Customer Match Boost Targeted Marketing

How Google’s New “Customer Match” Can Boost Your Targeted Marketing

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Jay Dillon

Director of Strategy and Creative at Inbound Experts
Jay is a digital marketer and producer whose creative and technical skills have developed digital brand strategies and sales campaigns using a range of complex internet applications from stand-alone websites through to Facebook API integrations.
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In late September during New York’s 12th annual Ad Week, Google announced the launch of a new targeting tool named Customer Match – most likely in response to Facebook Custom Audiences.

So what is it, how does it work and what does it mean for digital marketers and their future targeted marketing strategies?

What is Customer Match?

The quick description provided by Google’s team via their AdWords blog post stated:

“Customer Match is a new product designed to help you reach your highest-value customers on Google Search, YouTube, and Gmail – when it matters most. Customer Match allows you to upload a list of email addresses, which can be matched to signed-in users on Google in a secure and privacy-safe way. From there, you can build campaigns and ads specifically designed to reach your audience. Users can control the ads they see, including Customer Match ads, by opting out of personalised ads or by muting or blocking ads from individual advertisers through Google Ads Settings.”

You see, in the past, retailers have launched display ads to customers using retargeting lists via Google Analytics. They’ve also tailored bids and ads to audiences using RLSA (Retargeting Lists for Search Ads). Even though this has been seen as useful, these efforts are based on the use of cookies, which means customers can block or avoid them given that they’re not usually optimised for mobile.

Now, for the first time ever, marketing advertisers can actually target ads against customer-owned data thanks to Customer Match, because it uses email addresses and user sign-ins which, in essence, are more reliable across all devices. The ability to create campaigns that are based on these type of detailed customer insights within AdWords is indeed a big step in targeted advertising.

How It Works

With Customer Match, you can upload a list of emails within AdWords under the “Audiences” tab and create campaigns based on this list. You can specify whether they come from Gmail, YouTube or Google, meaning it works for Search, Gmail Sponsored Products and YouTube. It’s important to note that Google has currently set the requirement for customer email lists to have a minimum of 1,000 email addresses.

Google will then match the email addresses with users’ primary Google account email address for each list that is uploaded. These corresponding Google accounts will be generated into an audience list which can then be used for targeting just like any other remarketing list within AdWords. What’s really great is that retailers can then generate similar audience lists to reach new customers on YouTube and Gmail who are likely to be interested in their products.

For example, if an online cosmetics store has a list of former clients then it can use Customer Match to ensure the display of relevant ads to this list when they search for a product on Google. The same can be done if the former clients on the list see tutorial videos on YouTube that are relevant to the store’s cosmetic products. Talk about being able to leverage CRM (Customer Relationship Management) data to promote repeat purchases and increase loyalty!

However, Customer Match does have its requirements. The most important being:

  • List membership duration can not be more than 180 days
  • File has to be .csv format and no more than 17 MB
  • Email addresses in file are hashed and separated by a comma or a line break
  • Email addresses must comply with the Policy for Customer Match or they will be removed

What it means for PPC advertisers

The display ad element of Customer Match through Gmail and YouTube aside, there’s now more room for newly personalised Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns. This is thanks to the large possibilities of segmentation with customer databases. It means that all segments can be tested out – changing bid levels, key-phrases, etc.

A key feature for PPC advertisers is that Customer Match allows you to follow customers across devices. Even though Google already allows online marketers to display PPC ads to previous site visitors with RLSA (carried out using a “cookie pool”) it only allows PPC advertisers to target PPC ads based on pages visited. With Customer Match, there is now the ability to advertise to recognised signed-in users wherever they are – across mobile, tablet, desktop or laptop.

Improved Targeted Marketing Strategies With More Testing

Another great aspect of Customer Match is that it allows marketers to more effectively test – and we all know how important testing can be to improve targeted marketing! Why? Because it allows you to break apart your CRM list into two groups and advertise to one set.

And as always with Google and its products, all activity is recorded so that advertisers can re-analyse test results and perfect their marketing strategies.

And finally…

It’s worth adding that if, for example, you advertise an app for Android via Customer Match, AdWords has also released a new “universal” way of promoting it across multiple ad formats, by using promotional images that are uploaded to Google Play.

This new functionality was launched alongside Customer Match and it’s called Universal App Campaigns – highly recommended since mobile marketing and advertising is becoming more and more dominant.

So if you haven’t already, start testing these out and let us know what you think.

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