The need to track offline activities from online advertising has driven MasterCard and Google to sign a private deal. According to sources familiar with the arrangement, the two companies spent more than four years working out the details to a data sharing agreement.
In the agreement, MasterCard agreed to provide Google with information on users’ credit card transactions. This allowed Google to tie online advertising to offline transactions in brick and mortar stores.
Both companies deny that data can be used to identify individual purchases. Google claims that users can opt out of being tracked and that the collected data is anonymized. The internet search engine, which reportedly paid millions of dollars for access to the data, is trialing a program to allow advertisers to see whether or not a click from an ad results in an in-store purchase within 30 days.
But as the BBC reports, some rights groups are concerned that the arrangement risks misuse of private consumer financial data. We’ve been predicting and preparing for the rise of this kind of activity. Visa already runs an advertising agency, knowing that transaction data is the secret sauce to tracking the effectiveness of online advertising. Last year, the Royal Bank of Canada signed an agreement with Acquisio, online advertising software, to better help small businesses track the effectiveness of their advertising.
This kind of agreement is not new, but is still very fragmented. For instance, Google’s agreement with MasterCard only gives them access to MasterCard data, not Visa or American Express. And any agreement Google signs will only allow advertisers to see whether their Google advertising is effective — and not all their advertising efforts. In the following years, we predict that firms will begin unifying this data in order to provide better results to advertisers. However, consumers won’t tolerate abuses of their personal data.