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AdWords Customer Match: What It Is, Why It’s a Big Deal, and How You Can Start Using It Now

By Zac Bond

Recently, Google rolled out a new feature for AdWords: Customer Match. Customer Match lets you upload your customer or promotional email lists into AdWords, which Google then matches to logged-in users, allowing you to serve ads directly to them in a secure way that protects their privacy. Google studies have shown that “ 69% of online consumers agree that the quality, timing and relevance of a brand’s message influences their perception,” and that percentage goes up when you poll customers that you already have a relationship with. With Customer Match, you can now deliver the most relevant information to your most valuable customers at exactly the moment they’re searching on Google, Gmail or YouTube. Once you’ve uploaded a list of email addresses, you can build campaigns and ads, and set bids specifically designed around your audience.

Adding first-party data to search results, much like Facebook’s Custom Audiences or Twitter’s Tailored Audiences, is a feature that AdWords advertisers have been hoping for. For some time now, we’ve been able to use retargeting lists from Google Analytics in display ads and Retargeting Lists for Search Ads (RLSA), but both of these methods depend on cookies and don’t play well with mobile devices. That’s another reason why Customer Match is so exciting; it uses email addresses and user sign-ins that are suitable for all devices.

Google will also generate “Similar Audiences” lists for Customer Match in the same way it does for remarketing lists. So you can upload a list of people you know have made a purchase, and Google’s matching algorithm will find you additional audiences with the same characteristics that can be targeted on Google, YouTube or Gmail.

It’s important to note here that everything is encrypted, so consumer privacy is maintained. The advertiser won’t be able to see which Google users correspond to which email addresses, or which specific users clicked an ad. Users can also control the ads they see by going into their Google Ads Settings and opting out of personalized ads entirely or blocking ads from certain advertisers.

Advertisers will be able to upload email lists to Audiences manually or with the AdWords API, and there is no limit to the number of lists you can use. This is a huge deal for AdWords, because it brings some of the power of directly targeting users over from paid social campaigns. In the past, we had to rely on vague interest or affinity categories, or past actions on a website, to target customers. Now we can upload an email list and target users we know are customers directly.

Here at Lunar Logic, we’re super-excited to add Customer Match as a targeting option for our clients, especially when we can coordinate with email marketing efforts.

Links with more info:

Google Inside AdWords Blog

Wordstream Article

How to upload a customer match list

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