Improve Your Adwords Results with Google’s Customer Match


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Google has recently launched what is being heralded as Adwords’ biggest development yet, and what I believe could be the beginning of something incredibly creepy or super exciting.

Customer Match is the new product that allows advertisers to upload their email lists, allowing Google to work its magic with the insane amount of data it has access to. Essentially, it delivers more targeted advertising across Google search and display, YouTube and native ads within Gmail.

If this sounds remotely familiar, that’s because Facebook and Twitter both allow you to upload your lists and target them within their own platforms.

Facebook’s Custom Audiences is a great tool, but what Google is offering is something entirely different. Not just because of the opportunity to advertise across multiple platforms, but the level of user behaviour coming into play.

Why It’s So Exciting

When taking into account Google’s own Display Benchmarks Tool highlights that the ‘average clickthrough rate of display ads across all formats and placements is 0.06%’, something needs to change.

“Banner Blindness” is a term that’s bandied about as a result of these low numbers. It refers to the fact that we’re immune to the thousands of messages blasted at us every day and we’re no longer taking notice.

However, I don’t believe it’s Banner Blindness; it’s the advertisers’ inability to deliver a more tailored and timely message to the user. That’s why I love retargeting across all platforms and Facebook’s Custom Audiences, and that’s why I’m excited about Google’s Customer Match.

Google’s research into micro-moments has identified that “70% of online consumers agree that the quality, timing and relevance of a brand’s message influences their perception of a brand.” There’s a tremendous opportunity at hand.

There are other more specific reasons to be excited about Customer Match and one of them is the ability to target a signed-in user across all devices. That’s where Customer Match has a distinct advantage over remarketing and retargeting that uses cookies to target users. Using cookies doesn’t allow us to reach users across desktops, tablets and smartphones the way this will.

Now let’s consider the advantage over Facebook’s Custom Audiences. Facebook is huge and its penetration is far larger than any other social media platform. But think about the global use of Google search and the frequency of use, and you’re in another ballpark.

Similar Audiences

Again, the similar audience feature is something Facebook has offered to its advertisers with “Lookalike Audiences,” based on the personal data your list has available to Facebook. To Adwords newbies, it’s already been available to remarketing users based on browsing behaviour across the Google Display Network.

With Customer Match, Google will obviously pull in browser behaviour, YouTube viewing, whilst it will have access to GMail content, Google shopping behaviour, location data, Android behaviour including Google Play purchases, any typical demographic data that you have used for a Google+ profile, and whatever else Google is tracking.

How to Get Started with Customer Match

To get started using Customer Match, you’ll need to prepare your email list. If you’re using an email service provider, such as Campaign Monitor or MailChimp, exporting your list to a .csv file will be easy. Just make sure the file is under 17MB, no email addresses include caps, and you have a minimum of 1,000 emails to get started.

Note: We’ve exported lists from Campaign Monitor in the past and have had to remove the top row with the title, along with all other columns other than those containing email addresses, whether they were blank or not.

After preparing your email list, sign into your Adwords account and do the following:

  • Click Shared Library
  • Click Audiences
  • Click Remarketing List and select Customer Emails from the menu
  • Create a name for the list and upload the file

You will now be asked to add a URL on your site for users to “opt out.” This is a must, otherwise you will not be approved.

Set your membership duration, which can be anything up to 180 days.
Upload and save the list. It may take a couple hours to upload.

After your list has been uploaded, all you need to do is add it to your campaigns. If you’re advertising in search or on YouTube, it’s simply a matter of adding it to your targeted audiences. Gmail is simply a Display Campaign option and can be added to your list by heading to the Display Network tab and clicking Add Targeting.

What You Should Be Doing Right Now

Have a clear strategy in place to build your email database.

Build it and segment it as well as you can. The more thorough and segmented your list, the more effective your future advertising efforts will be.

Start to understand opportunities within your business’ buyer’s map. If you offer a subscription model, then identify moments when advertising to your audience can minimise churn. If you’re a services firm offering seasonal business, perhaps a Tax Accountant, then identify the periods in which you could benefit from targeting your email list.

But don’t go off in too much of a hurry and advertise just for the sake of advertising. All advertising should form part of an overall business strategy, which you should have firmly in place before executing your advertising campaigns.

But Wait, Is All This Secure?

Google has gone to great lengths to ensure data is secure. It won’t accept your list if you don’t state that it’s been secured “first-hand.” For example, you collected the emails through opt-ins, rather than buying databases.

By requiring an email opt-out URL, Google is giving users the option to opt-out of emails. The ads will actually have a “Why This Ad?” link to allow users to manage their preferences directly from the ad.

Google also states that the upload process is done by SSL and all lists are deleted seven days after upload.

Bottom line: Your lists will be safe and you’ll get some crazy-good targeting out of the whole deal.

BONUS: Check out “6 Links That Show You What Google Knows About You.” I found it interesting and now that you understand Customer Match, it’s interesting to get an idea of what Google actually knows about your online behavior.



Republished with author's permission from original post.

Quentin Aisbett
Quentin is a co-founder and the SEO strategist of the Australian-based agency Searcht. He is an information-hungry Gen Xer, often found lurking in the deepest corners of a client's Google Analytics on a quest to dig up something insightful. With 12+years of SEO experience, he’s the man behind Searcht's 5-star client reviews and a regular contributor to GoDaddy.


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