google mastercard

Google and Mastercard reach a secret agreement on their users’ private data

Alphabet Inc. (GOOG) has an advantage over its rivals when it comes to advertising data, and it can thank Mastercard Inc. (MA) for it.

Citing four people with knowledge of the deal, Bloomberg reported that for about a year, Google has provided some advertisers with access to a new tool that can show whether an online ad on one of its platforms has translated into a purchase in a physical store. To do this, Google paid millions of dollars to amass data on Mastercard transactions without the two companies alerting the hundreds of millions of Mastercard cardholders around the world.

An agreement in the making for four years

According to Bloomberg, the deal is the culmination of four years of talks and allows Google to measure the results of ad spending on its platforms. It could also arouse the ire of privacy specialists, who are already rebelling against the amount of data that Google collects on its users and the use it makes of it, because most consumers do not don’t expect their purchases in the physical world to be linked to what they do online.

The service, called Store Sales Measurement, went live in 2017, with Google telling marketers at the time that it had access to about 70% of U.S. credit and debit cards through anonymous partnerships. It was not clear at the time who or what these partnerships were. Google has reached out to other payment companies, but it’s unclear whether any Mastercard-style deals have been signed. Using this tool, Google can match existing user profiles with in-store purchases, giving advertisers valuable data on which ads people clicked on and how those ads impacted their customers. purchasing decisions.

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Google: A tool designed to be anonymous

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment on the Mastercard deal, but told Bloomberg that the tool was designed so that Google and its partners could not see its users’ personally identifiable information. “We do not have access to any personal information from our partners’ credit and debit cards, and we do not share any personal information with our partners.” The spokeswoman said the service is being tested with a small number of advertisers in the United States and that marketers see sales figures and how much can be attributed to Google, but not how much the individual has. spent and what he bought. The test is only available to retailers and only applies to search and shopping ads, the spokesperson added.

Seth Eisen, a Mastercard spokesperson, would not comment on the deal with Google, but told Bloomberg that it only shares transaction trends to help merchants measure the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. “No individual transactions or personal data are provided,” he told Bloomberg. “We do not provide information to track, serve ads, or even measure the effectiveness of ads about individual consumers.”