Google Customer Match: The New Wave in Targeting Ads

Apr 20, 2016 | B2C / HCP

Google is maximizing the potential of your email list building efforts with Customer Match. The Customer Match product was released last year to give digital marketers the opportunity to use customer-owned data to target their Google ads more efficiently and increase the potential for customer engagement. Customer Match is an AdWords remarketing list builder that takes your uploaded email list and matches the addresses with Google Accounts to create an audience list. With the bonus of going beyond search ads and targeting both YouTube and Gmail users, Customer Match is certainly a great option all marketers should consider adding to their arsenal.

How does it work?

When you upload your first-party data collected email list (emails collected through your website, apps etc.), Google takes approximately 24-hours to match those emails to Google accounts. Once the Customer Match audience is ready, marketers can create campaigns to target those users when they are active in their Google account. This tool shows ads on Google Search, YouTube and Gmail creating a marketing campaign with a personalized experience based on the user’s interests and their current position in your customer journey funnel. Customer Match gives Google advertisers the same capabilities as those on the Facebook and Twitter platforms by finally offering this tailored audience creation option.

How is Customer Match different from Retargeting Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)?

Customer Match goes beyond URL-based remarketing lists like those used for RLSA. Falling in line with Google’s increased efforts to create a mobile friendly experience, Customer Match is largely more effective on mobile devices. Retargeting lists rely solely on cookies which users can delete and block and limit the ability of the tool but Customer Match centers around emails, more stable data, and sign-in activity. Customer Match offers the opportunity to target users by their specific behaviors and reach them on a broader platform while RLSA only reaches customers on Google search results pages. Customer Match also offers a longer life span to your connection with your customers by extending past the 180-day membership duration limit of RLSA activity. Advertisers can simply upload the email addresses of customers who expressed interest in their brand a year prior and still be able to build a campaign to target them. This works great for seasonal services and products.

Should Users Be Worried About their Privacy with Customer Match?

Customer Match’s use of personal email addresses and Google accounts may raise some understandable concern from users, but Google has added strong security measures to help ease their fears.

  • Opt-out Option. Google requires all advertisers to offer users an email opt-out link. Users can use the “Why This Ad” link to change their preferences or opt out directly from the Customer Match targeting ad.
  • No Third-Party Sharing. Google promises the data uploaded to Customer Match will never be shared with third-parties, used for any other Google products or utilized for enhancing users’ existing profiles. As an extra fail-safe, uploaded email addresses are deleted seven days after the Customer Match is complete.
  • The data uploaded to Customer Match can also be encrypted with the SHA256 algorithm. This encryption leaves Google blind to the email addresses while the Customer Match tool builds the audience.

The marketing possibilities of Customer Match are endless. Advertisers can upload customer email lists (of at least 1000 addresses) that match broad or specific criteria to suit their marketing needs. Current reports are showing an average match rate of about 50% so marketers should keep in mind that larger lists will have better matching opportunities.