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Ensure relevant targeting with an effective Customer Match strategy




Marketers put in their best effort to collect customer data with an effective web and e-mail marketing strategy. It is extremely important for them to keep their database updated with genuine e-mails addresses of prospects. This thereafter helps them in nurturing these prospects into customers or engage with them by strategising a relevant email communication flow.

But according to MailChimp, the average email open rate is below 25%. So, despite of all the efforts made by marketers to collect e-mail data and reach out to prospects, 75% of them are not even reading these e-mails.

Here is where Customer Match can play a key role in nurturing campaigns by targeting known customers with Adwords campaigns.

What is Customer Match in Google Adwords?

Customer Match gives advertisers the ability to create multiple user lists by uploading prospects’ email addresses and phone numbers. Advertisers can add these lists to Search, Gmail or YouTube campaigns and create customized experiences based on the user’s attributes. When these users are signed into their Google accounts, they see the ads which have been targeted for them.

A study by Wordstream shows that Customer Match campaigns have the highest conversion rates compared to other audience collected from website data.


     Fig 1: Comparison of conversions rates of various audiences

Effective Customer Match Tactics:

a. Develop relevant Customer Segmentation:

Marketers often segment their audiences based on their past interactions with the website/brand or product. Depending on how much information is available along with a users’ email address, user lists can be segmented into

    1. New Vs Existing customers:

A customer match campaign can contain a list of existing and new customers, with different ad sets targeted for each. Exclusive offers and discounts could be given to existing customers, making them feel valued for their previous purchases while new users could be provided some sign-up benefits. Also, one could experiment cross-selling and up-selling with higher bids to existing customers, as they are familiar with the brand and are more likely to convert.

    2. Product or Category affinity customers:

This segmentation could be extremely effective on e-commerce sites, wherein a customer may have already made purchases in one category and could show similar affinity for another category. For example, a customer who has purchased a cricket bat may also be interested in purchasing other cricket equipment such as helmets, wickets, shoes etc.

b. Nurturing prospects in the B2B Sales Funnel:

The customer match strategy can play an effective role in pushing users down the sales funnel and convert top of the funnel users into paying customers. This can be done by segmenting the user data according to their buying stage prior to uploading it and then create relevant ads for each segment. This would involve putting together an effective audience segmentation coupled with a strong messaging strategy for the ads.

Below is an example of a B2B sales funnel, where the audience is segmented according to their actions in the buying cycle. For a segment, which has already shown interest in blogs, adverts on whitepapers, case studies and research articles could be displayed to them.

Similarly, users who are in the desire stage are seriously considering the product/solution and want to learn more by engaging with the company. Here is when they can be moved to the final stage of the funnel by educating them more about the product by offering free trials and live demos.


     Fig 2: Customer Match in the B2B Sales Funnel

c. Create Similar Audiences to Customer Match:

Similar audience targeting based on Customer Match audiences is available for YouTube and Display network. These similar audiences will be automatically created if the Customer Match audiences meet the minimum eligibility criteria.

This feature helps marketers target audiences who share characteristics to the users in their database. So, a Similar Audience taken from a Customer Match list could be an extremely relevant pool of new users that can be targeted to grow a business. To make this strategy work more effectively, it is recommended to exclude the initial customer match list while targeting a similar audience list at a campaign/ad group level.