Google has just made a huge move to show it’s not going to be out-smarted by Facebook.
Over the next few weeks, Google is bringing cross-device measurement to its DoubleClick advertising platform for the first time, the company announced in a blog post and at its DoubleClick Leadership Summit on Wednesday. DoubleClick is the huge ad server that dominates the online advertising market, with a 69% share of the sector, according to Datanyze and Alexa data.
Cross-device measurement is extremely important for advertisers. More and more often, consumers might see an ad for an item on their smartphone, but then go on to complete the purchase later on their desktop. But it’s not always easy to make that connection — advertisers can’t drop cookies to track users on mobile browsers like they can on desktop — so marketers might not be giving their mobile advertising enough credit.
Cross-device measurement is one of the key components of Facebook’s Atlas ad server, which allows advertisers to use Facebook data to target ads on sites beyond the social network. Its cross-device measurement system relies on anonymous Facebook login identifiers such as an email address or phone number (which can be matched to an advertiser’s own data on its customer base) to measure whether individual users who were exposed to digital ads went on to buy a product or visit a website.
Now Google wants to put the wealth of data it has on its users — based on the fact that they log in to use services such as Gmail and YouTube — to good use too. All in an anonymized, privacy-conscious fashion, of course.
Cross-device measurement for DoubleClick will work in a similar way to cross-device measurement for its search advertising product Adwords, which is already available in-market.
The measurement platform uses data from millions of users that have previously been signed into Google. An algorithm uses a number of signals — such as country, conversion type, date, landing page, and devices used — to calculate all other cross-device conversions for other traffic that isn’t signed in.
It basically makes an intelligent guess, which Google says is based on a “strict, highly conservative confidence level,” as to whether someone that saw or clicked on an ad from one device is the same person that went on to purchase a product on another device. Only aggregated, anonymous data is used in Google’s calculations.
Google DoubleClick’s new cross-device measurement product isn’t perfect: It relies a lot on guesswork and modelling, but it’s a step towards solving the problem of the lack of cookies on mobile. If Google can prove that mobile ads are more valuable than marketers currently think they are, it can drive up its mobile ad prices.
In another competitive signal to the market, Google has announced that the DoubleClick cross-device measurement tool will allow marketers to measure all their campaigns across the web — not just the ads it books with Google — so they can see how their campaigns using different servers stack up.
In addition to the cross-device measurement announcement, DoubleClick had three additional bits of news today.
The brand has changed its logo:
It used to look like this:
- DoubleClick also announced support for native ads. Publishers can now create their own formats, which DoubleClick will distribute for them (more details in the blog post here.)
- And DoubleClick introduced a new way of buying ads on the platform: Programmatic guaranteed — Guaranteed inventory, sold through automated technology, at pre-negotiated rates (rather than through an auction-based system.)
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