Google To Let Advertisers Upload And Target Email Lists In AdWords With Customer Match

Advertisers will be able to upload email lists to target customers and similar audiences with ads on search, Gmail and YouTube.


Google is making its move to bring first-party data to search results — and YouTube and Gmail.

The new product, called Customer Match, lets advertisers upload their customer and promotional email address lists into AdWords. The launch was rumored this spring in a report by the Wall Street Journal, but the new targeting capability extends beyond search to include both YouTube Trueview ads and the newly launched native ads in Gmail.

Customer Match marks the first time Google has allowed advertisers to target ads against customer-owned data in Adwords. Google matches the email addresses against those of signed-in users on Google. Individual addresses are hashed and anonymized. Advertisers will be able to set bids and create ads specifically geared to audiences built from their email lists.

Advertisers have been able to serve ads to site visitors and customers with display ads using retargeting lists captured in Google Analytics. Another product, Retargeting Lists for Search Ads (RLSA), allows users to bid on and serve ads tailored to audiences when they search on Google. Retargeting lists are built with cookies, which users can delete or block and aren’t suited for mobile. Email addresses and user sign-ins, on the other hand, are more stable across devices.

The Customer Match offering also brings Google into line with those long available from both Facebook and Twitter with Custom Audiences and Tailored Audiences, respectively. Enabling CRM uploads and targeting has been incredibly successful for Facebook, and arguably for Twitter, as well. And advertisers have been pushing for Google to enter the fold. Google seems to have come to terms with the privacy considerations involved, perhaps as a result of watching Facebook ad revenues continue to climb.

Similar Audiences Expansion

In addition to reaching existing segments such as newsletter subscribers, recent buyers or loyalty program participants, advertisers will also be able to target new prospects with an expansion of Similar Audiences.

Similar Audiences already exists for retargeting lists on the Google Display Network. The product builds lists of users based on browsing activity on sites in the Display Network, as well as contextual signals from users in the retargeting lists to find new users with shared interests and characteristics.

Now, those lists can also be built based on the activity of CRM audiences.

Similar Audiences for Customer Match lists can be targeted on YouTube and Gmail.

To get started with Customer Match, advertisers upload their email lists to Audiences within AdWords either manually or via the API. There is no limit to the number of lists you can upload.

The announcement comes as Advertising Week kicks off in New York City. Google ads and commerce head, Sridhar Ramaswamy, will formally introduce the new product offerings at 3:00 p.m. on Monday.

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

(Some images used under license from


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