In a secret deal estimated to be worth millions of dollars, Google paid MasterCard to track whether online ad clicks translated to sales in retail stores. According to Bloomberg, Google has for the past year used its access to MasterCard data to gain insight into how online ads affect retail spending — an effort to bolster its $95.4 billion ad business.
When you click on an ad while logged into your Google account, your action is recorded, even if the click doesn’t convert into an immediate online sale. Many users opt to research for a product online before making the purchase at a retail store. Based on the MasterCard deal, when you head into a store to buy the item, Google will be able to link your ad click to your transaction by using MasterCard’s data, connecting the email address that you’ve shared with the store to obtain a digital copy of your receipt, or through third-party payment processors.
“Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Mastercard Inc. brokered a business partnership during about four years of negotiations, according to four people with knowledge of the deal, three of whom worked on it directly,” the publication reported. “The alliance gave Google an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending, part of the search giant’s strategy to fortify its primary business against onslaughts fromInc. and others.”