Recently, Google announced their newest feature, Customer Match, allowing advertisers to tailor and target ads to customers, specifically using their email address.

So what?

Whereas previously, advertisers have only been able to target their ads to users based on demographics or through remarketing lists, Google have explained that this feature will allow advertisers to target their most loyal customers in the moments that truly matter.

Remarketing through display or RLSA has proved effective for many businesses, allowing them to display tailored ads to users who have already visited their website. However, remarketing lists rely entirely on cookies, which can easily be cleared, and aren’t supported for all mobile devices. On the other hand, email targeting allows a system that should prove more effective across all devices.

If you have advertised on Facebook or Twitter in the past, you may well be familiar with the concept of building and advertising to email lists and this is a huge step forward for search advertising.

How does it work?

Customer Match works by uploading anonymised lists of emails of your customers or prospects, allowing you to create a unique audience of people who have had a direct affiliation with your website or business.

To be targeted in this way, users will have to be signed in to their Google account and have shared their email address either on a website, app, physical store or any other situation where their information has been shared directly with you. Uploading lists that have been bought is not allowed. As the emails are anonymised, advertisers are also unable to create personal profiles for each address; instead they will be targeted the traditional way - based on searching history on both Google and YouTube.

The rules

Naturally, there are strict policies to adhere to when using this feature.

For instance, it cannot be used to target any personally identifiable or sensitive information about your customers - such as interest in adult activities, political affiliation or ethnic and religious information. The feature can also only be used to target users over the age of 13.

How could it be used?

In this example you're a florist. Someone searches for Florists and they've also previously signed up to your newsletter or purchased flowers from you.In both cases, they've provided you with their email address and therefore enabled you to use Customer Match. You can create a customised ad, perhaps offering a promotional discount for returning customers or newsletter readers and bid highly against your competition in the confidence that the familiarity of your brand will encourage them to visit your website and purchase from you again.