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Customer Match: New Year, New Search Campaign

January 19, 2016


In late 2015 Google announced a new feature update for AdWords called Customer Match. Until recently it was slightly ambiguous as to how Customer Match worked and very few Irish advertisers had used Customer Match. Thankfully, Customer Match has become a lot clearer and we at Starcom have been running Customer Match campaigns since late 2015 and want to take you through our learnings from this process.

First of all, let’s look at Google’s official line on Customer Match: Customer Match lets you upload a list of email addresses that your customers have given you, and, when they’re signed into Google Search, YouTube, or Gmail, you can show them ads.” Basically, this means you can take a list of customer names from your customer database, upload them into Adwords, Youtube or Gmail and start to target those customers with tailored ads. For example, you might be an online retailer who requires that customers register with you before they can buy your goods/services. However, like many other businesses not every customer who registers with you will purchase from you. This is the perfect example of when Customer Match is ideal, as you can target only the customers who’ve registered, but haven’t purchased. You can then target these registered customers with specific messaging. There’s also an option with Customer Match to exclude your customer base and only target people outside of your known customer base.

While the process of uploading the Customer Match list is fairly straight forward, there are a lot of pre-cautionary measures you need to take before uploading a list, particularly if you are uploading the list on your customers behalf.

So here’s what you need to know before you upload a Customer Match list:

  • Google require that Advertisers let their customers know they are sharing their information with third parties. Basically this means when a customer signs up to your services, you need to tell customers that their data could be shared with third parties before they sign up
  • The Advertiser must provide Google with a link to their subscription preferences where a customer can change their email preferences- This means that all Customer Match ads will include an info icon and if the customer clicks on the icon they will be told they are being shown this advertisement because they are signed up to X companies mailing list. The Customer has the option to unsubscribe from the ad but unsubscribing does not automatically take them off the Customer Match list, this must be done manually by Company X
  • To remove a name from a Customer Match list is a manual process, the best way to do this is to upload a new list; It’s possible for this to be automated but a developer would need to set this up
  • Once an email list is uploaded all the e-mails are then deleted, Google does not keep email addresses. The advertiser also has the option to change the emails to a particular format, so only Google’s Interface can read the e-mail addresses
  • If an Advertiser decides to stop using Customer Match they don’t need to worry about their data being stored because Google do not store email addresses and Customer Match lists are deleted after 180 days
  • The lists are uploaded via SSL encryption- for all us non techy folks, that basically means it’s really secure
  • Lists that we upload don’t necessarily have to be Gmail addresses, the email just needs to be associated with a Google account and Google will  then match that email to an existing Google account
  • To use Customer Match there is a minimum threshold of 1,000 matched emails to Google accounts
  • There is no way to automatically remove a name from a Customer Match list once they’ve converted to a customer, this needs to be done by uploading a new list

So that’s everything you need to be aware of before you upload a Customer Match list. The process of uploading the list is fairly straight forward and Google have a helpful guide to walk you through the process.

I hope Customer Match is now a lot clearer to you and your business can reap the rewards of using Customer Match.

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