Competition among Google, Facebook, Twitter and other search engines is good news for advertisers. This month, Google rolled out a highly anticipated new feature for AdWords called Customer Match, which offers the ability to upload a list of email addresses that can be matched to signed-in Google users.
From there, advertisers can build targeted campaigns and — to an extent — control which ads they see for more personalized marketing. Better yet, advertisers can expand their reach by using the “Similar Audiences” feature on YouTube and Gmail, which shows targeted ads to users outside the advertiser’s network that share characteristics and interests with existing reward members.
Image Source: StellarSearch.co.uk
Google offers this example:
“Let’s say you’re a travel brand. You can now reach people who have joined your rewards program as they plan their next trip. For example, when these rewards members search for “non-stop flights to New York” on Google.com, you can show relevant ads at the top of their search results on any device right when they’re looking to fly to New York. And when those members are watching their favorite videos on YouTube or catching up on Gmail, you can show ads that inspire them to plan their next trip.”
George Michie, Chief Marketing Scientist for Merkle RKG, told Search Engine Land:
“The ability to fold in real customer insight, understanding all the brand’s interactions with a person online and offline going as far back in history as you want is a gigantic leap forward. Understanding which customers prefer to buy online or off, which physical location they prefer, allows for a level of personalization we just haven’t had in the walled-garden of Google.“
So, what does this mean for you exactly?
1. Retargeting just got a whole lot easier.
At the beginning of the year, we discussed ad retargeting as one of the “Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends of 2015.” Research tells us the average company needs to “touch” a prospect between seven and 13 times to make a meaningful impact.
But how do advertisers do that without bombarding their prospects with emails? Traditionally, marketers relied on cookies tied to a specific computer or smartphone to know where to show ads. Now, with Customer Match, marketers can follow users across devices by tracking YouTube and Google logins, which people tend to leave signed-in at all times. So now these users are seeing the same brand’s messages over and over, across platforms, to amplify the effect.
One key example: Say, users have purchased from you (or abandoned their carts) on a specific date — like Black Friday. These same users can then be retargeted with PPC ads via Customer Match a year later without needing to return to your site, which may draw a sale.
Image Source: Wordstream.com
2. You have a new avenue for finding pre-screened prospects.
Larry Kim from WordStream is particularly excited about the Similar Audience functionality to reach prospects who haven’t interacted with their site. “We had a match rate of more than 50%, equaling a potential audience of 180,000 people. By using Similar Audiences, we can effectively double our reach and target customers who share similar characteristics,” he explains. Custom audiences are what makes the paid social and PPC worlds go round, so it’s exciting that advertisers can now apply the same strategies to AdWords campaigns too.
3. You can send more personalized landing pages and brand messages.
“By integrating customer data—like email—into targeting/messaging strategies, advertisers can stop treating every customer the same (e.g. segment messaging or bid strategy to new vs. existing customers),” says Performics. “Email addresses may also be associated with other information (e.g. age, gender, geo, prior interactions) that could enable brands to further tailor ads to specific customers and intents.”
Custom Match is great for cross-selling, explains Search Engine Watch. “For example, you can zero in on customers who already have a home loan, but are looking for a checking account and offer relevant content based on these needs.”
4. Google Customer Match saves you money.
It makes sense that more customer targeting makes advertising more precise and, therefore, less wasteful — especially when you’re paying to bid on specific keywords. To better illustrate this principle, Seed puts it this way: “Google Customer Match also works in terms of reverse targeting. For example if the goal is to get new customer loyalty club members, Google Customer Match can target ads only to those who are not members yet. This way, less money is wasted on misplaced ads.”
Search Engine Watch recommends excluding existing customers when targeting an expensive, non-brand keyword aimed at securing new customers. Marketers have always been able to do this with their search ads, but now it’s not only tied to the Google cookie pool, but connected to one’s email list as well.
5. You’ve got to market smart to keep people’s trust.
While this sounds like an amazing announcement for advertisers — and it is — Google knows it must also serve the needs of its other constituents: the end users. Advertisers will need to be careful not to scare off their prospects, given all this new freedom.
CBC technology columnist Dan Misener put it this way: “For consumers, this means if you have ever given your email address to any company, there’s now one more way they can track and target you online.” Users may not only be more selective about who they share their email address with, but they may also avoid logging into Google or opt out of Customer Match ads in their Google settings.
At the end of the day, ad targeting will still be what it has always been: conducting back-end research to create appealing ads targeted to individual segments.
Ready To Get Started with Google Customer Match?
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