Media Planning & Buying Search Marketing

Google Grabs Adometry to Solve Attribution Puzzle

May 8, 2014

Google is hoping to glean valuable insight into the consumer path to purchase with its latest acquisition of Adometry, an Austin-based analytics firm that helps marketers measure the overall performance of their online cross-channel marketing efforts.

In a Google+ post, the online media giant stated that bringing Adometry into the fold will beef up the Google Analytics Platform by providing advertisers with “an additional set of tools” that can be used to accomplish their business goals. Adometry CEO Paul Pellman reiterated this same message in the company’s own blog post on the acquisition.

The marriage of Google to a leading marketing attribution firm promises to shake up the online advertising industry, which has been trying to solve the attribution puzzle for years. The biggest challenge to date has been the structural mismatch between how advertisers buy media – partner by partner – and the customer journey toward a purchase, which includes multiple partners and touch points.  For advertisers, Google’s purchase of Adometry is big news because it brings together the buying and the attribution.

Google has spent the past several years developing attribution tools and services across a number of products including Google Analytics Premium, AdWords and DoubleClick. Incorporating Adometry’s advanced attribution analysis and reporting capabilities into the Google Analytics Premium product promises significant improvements such as:

  • New functionality which brings together data from multiple sources (e.g. CRM data)
  • A broader, more holistic perspective on the combined impact of marketing activities
  • Data-driven recommendations that can be implemented in areas such as programmatic ad buying

One of the hallmarks of Adometry’s platform is their use of a single tag for media tracking. If Google combines this with its site tracking capability (via Google Analytics), marketers will have access to a much richer view of the impact of their advertising spend. Adometry also offers device tracking and offline tracking solutions that could provide a much broader view of consumer behavior.

In addition to enhancements to Google Analytics, Google’s DoubleClick ad serving platform could also see significant improvements to reporting and analysis capability. The increased insight into which ads genuinely contribute to a sale – and to what extent –  is the Holy Grail of media managers. With this information, marketers will be able to more accurately assess the ROI of their marketing partners and direct the right amount of budget to the right areas.

Of course, the acquisition might make some advertisers nervous that Google could see which ads are driving sales. With this information, Google could theoretically price its ad inventory based on the ads’ likely contribution to the advertisers’ bottom line. Not only that, but Google would be in a position to see how competitor ads, such as those running via Yahoo! display, were also contributing. Google will need to convince marketers that its attribution system provides reliable information and recommendations that are in the brands’ best interest, similar to how they have made advertisers comfortable with their ownership of DoubleClick.

As evidence that the attribution puzzle is much bigger than a single platform, marketers can look to AOL’s own purchase of marketing analytics firm Convertro, which was announced within hours of the Google-Adometry news. Convertro is an attribution solutions provider with cross-device capabilities that provide deep insight into the full customer journey, as well as an understanding of how to speak to customers in different ways depending on the device they are using.

In light of these significant updates – which stand to alter the online advertising landscape – we recommend the following next steps for marketers:

  • Brands that have not yet considered attribution until now – because it was too costly or too complex – should consider revisiting their approach as competitors might now be eager to jump into the fray due to the support of Google and AOL, and/or potential cost reductions.
  • Brands that are evaluating next steps in their approach to attribution should take into account the impending changes to partner/vendor offerings, which will be significant.
  • Brands with more mature attribution capability are advised to re-evaluate their strategies to ensure that they remain ahead of the curve as the landscape continues to evolve.

Ultimately, the Google-Adometry deal ups the ante for competing attribution services such as VisualIQ and ClearSaleing. In fact, we would not be surprised to see Facebook court VisualIQ given their acquisition of Atlas and ever-expanding mobile network.  In order to take up the challenge, these firms will need to upgrade their offerings to incorporate more information from more sources, and become much more cost effective – both of which represent good news for advertisers.

Cover photo via ValueWalk