Google now knows, what you bought offline, where, when and why

Data about ads, that users see online, and purchases they make in offline stores is now combined and collated by Google in order to measure advertisement performance. Google needs to prove to its advertisers that ads can generate sales in brick-and-mortar stores. It has partnered with a company that is said to have the access to 70% of credit and debit cards transactions in the US.

Not all the users are ready and willing to have the information about their purchases analyzed and mixed with the data collected by Google’s ubiquitous ad technology. The fact, that an anonymous company is a part of this process, brings some additional anxiety.

A spokesperson of Bridg, a startup that is also solving the problem of matching online and offline behavior for measuring ad effectiveness, speculates in his comment to WSJ, that Facebook and other big advertising businesses would also need to invest in collating digital and physical identities of a consumer.

Google’s approach to this task has previously been based on location tracking. If a user had been found near a Home Depot store after seeing a lawn mower ad, certain conclusions were made. But the inaccuracy of this approach is obvious, besides, more and more users deactivate location tracking.

Google claims to ensure the protection of customers’ and card holders’ data and explains, that matching data is done double-blindly. Card data possessing company has no access to Google’s information about advertising audience, and Google doesn’t see any transaction details. But Paul Stephens from a consumer advocacy group Privacy Rights Clearinghouse reminds that it’s still difficult to anonymize data, and hackers keep on stealing it from time to time.

We recommend our readers not to rely on Google’s desire to protect user data. And not to hope, that ad perfomance analyzing algorithms would make their lives better, not just drive them to spend more money in shops. We recommend to take control in your own hands and disable ad tracking with the help of AdGuard apps and browser extensions.

Ludmila Kudryavtseva on Industry News
May 29, 2017
Comments are powered by Disqus. By downloading the comments you agree the terms and policies of Disqus
Security experts exposed RoughTed — a massive malvertising operation

Cybersecurity technicians from Malwarebytes.com have researched a malvertising operation that had already been active for about a year with the peak on March, 2017. The malicious ads have gathered about half a billion clicks in just three month.

Malvertising is a cybercrime tool that works by breaking into ad networks and planting infected ads among others. Such adds carry viruses, trojans, ransomware and other types of malware. Notably, such ads needn't to be clicked at — they can do their black work just after being loaded by a browser.

"Sing, Goddess, the wrath": a history of ad blocking, part one

For as long as advertisements have existed, people have been trying to avoid them. No surprise there. An advertisement is an unwelcome communication that distracts attention and intrudes at its own discretion and for its own purpose.

Marketing experts writhed in agony when video cassette recorders first started gaining popularity. "It’s over now," they thought. "TV advertising is dead. People will no longer just switch channels (where they can be caught) or go to the kitchen (where they can still hear the ads). Now they can avoid an ad altogether by just cutting it off!"