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Google’s new Offline Conversion API

Happy 2013!

It may look like we’ve been loyal to the Mayan calendar, but we’ve just been busy internally over the holidays and didn’t blog.

Google has also been busy in 2013, retiring the old Offline Conversions APIs (both the Javascript and Python versions were retired in November 2012), and beginning a new Offline Conversions import service within the DoubleClick Search brand.

This announcement has been subject to both good and bad press, typically depending on the technical skills/depth of knowledge of the story writer.

Most writers looking for the worst possible scenario chose to doubt Google’s privacy controls, and boldly suggest there will be problems due to data aggregation.

Google’s DoubleClick service explicitly states:

“Advertisers are prohibited from sending personally identifiable information using this feature, as outlined by the Terms of Service for the API.”

Further to that there are lots of assumptions being made about who can supply data, who has access, and what data is relevant. In one article they just tossed in a mention that the data could be ‘decrypted’ by 3rd parties/or government agencies with nothing to back that claim up.

To help understand the role of this service lets look at a typical use case:

  • You sell widgets.
  • Your website has online ordering.
  • You also have a physical store.
  • Clients are finding items online, but buying them in person.

So if you are basing your promotion efforts on Web based analytics, you will be in the dark as to what promotions drove the clients to come to the store and make a purchase.

Unless Google gave you an interface with which to send them transaction info on offline sales?

Lets see how that would work:

  • A Google user is searching for widgets.
  • Google puts a PPC Ad on the page promoting your widgets.
  • The user clicks on the Ad, and looks up ‘Blue Widget # 42′.
  • 2 hours later, your in-store till sells 2 ‘Blue Widget # 42′s.
  • The till sends “2 x Blue Widget # 42″ to Google as ‘sold’.

That’s it, Google now can relate the pay per click advertisement as relevant to the sale of the widget, and you have more info on how well that advertisement worked.

This also works very well with telephone based sales, especially if you are in a position to use specific phone numbers, or extensions, to narrow down how the call came about.

So while some folks are very concerned about how much companies will know about them when companies start comparing notes, that’s not the situation here at all.

Companies have been comparing notes for years, without the help of Google. Just think about the shopping trends that you reveal when you use an Air Miles card?

Google only wants to help reduce unwanted/ineffective advertising and reduce the amount of money businesses spend to reach potential clients.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:46 pm on January 3, 2013


 

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