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Google is promising advertisers access to more granular data on their ad campaigns, along with more flexible and powerful tools to track the performance of their advertising spending.
The search giant is rolling out a new ad measurement product called Ads Data Hub which is designed to make it easier for marketers to get in-depth information on ad campaigns.
Whether that will be enough for marketers who have been frustrated by Google’s closed ad buying systemremains to be seen.
Google is touting the product as a cloud-based measurement solution that should be more adaptable and secure than existing offerings.
The company says Ads Data Hub is also designed with mobile ad campaigns in mind. For example, Google says it’s less reliant on traditional “tracking pixels” to monitor campaigns. These pixels, or small bits of code, have been common to desktop ad campaigns but don’t typically translate well on mobile devices.
And marketers are increasingly advertising on multiple devices, which can compound the data they need to crunch. “Understanding customers is increasingly fragmented for marketers,” said Brad Bender, Google’s vice president of product management. “Making sense of the massive amounts of data marketers pull in is fundamentally hard.”
That’s surely true. But typically, ad agencies and their marketer clients like to measure ad campaigns using third parties, and have that measurement process be detached from the company they are buying ads from.
Google and Facebook have been accused of being inflexible when it comes to allowing marketers to track ad campaigns using outside vendors. Some advertisers have pushed Google to let them push their own tracking code onto YouTube’s app, for example, something Google has largely resisted. More recently, Google agreed to an audit of its ad data collection process to be administered by the Media Rating Council, an independent metrics watchdog for the media industry.
Google executives say that while Ads Data Hub is not necessarily being launched as a response to that pressure, advertisers will be able to use the product to pull impression-level data for campaigns running on Google’s own sites like YouTube and across the web via the Google Display Network. And advertisers can plug in their own data from other third party sources, said Bender.
“We want to enable them to bring that data and leverage it in this environment,” he said. “This should allow for custom reporting.”
Google has signed on the ad buying firm Omnicom Media Group as an early test partner for Ads Data Hub. Slavi Samardzija, global CEO of Omnicom’s data-centric ad division Annalect, said that Ads Data Hub offers marketers a “whole new level of capability and flexibility within Google’s environment,” which should help them better gauge the impact of ad campaigns on their businesses.
However, Samardzija noted that since the data outputs available via Ads Data Hub are “based on log-files generated by Google … it does not address the issue of lack of third party measurement.”