Microsoft: Google gets undue credit for ad conversions

Google undeservedly has gotten all the credit for many clicks on the online ads it delivers via its search engine, but Microsoft wants to put a stop to that. So said Brian McAndrews, senior vice president of Microsoft's Advertiser Publisher Solutions Group during a panel discussion at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco Thursday. Currently, systems for tracking ad conversions and analyzing online marketing campaigns focus on the last ad a user viewed or clicked on, he said. This gives all credit to that last publisher and not to others the user may have been at before and influenced the user to seek more information about the advertiser, McAndrews said.

In particular, this situation has unfairly benefitted Google because many times someone will see a display ad on a site and go to Google, search for the vendor's name, and then click on the vendor's text ad served by Google, he said. But Microsoft is developing a technology called "conversion attribution" that will track the trail of ads seen by a user, so that advertisers get a more complete understanding of how effective their marketing campaigns are, he said.

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News source: InfoWorld

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This is of absolutely no concern to the end user, apart from the privacy implications. It's up to Microsoft, Google and others to battle for the best ad tracking technology but the lead Google has means this will make little difference.

This sounds uncomfortably like microsoft is going to track the pages I've viewed and compare that with what I search for. Sounds like a privacy concern to me.

This is just a poorly-veiled slander campaign to promote Microsoft's adCenter, by discrediting their competitor Google.

This "Conversion Attribution" is a type of clickstream statistic already being used to show direct correlation with an ad's conversion rate. The way SEM operates now doesn't "unfairly benefit Google," rather it shows that Google's AdSense provides the more relevant ads to the consumer.

When Microsoft deploys this "Conversion Attribution," the only useful information retrieved would be how to improve their own SEM operations.

But Microsoft is developing a technology called "conversion attribution" that will track the trail of ads seen by a user....

errr.... another "hey let's copy the idea and make something better out of it" ?

I would classify this as "new" because they are right - there is no way of telling how a user got there and no way to accurately track an ad campaign and where your strong/weak links are. This would be very useful. I do see there being privacy concerns and I expect MS to be under fire for that in the near future but I think ultimately it will be a good thing.