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Google’s new ‘Customer Match’ enables targeted ads using email addresses

October 20, 2015

Richard Halling
Rich manages the paid search advertising department at Candidsky, with over 7 years of hands on industry experience, managing campaigns for established household brands.

Launched at the back end of September, Google introduced a real game-changing feature called ‘Customer Match’


What Is Customer Match?

Customer Match allows advertisers to target ads for people who have disclosed their email addresses. Using this feature, you can now show advertisements based on what the user is watching or searching for on any device, when using any of Google’s services including: Gmail, Search and YouTube.

Custom audience match targeting is something that Facebook, Twitter and other social networks have been doing for a while so, this seems like a natural progression for Google. The way you can target audiences via paid social has created more of an ‘identity based’ marketing strategy and it’s exciting to see Google Adwords going down this route too.

Google already offers a host of targeting options, but nothing near as powerful as Customer Match. If you already have customer email addresses, it’s likely they’ve already expressed interest in your brand and are more receptive to your advertisements. This will likely have more of an impact than similar targeting offered by social networks, because search audiences have a higher level of intent. They are actively searching for your brand, product, or service.

How Does It Work?

To begin, you will need a minimum of 1,000 targetable customers to create your list. Similar to remarketing, advertisers can upload email addresses into the shared library – audiences section of AdWords. Google will match the email addresses with any Google log-ins that share the same email address. Once a match happens, Google has made it very clear that it will discard all data – “The list of email addresses you upload will only be used to match to Google IDs and for policy compliance. It won’t be shared with anyone and will be deleted 7 days after matching and the compliance check are complete”.

Now that’s done, you have an audience list to target against. There’s also another nifty function called ‘similar audience match’ which allows you to find new customers based on parameters identified in the uploaded lists, even if they haven’t visited your site.

This enables marketers to develop a highly segmented and personalised strategy. As an example, instead of paying for an email marketing campaign, you can serve personalised ads to your customers and only pay if they decided to click (PPC), which might be more cost effective. It can offer a great way to engage with customers that haven’t purchased or visited your website for some time. Maybe you don’t want to advertise to your current customers at all. By uploading a list of all of your current customers, you can exclude them from being served certain ads. The opportunities with Customer Match are numerous and can only limited by the amount of data associated with your email lists that enables you to segment your audiences.

Google knows that users expect relevant results from their searches. Now, for the first time, marketers will be able to tailor customer audience segments with first-party data.

To find out more, please do not hesitate to contact myself or the team.

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