What is it?
Customer Match (CM) is a new feature in AdWords that gives advertisers the ability to target existing customers with specific messaging through the uploading of customer email addresses in to the AdWords interface. Using this feature with your different customer segments in mind will allow you, for example, to serve up specific offers for new customers to encourage a second purchase; messages encouraging new product sampling to loyal customers; or messages to encourage renewal of financial products, or purchase of other products that complement what they already buy from you. You can also use it to opt out of serving impressions to customers unlikely to convert. The applications to prompt further purchases are as varied as the customer segments advertisers hold.
How does it work?
By uploading the email addresses of known customers, advertisers are able to target any of these users if they are signed into a Google associated account (e.g. Gmail, youtube). Similar to the way that you can re-target site visitors using an
RLSA audience, an advertiser can then tailor ad copy and apply a bidding strategy to target individual customer segments cost efficiently.
Our Email Address Match Rate in AdWords.
In the interest of respecting people’s privacy and their right to unsubscribe from this type of advertising, AdWords makes it simple to remove email addresses from the customer match lists or upload a whole new list of email addresses to replace your original list. As well as this, you can of course add new customer emails to your original list; and these changes will cause your list size to change over time, which is something worth keeping an eye as each customer match list needs to contain at least 1,000 email addresses to be viable.
What are the strengths of CM?
Whilst similar to RLSA audiences, CM does not need a customer to have visited your site in a pre-determined time period. This allows for ‘lapsed’ or ‘seasonal’ customers to be targeted using this technique so it is possible to encourage Christmas purchase only customers to purchase at other times of the year, or to reach travel customers and encourage a city break as well as a summer holiday purchase, for example.
Advertisers can further segment their audiences with other information they have to decide on a bidding strategy. If you define your ‘best’ customers as those who have made multiple purchases in the last year or those who have the highest average basket value per purchase, it might be worth bidding more for ad impressions to these individuals to encourage further purchases.
Knowing that you are targeting the right people with the right bid strategy can open up keywords that would normally be too expensive to bid on for ‘cold’ or unknown users. When you know you are targeting one of your customers with a known value and higher potential to respond with a conversion than a new user, competing in a competitive auction will become much more cost effective.
Depending on the kind of product or service you are offering it can also be useful to use CM to
exclude users who are unlikely to convert again in the near future. For example, excluding someone who has just renewed their home insurance policy with you is unlikely to require another one for at least a year and so opting out of bidding for their impression can reserve budget for users more likely to convert.
There are limitations…
Customer matching can only be applied to users who are logged into a Google associated account so by uploading 1,000 email addresses, for instance, will not guarantee you can target those customers as you would wish to at all times.
Email match rates for B2B companies have been lower than B2C, but not so much lower that it is not worth testing. Match rates vary from 25% typically for B2B to 62% for B2C.
Results of a test
3x Better CTR
We tested CM in support of a campaign launching a new product from a well-known bakery product producer. We increased bids on related searches being made by customers who have previously registered interest with the company. This test resulted in a click through rate
3 times better than the click through rate of ads to ‘cold’ or unknown search users.
Knowing that these users have already shown an interest in the brand it proved worthwhile investing more heavily to increase ad position for searches but these known customers because we know that our ads are reaching the target audience. Google have claimed a 50-60% match rate for B2C campaigns and we experienced a 50% match rate from the customer email address list uploaded.
“Over 30 days of activity we saw more than a 3 times better CTR for the customer match activity compared to the same campaigns not using CM over the same time period.”
The uses of CM are only limited by the amount and type of customer data the advertiser holds and their communication creativity. The opportunities to use budget more efficiently and ensure messages sent to existing customers are consistent with their relationship with that brand are well worth exploring for all industries from travel to FMCG, not for profit organisations to retailers and financial services providers. Happy testing!
If you would like us to help you get the most out of CM and AdWords, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.