Google’s game changer in online ad campaigns

Last week, Google made a pretty big announcement that will affect your business: its latest feature will be able to tell when consumers who clicked on an ad in search results made a credit or debit card purchase at a corresponding physical store. This helps advertisers better track the success of online campaigns.

Google achieves this by working with credit and debit card companies to match in-store purchases with a person’s online identity; the company has partnerships with other companies that account for 70 percent of credit and debit purchases in the U.S. In order to protect consumer privacy, these matches are tallied up in aggregate.

This is a pretty massive deal. Before, you could track a consumer’s activity in online ads to your website activity, online purchases and how they tried to contact you. Being able to specifically trace the path to purchase all the way to the point of sale opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

In addition, Google will also show information for local stores on YouTube ads, such as hours and driving directions to the nearest store or chain location. YouTube will rely on information from a user’s location history to determine. So if you’re not actively and regularly posting on YouTube, today is the day to start.

Any naysayers who argue that online advertising doesn’t yield results will be easily shut down with this new feature. Or, they’ll be vindicated if the results come back that few to no customers followed through to buy a product. But the point is, you’ll have a definitive answer.

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