Business Insights

Customer Match with Google AdWords

At the end of 2015, Google announced something called ‘customer match’.
Andrew Wassenaar
Published on

At the end of 2015, Google announced something called ‘customer match’. Customer match is a facet of Google AdWords that allows you to target your advertising more effectively. It works by uploading a database of customer email addresses (minimum 1000) to the AdWords interface. When these email addresses are used to log in to a Google service (Google Search, YouTube or Gmail) they will be served targeted ads through the websites they are visiting. 

Customer match is an interesting form of marketing as it targets high value existing customers, as opposed to new opportunities. This can be very useful for things like reward programs. If you are marketing an airline for example, and your existing customers start searching for flights via Google search, you can use customer match to target them with advertising around air miles or the latest travel deals you’re offering. Using customer match can be tailored very specifically to customers that are most likely to click your link, because they’re already looking for something similar. If you think of traditional broad advertising as throwing a net out, customer search is more like spear-fishing. 

You may recall a similar product from early 2015 called RLSA (Remarketing lists for search ads), or ‘remarketing' . Remarketing targeted existing customers in a similar way, but got the database through different means. Instead of having a list of email addresses, it needed a tag on your website that would track visitors and install a cookie in their browser. Then Google could track the customer while they visited other websites and serve relevant ads as they browsed. Again, the minimum database size to use remarketing is 1000.

Both of these approaches have their benefits. Customer match is useful for split-testing, as it is easy to submit certain groups of email addresses to the target database, remove them to add a different group, and then compare the results. Remarketing doesn’t depend on obtaining an email address, so customers can be added to the database just by visiting your homepage, without filling out any forms. 

The question therefore is not ‘Which one should I use?’, but ‘How do I use both effectively?’. Obviously there is going to be an overlap when using both products. New email addresses that are obtained will most likely be from visitors to your website, in which case their information will be captured by both customer match and remarketing. If you are wanting to have only unique users to target, you would have to write exclusions for these lists. 

The point to take away here is that in order to maximise the potential of AdWords, you need to be constantly maintaining and tweaking the targeting. Much like a successful website, successful marketing is not something that can be left alone for months at a time. It must be dynamic, evolving with technology and with your business as a whole.

If you want to set up Customer Match, AdWords, or need help with digital marketing in general, get in touch for a free consult.

Andrew Wassenaar
Published on

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