Introducing Google Customer Match

For the first time ever, advertisers can target ads against customer-owned data through Google AdWords new feature – Customer Match.

Customer Match allows advertisers to upload their customer and promotional email address lists into AdWords.  From these email lists, retailers can build campaigns and ads specifically designed to reach their audience.

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

Although Google Customer Match is designed to help retailers reach their “highest-value customers” by strengthening connections with their known customer base on Google Search, it also helps retailers forge new relationships across other channels including YouTube TrueviewGmail Native Ads.customer-563967_640

With Google Customer Match, retailers 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 crosssell strategies
    • Leverage customer relationship management (CRM) data to promote repeat purchases and increase loyalty


In the past, retailers have been 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).

rick-backusAlthough 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, we predicted Google would build out a feature to retarget audiences using email addresses. Following this announcement, it looks like Google has finally caught up with Facebook’s targeting methods,” Rick Backus, CEO at CPC Strategy said.

“The ability to create campaigns based on this type of detailed customer insight within AdWords is pretty groundbreaking news for marketers. I anticipate under the Alphabet spin-up, the Google organization will continue to be aggressive, introducing more features like this in 2016.”

What You Should Know About Google Customer Match

Upload Email Addresses – Google Customer Match allows advertisers to upload a list of email addresses in AdWords under the ‘Audiences’ tab. Google currently requires the customer email lists to have a minimum of 1000 email addresses.

Verify Emails with Google – For each list uploaded, Google will match the email addresses with users’ primary Google account email address. 

Generate Similar Audiences – Corresponding Google accounts are generated into an audience list, which is ready for targeting like any other remarketing list.  Retailers can generate similar audience lists to reach new customers on YouTube and Gmail who are likely to be interested in their products and services.

For example, a retailer can drive awareness on YouTube for new a soccer cleat by showing TrueView ads to prospective customers who have similar interests and characteristics to other soccer members. Note, that this is currently not available on the Google Display Network.

Hashed Emails – It is not required that advertisers use hashed emails.  All email addresses – hashed or otherwise – will be uploaded via SSL. Emails that do not match to Google account email addresses, as well as duplicates, are ignored, and the file is deleted after matching and compliance checks.

How to Create A Customer Email List

  • Sign in to AdWords.
  • Click Shared library.
  • Click Audiences.
  • Click +Remarketing list and select “Customer emails” from the drop-down menu.
  • Enter a name.
  • Select “Upload customer email addresses.”
  • Choose a file (see requirements below).
  • Enter an email opt-out link. Provide a link to the page where people can manage their preferences for receiving email from you, including opting out of any email lists they may be subscribed to.
  • Set a membership duration.
  • Check the box “This data was collected and is being shared with Google in compliance with Google’s policies.”
  • Click Upload and save list. You can view the progress of your uploading file under “Audiences,” which can take up to 3 hours to complete.
  • Add your customer emails list to your campaign.
  • To show ads on Gmail, add your list to a “Display Network only” campaign that uses “Gmail Ads” from the “Ad gallery.” To do this, open the campaign, click the Display Network tab, click + Targeting, choose your campaign and ad group, click “Add targeting” and select “Interests and remarketing,” then click “Remarketing lists” and select a list.
  • To show ads on Google Search, add your list to a “Search Network only” or “Search Network with Display Select” campaign.
  • To show ads on YouTube, add your list to an “Online video” campaign.


Customer Match Requirements:

  • File uses the .csv format and is no more than 17MB
  • Email addresses in the file are hashed (if necessary) and separated by a comma or a line break
  • List membership duration is no more than 180 days
  • Campaign reaches 1,000 or more active visitors
  • Email addresses that don’t comply with the Policy for Customer Match have been removed


Customer Match and Similar Audiences will be available globally over the next few weeks.

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


[bctt tweet=”Google Customer Match Targets Consumer Emails”]

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