Google helps advertisers track spending in physical stores

Google plans to unveil the store-sales measurement tool Tuesday in San Francisco at an annual conference it hosts for its advertisers. DoubleClick support will be coming later this year. For years, marketers have battled with "attribution models", or understanding how different types of marketing activity actually drive consumers to take specific actions, like buying their products.

The idea behind Attribution is that customers looking to buy something engage with companies in a dozen or more distinct interactions - search, social networks, apps, websites and display and video ads.

Before you ask, yes, you can opt out of the new feature.

Google Attribution integrates with AdWords, Google Analytics and DoubleClick Search to bring data from all marketing channels together - providing marketers with a complete view of performance.

We introduced store visits measurement back in 2014 to help marketers gain more insight about consumer journeys that start online and end in a store.

Mobile has blurred the line between the digital and physical worlds. Making the connection between online ads and in-person purchases could be huge for the company, which is competing against companies like Facebook for the same ad buyers.

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"For the first time, Google Attribution makes it possible for every marketer to measure the impact of their marketing across devices and across channels - all in one place, and at no additional cost", Ramaswamy said. This technology will allow advertisers to track visits in multi-story malls or highly populated cities like Tokyo and São Paulo.

The new offering lets users measure how many individuals are shown video and display ads, along with capturing unique users.

The store visits tool is now available for Search, Shopping, and Display campaigns. In order to know what stores you're close to, YouTube will rely on information from your location history.

Still, measuring store visits is just one part of the equation. Using good, old-fashioned cash also avoids the possibility your purchases will be tracked. This may not be a big deal if Google was more transparent about how this system works, but even today they have refused to come out and say what companies they're working with to analyze the data. Current methods of tracking how people are influenced are limited, often losing the plot between devices, for instance.

In-market audiences will allow businesses to expand their reach amongst those who have already searched within their category of products and services. This data is based on Google ID information, so it doesn't double-count users who are exposed to a brand's ads across multiple devices. At that point, data-driven attribution will determine the credit assigned to each stage of the purchase process using machine learning.

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