Google has finally introduced an AdWords feature that allows advertisers to target users on their email lists. Until now, you’ve had to rely on Google’s demographics and affinities data to target users, but the new Customer Match product means you will be able to upload your mailing lists directly to AdWords and target users with dedicated ads.

It’s about time too, considering Google’s closets rival in the paid search market (Facebook) introduced its own Customer Audiences back in 2012.


So what exactly is Customer Match targeting?

Customer Match uses your email list to target users across Google Search, Gmail and YouTube with your ads. Unlike other targeting models, you’re not calling on Google to define your audience here; your ads target specific users of your choice, who are already involved with your brand.

You can already target previous visitors and existing customers with remarketing, of course, but there are some key differences here. First of all, Customer Match works across the Search Network, as well as Gmail and YouTube in-app ads.

More importantly, the fact you can upload email lists of your choice allows you to create ad campaigns to target users at different stages of the buying process – this will be the standout element of Customer Match.


Targeting users across the buying process

You should already have a mailing list for your email marketing efforts and you can typically break this down into a number of user types: email signups, account holders and previous customers and people who download your freebies, for example.

For effective email marketing you’ll already be targeting these different user types with emails to encourage them further along the buying process and the concept with Customer Match will be the same. You upload your email lists for each given group and target them with ads to tempt them into the next desired action.


Moving towards personalised marketing

It’s largely up to you how far you take this approach to targeting as well. There’s a difference between one-time customers and repeat buyers, for example. You want to turn one-time customers into repeat buyers, while you want to keep regular punters coming back for more – and it may take different incentives to make both happen.

This is becoming increasingly important as we move into a marketing age where users respond to personalised content and highly targeted messages. This isn’t only true for PPC, but all modern marketing techniques, where impersonal messages get lost amongst the noise.

Let’s say you sell a wide range of products within your industry – you’ll find many of your repeat customers come back to buy the same brand time and again. So why target a repeat customer who buys pair after pair of Adidas shoes with generic sale ads when you can target them with deals on the brand they can’t resist? Customer Match means you can now include ads on the Display Network to reinforce your email and remarketing efforts.