Google’s New Customer Match Feature Introduces Advanced Targeting Opportunities For Digital Marketers

October 11, 2015

Online advertising vendors are in an arms race and Google has made the latest advance with the release of their new Customer Match feature. Customer Match will allow advertisers to use email addresses to target ads across their Search, Display, YouTube, and Gmail ad networks. This feature works by allowing you to upload any number of email lists into your AdWords account. Email addresses are then matched to Google’s signed-in users so that ads can be served to these users across Google advertising outlets. For marketers, this provides a number of exciting advertising possibilities.

Improved Ad Targeting And Segmentation Capabilities

Optimizing ad spend is always a top priority for marketers. This usually involves the fine-tuning of your ad targeting to ensure that your ads are truly relevant to the audience they are being served to. Google offers a variety of targeting options, but none as powerful as Customer Match. If you already have somebody’s email address, it is likely that they have already expressed interest in your business and are more receptive towards your advertisements. This will likely turn out to be more impactful than similar capabilities offered by Facebook and Twitter, as search audiences have a higher level of purchase intent. This is because they are actively searching for your brand, product, or service instead of you being pushed ads to them. Customer Match makes it possible to set bids and create ads specifically for audiences that are known to you and already familiar with your product or service — thus more likely to convert.

Designing your own audiences through email lists allows for really interesting segmentation possibilities. This can allow advertisers to perform segmentations such as promote a product that is complementary to one they have recently purchased. Another segmentation option could be to upsell customers currently on your lower end packages. Or maybe you don’t want to advertise to your current customers at all. By uploading a list of all of your current customers, you can exclude those current customers from being served certain ads. The opportunities with Customer Match are numerous and are only limited by the amount of customer data associated with your email lists that enables you to segment your audiences.

Break Free From Cookie-Based Targeting

Many of Google’s targeting abilities rely on cookies to track users across the web and be able serve ads to them across sites. Customer Match moves away from a reliance on cookies for ad targeting and is instead tied to actual Google accounts. Cookies are tied to specific browsers on specific devices. Customer Match breaks free from these confines because users are typically signed into their Google accounts across all of their devices and web browsers. This enables advertisers to present a consistent, pervasive, and targeted omni-channel advertising campaign.

Increase Your Reach With Similar Audiences

Customer Match also comes with a feature designed to help you market to people that have not yet made it into your email lists. This is with a feature they have dubbed Similar Audiences and can only target users on Gmail and YouTube. Similar Audiences will automatically build audience lists, based on shared interests with those on the target lists that you have uploaded. This will allow advertisers to define advanced segments for new audiences in the same way they are able to for audiences that are already known to them.

Capturing new customers through the Similar Audiences feature means that you need to be able to connect these new names back to the specific ads and keywords that drove them. Keyword attribution is a fairly streamlined process for online desktop conversions, but, due to the omni-channel nature of Customer Match, many conversions will occur as a result of ads being served on smartphones. For smartphone users, the easiest conversion path is often a phone call. To successfully track these new customers found through Similar Audiences, you need call attribution software to capture your offline conversions. This will allow you to gain a complete understanding of your online advertising conversions, both online and offline.

To learn more about paid search audience segmentation and the role phone calls are playing, check out our recent webinar, The Audience Powered Breakthrough: Using Search to Optimize Results.

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