Google launches new ad-targeting product Customer Match

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Google announced in a blog post the unveiling of an online advertising product called Customer Match, that allows marketers to target ads to specific customers using their email addresses whenever they use Google search, YouTube or Gmail.

According to Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s Senior Vice President of Ads and Commerce, the new ad tool will help marketers target their ads to their current customers. The marketing product can even customize messaging to each customer based on their buying history and other data.

Customer Match will be made available to digital marketers over the next few weeks.

How does it work?

A customer provides his email address with an electronics retailer when they purchased a product. The company can then upload that email address to Google to find out when he has used its search engine or video platform. Upon identification, the business can target search or video ads to the customer for similar products. This will only work if the customer signs into Google with the same email address.

In other words, whenever the user is watching a YouTube video or checking their Gmail, they will be shown tailored ads.

“With Customer Match, your brand is right there, with the right message, at the moment your customer is most receptive,” wrote Ramaswamy in the blog post. “Only Google can help you do this to delight your most loyal customers in the moments that truly matter.”

If you think this sounds familiar it’s because it is. Facebook has been maintaining a service for years that lets advertisers establish similar campaigns that is based on customer databases.

Similar Audiences is, well, similar

The online advertising titan has another complementary product called Similar Audiences. This ad tool aids marketers in using so-called lookalike audiences to individuals showing similar online activity to their present customers. This will also be made available in the coming weeks.

George Michie, Chief Marketing Scientist for Merkle RKG, commented on the product when it was first rumored this past spring. Michie told Search Engine Land that this type of behavioral targeting is a “pretty crude tool.”

“The ability to fold in real customer insight, understanding all the brand’s interactions with a person online and offline going as far back in history as you want is a gigantic leap forward,” said Michie. “Understanding which customers prefer to buy online or off, which physical location they prefer allows for a level of personalization we just haven’t had in the walled-garden of Google.”

Gmail users have been noticing more ads since the tech giant rolled out its new logo. Native Gmail ads have been noticed in customers’ email inboxes as part of AdWord ads at the top of inboxes.

Google is betting that it can take away some of the momentum from Facebook in the realm of display and video ads. With Facebook leading Google in display ad revenues – $6.8 billion versus Google’s $3.5 billion – the search engine giant will need to pull out all the stops to improve its display revenues. This may prove difficult because the social network keeps releasing new ad products.

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Andrew Moran

Andrew Moran is a full-time professional writer and journalist, who covers the areas of business, economics and personal finance. He has contributed to Benzinga, Capital Liberty News, Career Addict, Money Morning and PFHub.