Google Just Announced A Huge Move In Its Measurement War With Facebook

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has introduced a new toolto allow advertisers to more accurately measure how many people are buying products after seeing an AdWords advertisement in Google search.

In a post on the AdWords blog, Google announced that its “estimated total conversions” product will use Google login data to determine how many people purchased a given product after seeing an advertisement in Google search.

What’s important about the new metric is that it will track these purchases, known in the marketing industry as “conversions,” across smartphones, laptops, desktop computers, and tablets. This means that Google will be able to tell its advertisers when a person sees an ad for a pair of shoes on their smartphones and then later purchases that pair of shoes while logged in to Google+ on their desktop.

The news is pivotal to Google’s performance in its ongoing war with Facebook to provide better data to clients about how many people actually make purchases after seeing ads in Google search or Facebook’s newsfeed.

Though Google built its dominance of online advertising through its ability to measure engagement (i.e. the number of people who clicked on a link to a product after seeing it in search), it was previously unable to definitively show how its ads otherwise affected consumer behaviour.

By comparison, Facebook’s metric tracking these purchases, known in the marketing industry as “conversions,” has allowed advertisers to monitor cross-device sales since January.

Measuring advertising campaigns across devices has been a continued point of focus for Google. In a speech last week in New York City, Google ad sales chief Neal Mohan said 90% of today’s consumers shift effortlessly between devices to complete a task, with 500% more people simultaneously using multiple devices than they were three years ago.

In what was, in hindsight, a harbinger of things to come, Mohan said that it was not enough to merely tell customers how many people were seeing their ads.

There’s so much more we can do,” Mohan said. “Not only did a person see my ad, but was it the right audience that I was going after? How did it change users’ perspective?”

Google’s new conversion metric will also use smartphone location data from consenting users to determine whether people used a Google ad to find a brick-and-mortar location or made a purchase via a phone call.

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