What Google’s ‘Customer Match’ Ad Targeting Means For Online Retailers

Posted by Hannah Stacey 30 Sep 15

Being able to target specific groups of customers and prospects by uploading lists of email addresses might sound fairly old hat for marketers used to using ‘custom audience’ features on Facebook or Twitter’s advertising platforms.

But the big news of this week is that Google has joined the custom audience party, announcing the launch of its ‘Customer Match’ targeting product in a blog on Sunday.

This post will give you the lowdown on this new announcement, and offer some pointers about how Customer Match might be useful for ecommerce marketers.

What’s the deal then?

‘Customer Match’ is a new ad targeting product from Google.

It gives Adwords advertisers the ability to upload lists of customer email addresses to the platform and target these lists with specific ads (provided that users are logged into their Google account at the time) within Google search results pages, in the ‘promotions’ tab in Gmail or when they’re viewing a video on YouTube.

What’s more, the kind folk at Google have also thrown in a ‘Similar Audiences’ tool, enabling advertisers to reach new prospects on YouTube and in Gmail that look similar to existing members of a ‘customer match’ list.

While Google isn’t providing a specific start date, it says these changes will be rolled out to everyone over ‘the next few weeks’. You can find more details on this support page.

What does it mean for online retailers?

In Google’s own words, this new feature:

“help[s] you reach customers that you already have a relationship with -- like those in your loyalty program or who have made a previous purchase -- in ways that are most relevant to their intent and context.”

As big fans of relevant, context-driven ecommerce marketing, we’re particularly excited about the opportunities this latest development presents when it comes to reaching prospects with the right message at the right point in their customer journey.

As always, the more targeted and segmented your efforts are, the more likely the message is to resonate with recipients. Here are some ideas for how ecommerce marketers might put ‘customer match’ targeting into practice:

Lifecycle-based targeting

Creating ads aimed at activating customers and prospects, for example:

  • encouraging contacts who have not yet made a purchase to come on-site and buy something
  • encouraging one-off purchasers to become repeat customers
  • re-activating lapsed or ‘at risk’ customers (particularly those that were good customers in the past)

Taste targeting

Creating lists of customers that have demonstrated an interest in a specific category or type of product, and creating specific ads aimed at engaging them.

Loyalty schemes

Creating ads for those that have joined a loyalty programme.

For example if you’re a beauty brand, you could serve ads to people who have joined your loyalty program as they search for new products. For example, if one was to search for 'best face cream' on Google.com, you can show relevant ads at the top of their search results on any device.

Acquiring more of your best customers

Using the ‘Similar Audiences’ tool in conjunction with a list of your best (‘hero’) customers in order to try and acquire more people like them.


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