How to Use Google's New Customer Match Feature


After the months of speculation and years of debating, Google has finally announced its next step in personalization across many of its ad products.

Earlier this week, Google released Customer Match, a feature that gives advertisers the ability to upload a batch of email addresses to Google. This ultimately provides targeting capabilities to specific customers that were previously unavailable.

Google has long debated the privacy implications of such a move, given its market share. However, the success of similar Facebook and Twitter products – Custom and Tailored Audiences, respectively – has made this feature impossible to ignore.

Custom Match will be available across four of Google’s largest products: Search, YouTube TrueView, Gmail, and the Google Display Network.

How Does It Work?

First, you need a minimum of at least 1,000 targetable customers before you can create a list. This is a much larger amount than Facebook requires, with a goal of increasing anonymity for both advertisers and customers. 

Similar to remarketing lists, advertisers can upload email addresses into the Audiences tab in AdWords. Google will then match these email addresses with any Google log-ins that share the same email address. The company has made it very clear that it will discard all data once a match happens.  

That is pretty much it – now you have an audience list to target against. 

What Can You Do With Customer Match?

This is a pretty powerful tool for a number of reasons, but here are the main areas of opportunity that are available to advertisers:

1. Bringing Back Previous Customers

You can target customers that have purchased in the past, but have not been back to your site or purchased in a while.

2. Excluding Existing Customers

If there is an expensive, non-brand keyword that you specifically want to target for new customers, you can exclude existing customers. This is similar to remarketing lists for search ads, but now it is not just tied to the Google cookie pool. It is also connected to your email list.

3. Cross-Sell Existing Customers

Custom Match allows you to target consumers who are already customers, and help expand your services by showing them content for supplementary or complementary products. For example, you can zero in on customers who already have a home loan, but are looking for a checking account and offer relevant content based on these needs.

4. Create Look-Alike Models to Find Similar Customers

Have a group of consumers that are your top tier, most profitable, and most loyal? Custom Match is a perfect way to create a cohort of customers and look for others with the same characteristics from browsing behavior, keyword search behavior, or other contextual clues.

These four ways to target customers in conjunction with the ability to have unique creative, bids, and copy open up a whole new world of exciting marketing possibilities. What is mentioned above merely scratches the surface, as each scenario will appeal differently to every individual brand and marketer.

No matter what your predisposition to this type of targeting is, the fact remains that personalization options drive the future of advertising. Testing and learning how this impacts your brand is key, so I encourage everyone to give Custom Match a try.


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