Google Wallet and Offers to Revolutionise Advertising

Google officially took the wraps off  Google Wallet, it’s NFC payment service yesterday, it also announced it’s Google Offers service.

Google wallet provides a quick way to pay for things using your phone and Google Offers is like Groupon.  Combined, these services will let you find and pay for local deals.

Google aren’t taking a cut of the payments you make, that’s left to the credit card companies, but Google will be charging businesses to promote their deals via Google Offers in the same way as Groupon. The hope is that the close connection between the two services will give it an edge over Groupon, who oh so rudely spurned Googles attempt to buy them.

There’s an old adage in marketing that half of the advertising money you spend is wasted, but no one can tell you which half. Online advertising and ecommerce went some way to changing this. Adwords and Analytics make it very easy to tell exactly what return on your advertising spend you are getting, in minute detail and in near real time.

Measuring the effect of old school advertising like print media and TV ads has always been imprecise. Cut out coupons and online discount codes are one way, but uptake rates are small and vary wildly so ROI has largely been guess work, and guesswork done by advertising professionals with a vested interest in the result.

Allowing payments to be made on the same device that ads are served on makes it a simple matter to tell how well an ad or offer is performing, almost in real time.  This system also provides opportunities to monitor the effect of off line ads,, for example you could tap your phone on an NFC enabled poster to load a discount in to your phone for a local restaurant, which you would then redeem when you pay your bill with your phone. It would then be trivial to analyse the data to show the advertiser exactly how many people had used it.

It get’s better for advertisers too;  imagine that you’ve been researching digital cameras, Google knows this and can tie your search history to your phone via your Google account. Next time your near a shopping centre, your phone alerts you to a special offer in a nearby camera shop.

The bottom line is that these new services give Google a whole load more information about you that they can use to target you with ads.

It’s not all roses though, my battered old leather wallet has a couple of big advantages over an NFC enabled phone. My wallet doesn’t need constant charging, nor does it cease to function if there’s no signal. If my phone gets lost or stolen, I can still get home if I have my wallet, if my wallet gets lost I can still call the bank to cancel my cards.

The next thing Google will try to build in to phones will be house and car keys,  just so that losing it will be even more disastrous. Eggs in one basket people…

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