In September of 2015, Google AdWords announced a new online marketing tool. This tool is Customer Match. Customer Match is for pay-per-click (PPC) remarketing strategy. It allows businesses to advertise to their current leads and customers.
Marketing to previous customers is a cost-effective approach to sales. 2013 study found that 70% of businesses reported that customer retention is less expensive than customer acquisition. Further data suggests that businesses spend seven times more acquiring a new customer than retaining one.
Customer Match offers companies the ability to remarket to previous customers and leads that are in their email database. Twitter and Facebook also provide similar services. They offer this with Tailored Audiences and Custom Audience respectively.

How does AdWords Customer Match work?

A company submits its database of customer email addresses and leads to AdWords. Google compares these addresses to its own database of users. Any accounts that are a match are available for remarketing. They must log into a Google or Youtube account for the service to recognize them.
This is more effective than traditional remarketing. It is more reliable than using cookies to identify consumers and display ads to them. Cookies are easy to delete and aren’t cross-functional between browsers or devices.
Customer Match targets consumers with ads on any browser or device. That is, provided they log into their account. Browsers like Google Chrome automatically log users into their accounts. Also, they are available on phones, tablets, and desktops.
As of this writing, AdWords doesn’t offer Customer Match on the Google Display Network. Although, it is possible this may change in the future.

Customer Match is cost effective

Companies spend time and money to acquire the contact information of potential customers. They then use this database to target consumers through email marketing. While this method continues to be effective, marketing emails average only an 18.22% open rate.
In email marketing, one can simply choose to not open the email. But Customer Match displays to the consumer when they check their email, perform a Google search, or view content on Youtube.
The advantage of this is in keeping a brand top of mind. Once customers show interest in the product or service it is important to keep them.

Customer Match Similar Audiences Lists

Matching email addresses generally takes between 12-24 hours. After this, AdWords creates a “similar audiences” list. This targets users who have not yet engaged with the brand but are likely receptive to it. Similar audiences share demographics, interests, and browsing habits with the matched users.
This is beneficial to the brand, as it exposes itself to a new, yet like-minded audience. Google builds the similar audiences list automatically. Yet, incorporating the feature into a campaign is optional.

Customer Match Opt-Out

Google AdWords requires every campaign to provide an opt-out option to consumers. Each time it displays a Customer Match ad there is an accompanying link that reads “why this ad?” This link leads to a form where the user submits their email address.
After doing so, they are no longer targeted by Customer Match advertising from the company running the campaign. This form is provided by the advertising company, not by Google. It is required by AdWords before initiating a Customer Match campaign.

The future of Customer Match.

Google AdWords Customer Match is currently geared towards medium to large sized businesses. Google requires that the uploaded email database contains at least 1000 addresses. But, this is a fledgling tool, and Google will be developing and altering its abilities over time. If Customer Match proves to be successful, it is a safe bet that Google will offer it to smaller businesses as well. In the meantime, this tool presents many benefits to larger companies, and may significantly change the face of online marketing.
Learn more about paid search and PPC advertising for businesses in 2018.