Google’s new Customer Match gives advertisers even more options

Google have recently announced the addition of customer match to the already wide range of targeting options available across their advertising networks.

What is customer match?

Customer match will allow advertisers to upload a list of email addresses to target users associated with those email addresses with ads on Google search, YouTube, the Google Display Network and Gmail.

Up to now, Google have been outdone in this area by Facebook and Twitter – both the social networks have allowed advertisers to target users in custom audiences based on their email addresses, cell phone numbers and respective Twitter and Facebook IDs.

Twitter's Custom Audience Interface

Twitter’s Custom Audience Interface

How can customer match be used?

This is a very useful targeting option for a client with a well-established list of email addresses – some possible uses include:

  • Collecting the email addresses of individuals showing an interest in a company’s products at a show; this can be followed up by advertiser strategically targeting those users in an online environment after the show with ads tailored to the users’ interest and presence at the show.
  • Customers that have previously made a purchase online can be upsold on additional items relating to their past purchases.
  • Companies with subscription based services can target users in the last period of their subscription with messaging designed to remind them of the usefulness and value of the service to help drive client retention.

An effective targeting option

Google is likely to be able to match users with their email address very effectively. Google have since 2011 started withholding organic search queries from webmasters when the search was done over an encrypted connection. This would occur if someone were to search from an https google connection intentionally or were logged into a Google account when searching. The vast majority can be attributed to users browsing while logged in – the amount of search data encrypted hovers at around 90% for our clients at present.

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Even if only half of this were due to users being logged in – that would still mean 45% of all web users browse the internet while logged into a Google account.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that users are typically logged into multiple Google accounts at a time, with users being logged into their Google accounts across devices – work and home laptops, tablets and on mobile. This all means that Google’s customer match targeting will in all likelihood allow advertisers to target specific users very effectively.

Facebook and Twitter’s custom audience targeting has been limited by the fact that the addresses on the custom email list must match an email address associated with a user’s account on the respective social media platforms. Not always the email account they use on a daily basis.

Highly segmented campaigns with good creative drive great performance

Even with the limitations associated with Facebook and Twitter’s custom audience targeting, we have run very effective campaigns with great returns for our clients in the past. The campaigns have been particularly effective when setup in a very granular fashion with audience lists segmented and overlaid with other targeting options available. When pairing these segments with highly specific messaging – creative optimally tailored to the user – performance has been spectacular.

Based on past results running campaigns utilizing email lists as targeting, we are very excited to start testing and implementing campaigns running on Google search, YouTube, Gmail and the Google Display Network that make use of customer match in smart, innovative ways.

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