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Customer Match for Shopping Ads

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Google is expanding it’s availability of Customer Match beyond Search, Gmail, and YouTube. Google has now announced Customer Match for Shopping Ads, this will be rolled out later in the summer. So what is Customer Match? What benefits does it bring for Google Shopping Ads? What does it mean for you? We’ll explore all of this and ensure we leave you with some tasty takeaways.

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What is Customer Match?

Customer Match lets you show ads to your customers based on data about those customers that you share with Google. Basically, you can provide Google with a list of email addresses that your customers have given to you and retarget them more strategically to help achieve your goals; whether it’s to increase brand awareness or to drive performance. It’s a new way of building remarketing list in Adwords using your first-party data via your CRM database. 

If you are interested in finding out more about how Google uses Customer Match data, find everything that you need here

How does it work?




You upload a data file of email addresses that your customers have given you.

You create or update a campaign to target your Customer Match audience – customers from your uploaded data file who are Google users.

When those users are signed in to their Google account, they see your ads as they use Google Search, YouTube and Gmail.

You’ll need a minimum of 1,000 email addresses to be eligible, we believe that bigger is better though. Google will then spend a while (up to 24 hours) matching these email addresses to Google Accounts and then create an audience list for you to target in our Shared Library in Adwords.

Match rate usually depends on the company and/or the number of email addresses you have. As mentioned, bigger is better in this case and Google have recommended the minimum of 1,000 – however we would always recommend a much bigger list (anything between 10,000 to millions – dependent on the company).

So what does Customer Match for Shopping Ads mean for you?

More advanced targeting to reach the right audience at the right time

There has been an overall shift from keywords to audience based targeting in Adwords for a number of years now.

You are correct in thinking that you can’t necessarily target specific keywords with Google Shopping Ads, but Customer Match for Shopping Ads could give you some more extra control over who sees your products. If your CRM data is robust enough, perhaps you could explore opportunities like creating specific Shopping campaigns to target ‘basket abandoners’, ‘past purchasers of a specific product’ or even ‘connect your offline with online by using email addresses customers have provided to you in store through a purchase’, as an example. You could also exclude a section of your audience if you know that they have already purchased a specific product.

Overall, Customer Match for Shopping Ads will allow you to target the right users at the right time through the micro-moments that matter the most.

Enhance your audience strategy by using alongside your standard remarketing lists

Give your campaigns an extra boost. Customer Match gives your the opportunity to build super specific remarketing lists based off customers who have actively engaged with your business. Currently, by just utilising the standard remarketing lists that you have, you can only target URLs on your site and therefore visitors of that URL. Customer Match will allow you to start segmenting your audience based on specific behaviours. Yes, you could create Smart Lists if you have access to Google Analytics, but Customer Match for Shopping Ads can give you even greater control over the users you target and their behaviours. This makes your audience targeting more specific, your campaigns more relevant, and your audience strategy smarter than ever.

Don’t worry about your audience list durations

The maximum duration you can use for Search is 180 days (540 days for Display). By using Customer Match for Shopping Ads, you no longer have to worry about the audience members that matter the most to your business falling out of the remarketing list. There isn’t a duration limit with Customer Match, so the opportunities are endless!

An opportunity to help tie your offline and online data

For the past few years, Google has been trying to prove that online has an affect on offline. They believe that if they can prove this, businesses will be more inclined to invest more into Google. Using Customer Match for Shopping Ads could really help you to prove this. Perhaps you could only target and bid only on users who have visited your store before and utilise Local Inventory Ads via Google Shopping to help drive them back into store. You could even utilise the ‘In Store Visits‘ metric to help show the number of users who have visited your brick-and-mortar stores. Likewise, if you know that a list of users have been to store before and have either purchased or expressed interest in purchasing and are now shopping online, you could target these users more strategically during this ‘I want to buy’ moment.

Make sure that you keep your Customer Match lists fresh

We recommend that you try to keep your Customer Match lists updated as regularly as you can. You can either upload regularly manually, or you could utilise the Adwords API options (you can find out more about this here).


It’s an exciting time for Audience targeting in Google Adwords. Customer Match for Shopping Ads gives you yet another opportunity to drive the performance you need from your Paid Search campaigns. It provides unprecedented choice for advertisers to use their first party data in order to help drive further relevance to users via Google Shopping.

As always though, there are concerns with having to deal with first party data. For those that are nervous about how to deal with it, Search Engine Land have worked to reassure you via their post here.

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Dan Roberts
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