How to Use Google Ads Customer Match


Targeting customers accurately can be a very useful tactic in Google Ads. Being able to reach or exclude customers allows you to focus on getting repeat orders or acquiring new customers.

Finding ways to spend your ad budget more effectively can allow you to increase your revenue without increasing your spend. Google Ads customer match can help you focus on an audience segment that is highly engaged with your business or exclude them to focus on getting new customers.

This article will review what customer match is, how you can use it in Google Ads, and the steps to create a customer list.

What is Google Customer Match?

Nearly every business has its customer data stored somewhere online or offline. You’re probably using this data already in your drip campaigns, SMS pushes, and Facebook lookalike audiences. 

Google customer match allows you to take that data to reach customers on Google Search, Shopping, Gmail, YouTube, & Display. You can even pick specific segments within your customer lists to target. Here are some examples:

  • People that recently made a purchase in the past 30 days
  • Higher AOV purchasers
  • People that bought a specific product

Customer match takes your first party data to share insights and target people in your campaigns. Most advertisers think of using customer lists for targeting. One of the best use cases to start off is your analytic insights. 

You can see details about your customers demographics, locations, device, and similar in-market/affinity audiences. This can allow you to find good prospecting audiences to bid up for in your account.

You can also use your customer match audience to re-engage with your customers more or exclude them to focus on getting new customers.

How does Customer Match Work?

The short answer is that Google takes your customer data, compares it to their own data, and then looks for matches. When Google finds matches between its data and your data in your campaigns, it will focus on delivering ads to these people more or less. 

One thing clients & marketers are constantly concerned about is how customer data is being used. Google details how customer match data is used here. The short answer is that Google transforms the contact data you submit like emails into hashed codes using a secure algorithm (SHA256). This algorithm is not unencrypted by Google when matching customers and the data file you use is then deleted after it’s uploaded.

After your audience has been uploaded, it may take some time before it’s ready to use. Once it’s ready, you can get the analytic and targeting benefits we outlined in the prior section. 

Customer Match Use Cases

There are quite a few excellent use cases for customer match lists in your account. Here are few examples of how you can use your customer data to improve your Google Ad campaigns:

  • Get analytic insights into your customers to determine their demographics, location, device use, and interests via in-market/affinity audiences
  • Target in-market/affinity audiences that are similar to your customers to find new customers.
  • Target demographics/locations/devices that align with your customer audience to find new customers.
  • Add your customer lists to your search/shopping campaigns to bid up for customers.
  • Add customer lists to your remarketing campaigns on YouTube/Display/Gmail/Performance Max to enhance your remarketing.
  • Create specific customer lists based upon desirable customer actions (making a specific purchase, big spenders, people that frequently buy, and so forth).
  • Use your customer data to enhance your smart bidding.
    • This allows you to generally get more conversions since Google’s algorithms can learn from your customer data.
    • You can also improve your new customer bidding by providing values for how much a new customer is worth based upon your current customer data.
  • Create loyalty campaigns to retarget customers with relevant products for similar products based upon what they previously bought.

Steps to Create a Customer List

There are three easy steps to follow to create a customer list:

  1. Collect your data and make sure it’s formatted correctly. Google provides useful details here to help.
  2. Log into your account
    1. Go to the “Tools & Settings” section in the top right side of your screen.
    2. Under “Shared Library” click on “Audience Manager”
    3. In the “Segments” section in the left hand side of your screen, click on the blue plus button
    4. Select “Customer List”
  3. Then follow the prompts to create your customer list
  4. Once you’re done, you can go under the data insights section to see analytic data for your customers. Then in your campaigns, you can add your customer lists to target them.

Final Thoughts

These insights give you everything you need to get started with customer match in Google. If you want support setting up your customer match audiences, we’re here for you! Book a free consultation with us today and we’ll go over how to get started on Google and how to get better results.

Centaur Consulting Group

Want a FREE Digital Marketing Consultation?

  • 30+ years of experience
  • Analysis, insight and strategic advice
  • Find Out How We CAN Help You
Book FREE Consult