The search engine giant Google has reportedly sealed a secret deal with Mastercard to track offline shopping details of credit card users data who were influenced by their ads.
According to Bloomberg, the two billion Mastercard holders are also in the dark. They have no idea that the offline purchases they make in stores are being tracked by Google to check whether their buying habits are influenced by the ads run by their advertiser.
Google believes that after its users have been made online check on a product through its platform, the buyers went offline to purchase the product at a physical retail store through the use of Mastercard credit card.
The search engine giant struck the 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 alliance gave Google an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending, part of the search giant’s strategy to fortify its primary business against onslaughts from Amazon.com Inc. and others.
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This deal which has not been reported will be a breach on the privacy of Google users as was previously revealed that the tech company keeps tracking peoples location without their consent even after their location is turned off.
This report helps the advertiser in measuring the effectiveness of its ads and generates a section for “offline revenue” which enlists all the retail sales.
However, a spokeswoman for Google said there is no revenue sharing agreement with it partners but according to two people who worked in the company discussed sharing a portion of the ad revenue. The people asked not to be identified discussing private matters.
The Google spokeswoman declined to comment on the partnership with Mastercard but addressed the ads tool. “Before we launched this beta product last year, we built a new, double-blind encryption technology that prevents both Google and our partners from viewing our respective users’ personally identifiable information.”
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She also claimed that the company does not have access to any personal info of the credit card holders and they do not share any of it with their ad partners. Meanwhile, users can opt out of online tracking by toggling off the “Web and App Activity” – which remains on by default.
Apparently, it paid millions of dollars to Mastercard to access nearly two billion cardholders’ data.
Seth Eisen, a Mastercard spokesman, also declined to comment specifically on Google. But he said Mastercard shares transaction trends with merchants and their service providers to help them measure “the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns.” The information, which includes sales volumes and an average size of the purchase, is shared only with the permission of the merchants, Eisen added. “No individual transaction or personal data is provided,” he said in a statement. “We do not provide insights that track, serve up ads to, or even measure ad effectiveness relating to, individual consumers.”
Sources also reveal that Google has developed a tool for its advertisers that can tell whether people who clicked on their online ads, purchase the product later at a physical retail store.
Remember that last year, Google launched a service which was themed “Store Sales Measurement” which the company gave an insight that it had access to approximately 70 percent of U.S. credit and debit card through its partner which named was not mentioned.
The tech giant has approached other payment companies about the program, according to two people familiar with the conversations, but it is not clear if they finalized similar deals. The people asked to not be identified because they were not authorized to speak about the matter.
Google confirmed that the service only applies to people who are logged in to one of its accounts and have not opted out of ad tracking. Purchases made on Mastercard-branded cards accounted for around a quarter of U.S. volumes last year, according to the Nilson Report, a financial research firm.
A lot of users might log in to their Gmail and view Google ads, through this your offline purchase can be checked without your consent.
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Google is testing the data service with a “small group” of advertisers in the U.S., according to a spokeswoman. With it, marketers see aggregate sales figures and estimates of how many they can attribute to Google ads — but they don’t see a shoppers’ personal information, how much they spend or what exactly they buy. The tests are only available for retailers, not the companies that make the items sold inside stores, the spokeswoman said. The service only applies to its search and shopping ads, she said.
The search engine giant might focus on offline purchase made by its users through their click on its ads in order to show how effective its ads are running and to make advertiser get emails of people who check through their ads and buy offline from retail stores.