How to Up Your Audience Targeting Game With Google Customer Match

jmiklusLast month, Google released a new type of audience targeting that allows advertisers to upload their own CRM data. Customer Match allows advertisers to create first-party data remarketing lists by uploading email addresses to AdWords. Google then matches these email addresses to its own database of signed-in users.

This is a significant move for Google, which has lagged behind Facebook and Twitter in allowing advertisers to use their existing CRM data. Google is closing that gap and even has an advantage: the new targeting capability extends beyond search to include both YouTube Trueview ads and Google Sponsored Promotions – Google’s email-based native ads product. But because the CRM data can only be used on Google owned products, advertisers cannot use email lists across the Google Display Network, which is a disadvantage to display advertisers.

Privacy concerns are likely the reason that Google waited so long to release Customer Match. They have attempted to ease concerns and create a more “privacy-safe” product by letting advertisers hash their email addresses as well as deleting the emails after seven days. However, this may not be enough. When users are on Facebook, they may be more used to seeing ads that are tailored to their behavior. But in the search environment, when someone has a specific intent such as searching for “shaving cream” or “New York hotels,” they may be more wary when they are served an ad that speaks to their member level status or previous purchasing behavior, etc.

Nevertheless, Customer Match certainly has some key benefits to advertisers, including:

No site tagging necessary. Since Customer Match relies on email addresses, there is no need to place a pixel on your website to build a cookie list.

Ability to reach more audiences across mobile. If you’re currently using pixel-based remarketing lists, you’re familiar with the inability to target to mobile users unless you’re passing device level advertiser IDs. Customer Match will be able to reach mobile users since it only relies on the user being signed into his Google account, no matter what device.

Ability to scale current remarketing lists. If you plan to create email lists of users that are similar to your existing pixel-based lists, you can layer the two lists, and Google will de-dupe the audiences to create one large user base.

Create lookalike audiences. Google will also allow advertisers to create and target Similar Audiences, which are users that share interests and characteristics with your current users.

advertiser and google data



As Google continues to develop its own suite of audience targeting products, Customer Match helps to build on its first-party data-targeting capabilities. Advertisers can utilize demo data through products such as Demographics for Search ads, and leverage their own first party data through site pixels and, now, email lists to create powerfully targeted paid search efforts.

Now that you know how Customer Match works, here are a few ideas for strategies to build email address lists:

  • Retarget to your most loyal rewards members with exclusive offers and deals

Example: if you are a car rental company and want to entice rewards members to rebook with an offer for 30% off, you can build a list of non-rewards members and exclude them from targeting so that you are only capturing gold and silver members to potentially receive this deal.

  • Upsell to users who have just completed a purchase, by serving ads for a related product

Example: if you are a retail company selling bicycles, you can build a list of users who recently received bicycle purchase confirmation emails and increase your bids for these particular users when they go and search for similar products such as bike helmets or kneepads.

Instructions for creating email lists, as well as how to hash emails can be found on the Google AdWords site.

Any marketer that is already using their CRM data for retargeting through Facebook or other display channels should absolutely be leveraging Google, especially for the ability to target through paid search (which is unique to Google). Marketers should be asking their agencies how they can leverage this powerful data, and to provide paid search recommendations that consider different keyword types and tailored creative copy that speak to these audiences.

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Jill Miklus

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