements at Marketing Next - its annual event where the company unveils its latest innovations for ads and analytics with insights and trends across mobile, analytics, video and platforms.

Babak Pahlavan

Jerry Dischler

With machine learning as the underlying theme, the highlight this time is 'Google Attribution' - a powered-up version of an existing product that will help advertisers measure the impact of marketing across devices and channels all in one place- for free. An attribution model helps determine how credit for sales and conversions is assigned to the various touch-points in a customer's purchase journey.

Explaining that attribution effectively needs to answer the core question of 'Is my marketing working?', Babak Pahlavan, senior director of product management for Google Attribution 360 suite and measurement, in a separate conference spoke about how the new product aims to do away with the globally prevalent 'last click attribution model' which does not give credit to interactions (like display, video, search, social or email), that precede the final click before a conversion.

"Existing attribution products are difficult to set up, they lose track of the customer when devices are switched, and they aren't well integrated with other marketing tools which makes it difficult to take action," said Pahlavan, claiming that the entire workflow that could usually take months, has been simplified down to a few minutes with this new product..

So, as Google Analytics, AdWords and DoubleClick Search get united into a single platform, advertisers - in select markets initially, will be able to incorporate Google Attribution data into their automated bidding plans.

A paid version-'Attribution 360' which can also provide minute-by-minute analysis of TV campaigns, among other things will be available at the enterprise level for sophisticated requirements.

Measurement extended to YouTube video ads

In select markets, Google will expand its 'Store Visits' technology to video
and enable customers to find local stores directly via YouTube video ads that have location extensions (TrueView), with advertisers subsequently being able to note how video ads are driving foot traffic into their stores. Jerry Dischler, vice-president of product management at Google, said, "Our research suggests that more than 50% of all internet users look for videos related to the product or service before purchase", adding that fast food chain Wendy's had nearly a million visits as a result of a YouTube campaign in Q4'2016.

While this feature was already available for search, shopping and display ads, Google says YouTube ads will help marketers get a better understanding of the full path to purchase.

Google Attribution

Data from Google's Store Visits technology

Closing the loop

"With our Store Visit measurements, we've measured over 5 billion store visits in 17 countries that were the result of ad-clicks", said Dischler and sharing that Google will now be rolling out store sales measurement at the device and campaign levels, allowing tracking of in-store revenue in addition to the store visits delivered by Search and Shopping ads. Here, foot traffic is measured by combining location data from users (who have opted to share location) on Google's apps and websites with Google's mapping tech. The company has additionally partnered with payment service providers, to track about 70% of debit and credit card transactions in the US and has also enabled advertisers to link their loyalty card data to AdWords

He added, "Advertisers who want more detail can link their loyalty data to Google ad clicks," Dischler added, asserting that all these tools follow privacy norms with 'anonymised and aggregated' results.

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