Last week, Google announced Customer Match – a product much anticipated since the Wall Street Journal first reported on its existence, earlier this year.
Earlier you had to rely on demographics provided by Google, or the behavior actions of users to target them in AdWords. Now, the new Customer Match option allows you to create ads tailored to the intent of your target audience by simply uploading a list of email addresses, which can be matched to signed-in users on Google in a secure way. (This includes ads in search, Gmail and YouTube. To illustrate, you could create Adwords ads offering special discounts to your recent purchasers of Product X if they upgrade this month).
Targeting customer audiences by uploading your existing email marketing lists is already a powerful tool used for Facebook and Twitter advertisers.
What’s the significance of this update?
We’re in an era of impulsive purchases, wherein it is very critical to deliver right message to the right audience for a successful ad campaign. If you can understand the right intent of your customers, you can deliver more personalized, contextual bids and ads to connect with your audience at the right time, driving cost-efficiency.
Integrating Customer Data: By integrating customer data like email addresses with marketing strategies, you can target every customer differently (e.g. new vs existing). Often, email addresses are associated with additional information like age, sex, gender, which further gives you an opportunity to customize your ads to a more specific audience.
A step ahead of Remarketing lists for Search Ads (RLSA): Customer Match is an enhancement to the capabilities that you currently have under RLSA. RLSA allows you to create audience list based on the user’s action, which helps you creating different strategies for different audience. However, RLSA has few limitations, like it bounds the types of data required for building RLSA strategies. Also, a user can remain on an RLSA list for only 180 days unless they take any further action. Customer Match, a step ahead of RLSA gives you an opportunity to optimize your advertising programs for a different and larger audience, using first-party data. This data includes offline interactions and other CRM data that you can make use of.
Focus on Video & Mobile: Both mobile and video are the key focus for Google in this update. Today, users prefer customized and personalized experiences that meet their immediate needs. With Customer Match, you can deliver mobile experiences customized to their immediate needs, making every moment ‘shoppable’ for them.
Define your segmentations: A database of email addresses would not be enough to create a better ad experience, you’ll require data segmentation too. The more defined and segmented your data, the better you’ll be able to match your email list to custom targets for activities like upsell, cross-sell, retention, etc.
Maintenance: Email lists should be updated as customers unsubscribe, sign-in, or update their segments. Lists should be kept up-to-date for maximizing the effectiveness of the ad campaigns. The frequency of the updates depend upon how large your customer base is. Google requires lists to be updated weekly. Also, it requires you to import your own lists.
Match Rates: Google can only match the ad with the email address if the user is logged in to their Google accounts.
Security: Email addresses are associated with personal identifiable information like phone numbers, addresses, etc. As personalized targeting like this requires email addresses, you should double down on controls to manage consumer privacy.
In addition to Customer Match, Google has also released Universal App Campaigns that makes use of lookalike algorithms to recognize users similar to your target audience. These users will also be targetable on YouTube and Gmail. The good news is that Google has announced rolling out of Customer Match to all advertisers over the next few weeks.