Google Customer Match: 11 Strategies for generating more conversions

Google announced in 2015 that it would allow advertisers to target by email address with a new feature called Google Customer Match.

Customer match is very similar to Facebooks Custom audiences as it allows you to target PPC ads on the GDN, Gmail and Youtube using people email address.

According to data by Wordstream, Google Customer Match has the highest match rate between emails uploaded and their users.

You can expect Google to match 50.4% of your email list to their users, who you can then serve ads too.

Data from Wordstream has also shown that Customer Match campings have the highest conversion rates of any audiences.

Conversion rates of almost 15% were seen for customer match audiences compared to around 5.5% for the new visitor audiences

That is nearly 3X the conversion rate!

One thing to note though its that Advertisers can only upload customer information that they’ve obtained in the “first party context.” 

This includes emails collected through website forms, apps, physical stores and in-person events; essentially, instances where the user has demonstrated interest in the advertisers’ business.

12 Tips for winning with Google Customer Match.

Now you know a little about Google Customer Match lets look at how you can leverage this feature effectively within your own Adwords campaigns.

1. Bring your offline customers online

One of the problems that retailers with brick and mortar stores face is that they can’t retarget in the same way that online businesses can.

Google Customer Match will help them overcome this by uploading customer emails lists that they have gathered at the checkout process or through other means such as competitors or surveys.

2. Create CMSA (Customer Match For Search Ads)

A lot of advertisers have heard of RLSA (remarketing lists for search ads) now there are what I have coined CMSA (customer match for search ads).

This allows you to increase or decrease the position of your search ads depending if users are on your email list and which email list that they are on.

This has the added advantage over Google remarketing as you can change bids using your party data that remarketing lists don’t pick up.

For example we target advertisers who spend at least 10K per month on PPC marketing and we ask this as a qualifying question on our white paper downloads.

We could then create a list of these users and then increase our bids when users search for terms relating to PPC that are on this customer audience list for example.

They can be applied within the audiences tab to your Google Search Network campaigns.

3. Upsell to existing customers

Existing customers have the highest CTR and conversion rates according to data by Wordstream.

When they analysed data from their RLSA campaings that allows you to target past buyers and other segments they saw that their conversion rate was over 400% higher for past customers as it is for new visitors.

What we can glean from this research is that using Google Customer Match audiences to upload lists of past buyers to run a campaign alongside your email campings will produce results that are significantly better than those for new customers.

4. Test out Similar to Customer Match audiences

Similar too customer audiences allow you to create an audience of users that are very similar to the ones on the list that you upload to Google.

Accoridng to Google, this feature:

Expands your reach to valuable new potential customers, automatically finding people who have shared interests with people on your existing email lists.

So for example you can upload a list of existing customers to Google and it will create a “lookalike audience”. Wouldn’t you want to target people who are just like your best paying customers?

Data from Google shows that advertisers that use this feature  in conjunction with Remarketing, advertisers typically see*

  • 60% More Impressions
  • 48% More Clicks
  • 41% More Conversions

Similar to audiences can be created through the interests and remarketing options within the Google Display Network targeting options as shown below.

5. Target users across devices

One problem with using remarketing is that when users switch device you loose them because cookies that are used to track them don’t move between devices.

This can be a significant issue as 90% of users use multiple devices sequentially to accomplish a task online according to Google.

However Google Customer Match campings allow you to retarget to people who have provided their email on your website seamlessly across different devices as they don’t rely on cookies.

If you find that you generate a lot of cross device conversions then this feature may prove very beneficial for you.

6. Test applying Google Customer Match to your shopping campaigns

As of June 2016 advertisers are now able to use Customer Match to target their shopping ads more effectively.

With advertisers seeing increases in CTR and conversion rates of 400% using RLSA which are a similar feature to Google Customer match this promises to provide strong increases in performance for advertisers although there are currently no published case studies.

7. Exclude existing customers from seeing your ads

There are some cases where you may not want your existing customers to see your adverts, for example if you have a one time sale product with no upsells,

In this case your can use Google Customer match lists to exclude existing customers.

This has one advantage over excluding a remarketing audience of converted users as it can exclude users across devices, however it will not match with as many users as excluding using a remarking audience so we suggest that you use both alongside each other.

8. Create exclusive offers for existing customers

Creating exclusive offers for your existing customers can be an effective way to drive conversions and reduce costs.

When Roland Mouret implemented this strategy they saw:

  • Cost-per-click 56% lower than average for UK brand campaigns.
  • 87% improvement in cost-per-action compared to the previous month’s performance.

To do this you should create a customer match campaign that contains your a list of your existing customers and then create two sets of ads.

One that will contain an offer that will be targeted at new visitors and then a second that will be targeted at existing customers as part of your promotion.

Here is an example of how Roland Mouret did this, you will see that existing customers enjoy 40% off when they user the promotion code.

(apologise for the poor image quality)

9. Push users further down the sales funnel

Adstage at SMX conference displayed an effective way to push users down the sales funnel, to convert top of funnel users into paying customers.

You can do this by uploading several email lists that are segmented by position within the buying cycle and then create specific adverts to move them through your funnel.

For example you might create an audience of people who have downloaded your whitepapter and then display adverts to them for your case study to move them further down your funnel for example.

10. Use Customer Match for account based marketing

The ability to target people specifically based on their email address allows you to make your account based marketing much more targeted online.

Instead of paying and spraying your ads all over the internet you can target the specific people within the specific company that you want to reach.

Going back to the example I used earlier you can target people based on size of the account, market etc that you would’nt be able to using remarketing data alone.

For example we target advertisers who spend at least 10K per month on PPC marketing and we ask this as a qualifying question on our white paper downloads.

We could then create a list of these users and then increase our bids when users search for terms relating to PPC that are on this customer audience list for example.

11. Reactivate Users

The average adult gets 121 emails per day which is making it much harder to stand out in the inbox and as a results you are loosing engagement.

A great way to reengage these users is to run a Google Display Network campaign alongside your email marketing efforts to raise brand awareness and drive engagement.

You can also reactivate suers when When subscriptions come around for renewal, or the average purchase frequency time has passed, target these users with higher bid adjustments.

If potential customers are back on the market, it’s important to appear in the SERP when they are researching.

How to set up Google Customer Match Campings

There are two main steps to setting up your first Google Customer Match campaign:

  1. Uploading an email list into Adwords
  2. Targeting your display campaigns at your email list.

1) Uploading your email list into Adwords

This section of the guide will teach you everything that you need to know about creating a Google Customer match list that you can then select in your targeting options in your GDN, Gmail and Youtube campaigns.

STEP 1. Go to the shared library down the left hand side of your Adwords account and then select audiences as shown below.

STEP 2. Click on the red remarketing button and then from the drop down select “customer emails” as shown below.

STEP 3. Now give your customer email list a name so that you can quickly see what emails that it contains:

STEP 4. You need to upload your email addresses in a CSV format. To do this add them to an excel spreadsheet in column A without a column header.

Once you have done this you can upload the CSV file into Adwords.

STEP 5. Finally you need to choose the duration that you want people on your email list to stay in your customer match list. Usually here it will make sense to set no expiration.

** If you want to encrypt your email lists so that Google can’t see it then I would suggest reading this article that explains how you can do this step by step.

2) Targeting your display campaigns at your email list.

This guide assumes that you already have a campaign set up on the Google Display Network. This section will then walk you through how you can target adverts at people on your email list.

STEP 1. Go to the display network tab and then click + Audiences as shown below.

STEP 2. Next select “interests and placements” from the targeting dropdown,

STEP 3. From the select category dropdown click on “customer email lists”

STEP 4. To select an email list click the two arrows next to it so that it moves to the right side of the screen.

STEP 5. You now have two choices of how you want to target your ads.

  • Target and bid. Show ads only to people associated with these lists or categories, with the option to bid on them.
  • Bid only. Add these lists or categories so I can set bids on them, but show ads when my other targeting methods match.

In most cases you will want to select the first, unless you are overlapping audiences where you want to target people who match both your audiences, in which case you will want to select “bid only” instead.


There you have it your a champ, you now have all of the knowledge to create and execute an incredibly effective Google Customer Match campaign.

Take some time today and test running a Google Customer match audience to your existing search or shopping campaign.

If your in the B2B sales side, test running an account based marketing campaign based on size of the account.

If you know that you have significant cross device conversions then test running customer match alongside your remarking efforts to track users across devices!

If you have any questions about this guide please feel free to ask them in the comments section below and I will do my best to get back to you!

wesley parker
About wesley parker

Wesley is Founder and CEO at Clicteq. He currently manages a £6 Mil Adwords portfolio across a range of different sectors. He regulally features in leading search publications such as Search Engine Journal, Econsultancy and Certified Knowledge. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin

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