Target More Directly: Google’s Customer Match Launch

October 2, 2016

This last Sunday, Google made an announcement that shocked the online advertising world. After many months of wondering by advertisers, publishers, and businesses, Google announced their “Customer Match” feature in AdWords. This feature allows you to directly target your current customers by allowing you to upload your email list to AdWords, and use that to create an Audience to market to.

Yes, you read that last sentence right. For the first time ever, you can directly target Google ads to email addresses you have collected via other marketing channels. 

This is going to unlock a whole new paradigm for advertisers and marketers. This will primarily be used for Remarketing, letting current customers know about a new product, sale, or service that would be relevant to them.  However, since we are now basing the targeting off of emails, and not just pixels, we can reach an even higher level of relevance than before. If you have a rewards/loyalty program, you can advertise directly to them when they search for a product – “Buy it from our site and get your 50 points”.

Customer Match will also lead to more effective campaigns. One of the big issues for advertisers is the idea of “ad fatigue” – the more a visitor sees a particular ad, the less likely they are to click on it. Due to the more specific nature of Customer Match, the ads we run can be even more relevant to the view, thanks to this new targeting method. We can create new types of campaigns and ads, since we know exactly who will be seeing them.

Depending on the list that gets uploaded, we can also know that we are advertising to a higher quality of visitor – if you have a list of at least 1000 current customers who have opted-in, you can now easily target your past customers with new promotions, knowing that they bought from you, have seen your brand, and have some level of affinity for it.

Customer Match also dovetails nicely with the Similar Audience feature in AdWords – combining these features allow us to create an audience to advertise to, which is based on the list of emails that were uploaded. This is, in my opinion, the true killer feature of Customer Match. In our earlier example, where we uploaded 1000 current customers, we could now advertise to web visitors who share characteristics and behaviors with your current customers.

As large of a shift as Customer Match is, it gets even more power when it is part of an Inbound strategy. Assume, for a second, that we are a company who has 2 main types of customers – businesses and individuals. In the past, we have run AdWords campaign, and toyed with remarketing, but the campaigns haven’t been that effective. Being a company with an Inbound strategy, we have built out personas on our customers, and have created content and landing pages for each of them. By leveraging Customer Match, we could create:

  • 2 Customer Match audiences of our current customers – one for each type. We can then market to these with relevant content offers and new products they would be interested in. This would replace much of the current remarketing efforts
  • 2 Similar Match audiences, based off of the Customer Match audiences – in this case, we end up building out one for each persona. We now have the ability to market to people who are like our current customers, so if we have done a good job at persona research, we can now create ads targeted directly to them. This results in highly relevant ads getting show to people who should (theoretically) fit our persona, based off of actual customer data.

Now our primarily keyword and pixel-based campaigns are instead centered around real customers, resulting in more effective campaigns. We can now run campaigns that have even more customer and persona target built it, because we know more about the viewer. Also, these types of campaigns are a better fit for the current web landscape – pixel-based remarketing can run into issues in the multi-device paradigm, where I may visit from my desktop during the day, but then my iPhone later in the evening. Customer Match, being based around the email and the customer, works across devices from the get-go.

Customer Match is going to represent a major shift in the online advertising space – if you are interested in learning more about how you can begin utilizing it today, contact us today




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