Search, Email and Video Marketing Converged: Customer Match Has Landed

Ready for it? Google is now rolling out the ability to advertise specifically to your email lists in their Google search results, within their Gmail accounts or while they’re watching YouTube videos.

Want your website to appear first in search results when someone in your email list Googles one of your most important keywords? You can do that. Want that same person to see your ad alongside an email from their Mom asking how to set up the printer? Or want your video ad to play before their next YouTube how-to video? Yeah, you can do that now too.

This new feature is called Customer Match, and follows a string of recent offerings that allow advertisers to better track, understand, and advertise to their customer base. All it takes is uploading the email list to AdWords and you’re set to manage these ads alongside all the rest of your paid search campaigns.

How We Got Here

Back in 2012, Google announced something called Universal Analytics—a newer iteration of Google Analytics that lets you track users across all of their devices. If they are signed into their Google account on their mobile device, their desktop and their tablet…all of their search history, website visits and similar data will be tied together. In addition to being able to see more reliable stats on return visits, this tracking has allowed us to see how one visitor may visit the site several times before eventually buying a product or filling out a form (curious what your data looks like? Check out your Google dashboard). Did they first come to the site from an email, only to later find the website in search results and buy something? We can now tie all of this data together because of Universal Analytics, and it has been an incredibly useful tool in assessing customer relationships and multiple touchpoints along the buying cycle.

Now Customer Match seems to be the next step in syncing together this tracking, allowing advertisers to make use of this multi-device tracking and target their audiences even more holistically.

What Customer Match Means for Advertisers

It’s an interesting time to be an advertiser; while our ability to better target audiences increases over time, so does the frustration of people who feel they should not be tracked when browsing online. Customer Match is another new tool in data-driven advertising, and is sure to stir up additional debate in the Do Not Track movement.

The take-away for those looking to expand their marketing to include Customer Match is this: don’t be creepy. Follow this simple rule and you’re likely to stay within Google’s own advertising policies, which in some vaguely-described guidelines lay out the ground rules for this new targeting. As always:

Don’t buy email lists.
Don’t advertise in a way that reveals personally-identifiable information about your audience.
Don’t use the data generated by these campaigns to ascertain private information about this email list, like sexual orientation, political affiliation or health status.

Whether or not advertisers stick to these policies is another question.

What do you think? Tweet us @Chempetitive and let us know!