Marketing Insights
Marin Software's Official Blog

Google’s Customer Match: How to Use First-Party Data for Best-in-Class Performance

Google’s Customer Match: How to Use First-Party Data for Best-in-Class Performance

By   November 19th, 2015

This is a guest post from Dionte Pounds, Account Manager at
3Q Digital.

Customer Match is an exciting new feature that Google recently unveiled that can greatly strengthen your ability to connect with an existing customer base. You now have the option to upload the email addresses of past customers or email subscribers directly to AdWords. You can then target that audience through Google Search, Gmail, or YouTube. Similar features are already available through AdRoll and Facebook. With Google’s newest addition, you can now leverage 1st-party data across yet another network.

This is fantastic news for all advertisers, particularly those in possession of large lists of customer emails who are looking for new ways to utilize that data to improve marketing efforts. Every marketer I know is looking for a better way to increase marketing efficiency, so this should really benefit all of us.

Google is allowing you to take what you know about your customers and use that to drive messaging across devices and platforms. This, in turn, allows you to build loyalty and repeat purchases among an existing customer base.

Three Main Methods for Leveraging
Customer Match

1) The first, and most obvious, way to use Customer Match is to stay in front of your customers. If someone has made a purchase from your business, these audiences can be used to target existing customers and keep your brand fresh in their mind. This encourages repeat purchases and leads to incremental gains.

2) The second is to re-engage past buyers who haven’t interacted with your brand in an extended period of time. Imagine Jane Doe bought a stereo in January and hasn’t purchased from your brand since. You can now create an audience specifically to target her, and individuals like her, when they’re logged into the Google network.

3) The third method is to create a negative audience. This audience is made from a group of people whom you do not want to see your ads. (Maybe you don’t want to risk overexposure, or you wouldn’t benefit from re-engaging this audience.) Businesses focusing on generating leads fit into this category. Customer Match allows you to create and exclude that audience from your advertising campaigns. As a result, you only capture new leads.

There’s a Low Barrier of Entry

Setup for Customer Match is simple. Upload a .csv file containing hashed email addresses directly into AdWords. The larger the list the better, since audiences with fewer than 1,000 members won’t be targeted through any of Google’s networks for privacy reasons. Once processed, you have a new audience to target across devices and channels like any other remarketing audience.

The one exception here is the Display Network, since this feature is not yet compatible. For YouTube and Gmail, Google also creates a “Similar Audience” when eligible. This can increase overall lead volume by allowing you to target audiences made of new users who exhibit characteristics similar to your Customer Match lists.

Customers Come First

Google goes to great lengths to protect user privacy, and this feature is no different. All data uploaded to AdWords must be 1st-party data. All email addresses must be hashed before uploading. Once they’ve been processed and matched to Google users, all data is discarded. This process ensures that all user information remains safe and protected throughout the entire matching process.

Additionally, advertisers must provide a link to a webpage where users manage email preferences. This link is a requirement, and you won’t be able to use Customer Match without providing it. Failure to comply with Google privacy policy can result in being denied the ability to use the Customer Match feature and in some cases, account suspensions.

To summarize, if you have a large amount of 1st-party data, Customer Match is a feature you should definitely test. It’s simple to implement and can be used in a variety of ways across Search, Gmail, and YouTube. Since Google makes privacy a top priority, you don’t need to worry about putting any of your customer base at risk. Overall, the AdWords team has made a great improvement that makes it easier for businesses to enhance consumer relationships and brand loyalty.