Just when you thought Google couldn’t target you with more specific advertising – based on your web surfing – it’s going one step further.
The search giant now intends to use data uploaded by retailers about consumers’ offline purchases in order to target them with even more targeted ads.
In other words, it will know what you spend at the mall as well as at the keyboard.
In a low-key announcement, Google has begun the new advertising project – Conversions API – that will merge offline consumer information with online intelligence.
Targeting consumers with just online information only allows advertisers to learn so much, Google explained this week in a post on its DoubleClick site.
‘Conversions’ – the digital metric made by everything a user has done online – is an incomplete picture unless coupled with real-world data.
‘We understand that online advertising also fuels offline conversions,’ the blog post read.
‘To capture these lost conversions and bring offline into your online world, we’re announcing the open beta of our Conversions API for uploading offline conversion automatically.’
With the new service in-store transactions, call-tracking and other online activities can be inputted into Google and combined with other information that will eventually optimize ad campaigns based on ‘even more of your business data’.
Any collected data will be protected through safeguards allowing for the anonymity of customers.
As one example of how this new connection between online browsing and real world shopping will work, Jim Edwards imagines one scenario for Business Insider.
‘If you bought a T-shirt at the Gap in the mall with your credit card, you could start seeing a lot more Gap ads online later, suggesting jeans that go with that shirt,’ Edwards writes.
Though safeguards are in place, it is still possible your information could be hacked and stolen by a third party.
Google does not explicitly note that intelligence used in Conversions API will be anonymous.
It’s not just advertising companies who’ll benefit. In November, Google reported that the U.S. government requested personal information from approximately 8,000 users in just the first months of the year.