Data Harvesting: Before the internet, data collection was primarily census information and zip codes. Of course, there was more to it, but it was far less precise. Today, Google, Facebook and Microsoft (Bing) trade services to consumers for information about them—keeping an ongoing record of their activity—eventually they know what you look like and exactly where you are. For businesses this is a big deal, but more about that later.
It’s no surprise that these companies and a whole host of others are gathering information about you with every click on your phone and every stop you make while running errands. Yes, that’s right. If your phone has Google’s Android on it then they know through GPS data where you’ve been. This link shows you how it can be turned off, but I’m all for keeping it on. As a matter of fact, I’m a Level 5 Google Local Guide. They show where I’ve been during the week and I review those businesses, because I believe that good businesses should be rewarded with good reviews.
With GPS data being a major component of Google’s data harvesting, some of the other types of data are: Gmail (every email and the content inside it), search history, bookmarks, user profile, apps downloaded, YouTube history, friends, connections, family and many others. The amount of data they store about one person can be more than 5GB of data. That’s millions of Word documents!
Of course, you’ve agreed to all of this and so have billions of people and organizations. Some have opted out and others have strict privacy settings, but, in all, Google has a pretty good idea of who you are, especially as a consumer. And they had better because that’s how they make money.
What’s the Payoff for Access?
We’ve done lots of articles on target marketing and how important it is for ROI. This is why Google AdWords is the best at targeted marketing strategies. They have the biggest reach with nearly 66 percent of total search volume worldwide and the most data. Google’s pay-per-click helps businesses find new customers – they are years ahead of anyone else, because advertisers pay only for direct connections with potential customers.
Facebook and many others are still charging for impressions, or how many people may have seen the ad, which is great for brand awareness, but doesn’t hit the bullseye. With Google, advertisers may get impressions, but only pay for click-through rates. All of this data is still collected and offered to the customer.
When it comes to Facebook, their checkered past of exaggerated ad data makes us cautious of an enthusiastic endorsement. Also, Google and Facebook are very different in the way they determine ads served. Facebook bases ad choices on consumers’ chosen interests on their profile, while Google collects organic data as the consumer moves throughout their daily routine.
Are There Really Any Alternatives?
Yes, there are a few and you should give them a try, particularly if Google is too expensive or your keywords have multiple meanings. For starters, there’s Bing, also a pay-per-click service that has a great track record and over 150 million unique users. Plus, they boast a captivated market share with an audience that is older and spends 25 percent more money online than other users. In most cases, Bing is cheaper for advertisers than Google because they don’t have the sizable reach.
Amazon and BuySellAds are different in that they sell awareness with high click-through rates. Amazon is best for retailers and BuySellAds works great for entering new markets. There are many choices and finding the one that’s right for you can be a difficult decision. Shoot us an email and we can walk you through the options.