Customer Match for Google Shopping

Thanks to the introduction of Customer Match for Google Shopping – advertisers can focus campaigns on their highest-value audiences – including previous purchasers, rewards members, newsletter subscribers, or local in-store shoppers.

Customer Match is a feature aimed to re-engage loyal customers as they shop on Google.

Last year, we covered the announcement introducing Google Customer Match to Search, Gmail, and YouTube, allowing advertisers to upload a list of email addresses, which can be matched to signed-in users on Google.

Customer Match for Shopping allows advertisers to adjust bids across various segments of their known customers.

Advertisers upload a list of email addresses into AdWords, that are matched to signed-in users on Google. Then they can create a remarketing list to reach these customers across campaigns.

Below is an example of how Customer Match for Google works:

customer match google shopping

According to Google, approximately 70% of online consumers agree that the quality, timing, and relevance of a brand’s message influences their perception of a brand.

The primary goal of Customer Match is to help retailers reach customers that they already have a relationship with — like those in their loyalty program or those who have made a previous purchase — in ways that are most relevant to their intent and context.

Customer Match for Google Shopping can:

  • Generate awareness with customers that are likely to be interested in a product based off of past purchases
  • Utilize valuable customer data to tailor messaging in marketing campaigns (ex: target shopping cart abandoners)
  • Drive purchases through upsell or cross-sell strategies
  • Leverage customer relationship management (CRM) data to promote repeat purchases and increase loyalty

Although the program is still in beta, advertisers can sign up here for an early inclusion.

Customer Match for Google Shopping: The Early Findings

Prior to Customer Match, retailers were able to serve display ads to customers using retargeting lists in Google Analytics or tailor bids / ads to audiences using Retargeting Lists for Search Ads (RLSA).

Although useful, previous retargeting efforts are based off of cookies – which customers can block or easily avoid since they are not typically optimized for mobile.

In contrast, Customer Match uses email addresses and user- sign ins -which are considered more reliable across all devices.

“Earlier this year, Rick Backus, CEO at CPC Strategy predicted Google would build out a feature to retarget audiences using email addresses and finally catch with Facebook’s targeting methods.josh

Although it is too early to gauge initial results from the new Shopping beta, we asked our team of experts to chime in on the impact they’ve seen from the Customer Match for Search, Gmail, and YouTube.

“I think I can give a general consensus for Text & Display, that we have seen very limited results in terms of volume. I haven’t seen or heard this really moved the needle for anyone,” – Josh Brisco, Manager Retail Search Operations at CPC Strategy

roman-fitchAlthough account performance has been strong, in general – we’ve seen very limited volume and little discernible impact from Customer Match.

One possible theory for the lack of impact is due to potential misalignment among “Match” rates and the exclusivity of the feature.

“The ad only shows to users who have a Gmail account, and are logged into their Google account, and searching for a keyword/product eligible to trigger and impression,” Roman Fitch, Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy.

The Customer Match for Google Shopping Email Matching Process

Below are details about how the matching process works and how Google processes the files advertisers upload:

  • Advertisers are responsible for putting together your customer data files. If you’d like to further protect the data, you can hash it with the SHA256 algorithm. This algorithm is the industry standard for hashing data. You may also upload the data without hashing it.

  • You must upload the data file using AdWords or the Adwords API. We use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for your upload, which is the industry standard for securely transferring files.

  • For matching based on your customers’ email addresses, Google maintains the email addresses for Google accounts and the corresponding hashed strings for those email addresses.

  • After you’ve uploaded your list of email addresses, we compare each hashed string (or email address, if you didn’t hash) on your list with the hashed string or email address of Google accounts. If there’s a match, we add the corresponding Google account to your Customer Match audience. If an email address doesn’t match, we may still use it as part of our policy compliance checks, but we won’t otherwise use it for Customer Match or any other Google product. The matching process can take up to 24 hours.

  • After the matching process and policy compliance checks are complete, your data file is marked for deletion.

  • You can then start targeting your Customer Match audience in your AdWords campaigns.

  • You can also start targeting similar audiences on YouTube and Gmail, if your Customer Match audience meets the eligibility requirements.

We will continue to monitor the impact of Customer Match for Google Shopping over the next few weeks. For more information on how to create a customer email list, check out our recent post here.

For more on Customer Match for Google Shopping, email [email protected]

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