What is Customer Match?

Customer Match is a new feature within Adwords Remarketing that allows advertisers to reach existing customers with PPC search ads (and Display ads across Gmail and YouTube) using audience lists created from email addresses uploaded into Adwords. This is similar to Facebook Custom Audiences and Twitter Tailored Audiences.


How do you create a list?

Customer Email lists are created via the ‘Audiences’ tab within Adwords in the same way that you would create a regular Remarketing list. If the email addresses are associated with a Google account (primary email address), these will be matched to signed-in users on Google and you can then start serving ads to these users.

The list of email addresses that you upload is only used for the purpose of matching users to Google IDs and for policy compliance. Any data uploaded is kept securely and deleted within 7 days of the date it is first uploaded (once matching is complete).


What are the requirements?

  • You may only upload first-party customer information (third party data is not allowed).
  • Email addresses may either be hashed or unhashed.
  • The list needs to contain at least 1,000 active users – this is for privacy reasons.
  • List membership must be set to no more than 180 days.
  • When uploading the list of email addresses, you must also provide a link to your email marketing opt-out page.
  • Advertisers are responsible for managing their own email subscription lists – if someone unsubscribes from your email list, they will still be contained within your Customer Match list, so it is your responsibility to update the list to make sure these emails are removed.
  • You must also ensure that your privacy policy discloses that you share information with third parties.
  • Lists must either be uploaded via the Adwords interface or using the Google API. There is no limit on the number of lists you can upload.


What does this mean for us as marketers?

  1. Re-engage with past customers – Customer Match allows us to reach users that we already have a relationship with. This can help us to stay visible in front of our customers and to encourage repeat purchases and leads.
  2. Customised messaging – It allows for an additional level of personalisation and segmentation with our ads, allowing us to create highly targeted ads and landing pages with customised messaging that is specifically designed to reach our target audience.
  3. Target users across devices – Cross-device targeting is even easier as (unlike normal Remarketing) a cookie is not required to target these users. Customer Match allows us to target users that are signed into their Google account, no matter what device they are using or where they are!
  4. Enables cross-selling of products and services – we can reach out to our previous customers with other product or service offerings that they may also be interested in.
  5. Create Similar Audiences – Using Customer Match we can generate Similar Audiences to reach new customers across YouTube and Gmail who may be interested in our products or services.
  6. Exclude Existing Customers – These lists can also be used as Audience Exclusions, meaning that we can also use customer email addresses to prevent our ads from showing to previous customers. 

To summarise, if you have access to a fairly large customer email database, then Customer Match could be a useful Remarketing tool that will enable you to target your existing customers with highly relevant messaging at times when it is most effective. In addition, it can provide a great opportunity to cross-promote your other products and services to existing customers.

The email lists can also be used to exclude existing customers from your ad campaigns, which can be particularly useful if your goal is to only attract new business and leads rather than repeat business.