Not many advertisers are familiar with the term called Identity-based targeting, and neither did I. I managed to understand the term’s theoretical implications, but practical applications were still hard to grasp. However, Google has made it easy for us to get the idea of identity-based targeting right. Google has introduced a new feature called Customer Match in AdWords.

What is Customer Match in Google Ads?

Google Ads Customer Match lets advertisers target their ads to customers based on data about those customers that advertisers share with Google. The data identifier for customers is in the form of email addresses.

Note: Google insists advertisers procure these email addresses from first-party procedures.

How does Customer Match work?

Creating a Customer Match list in Google Ads is very easy. We can break it down into 4 simple steps.

  1. Go to the shared library tab. You can find it on the left side of your Ads account.
    Customer Match 1
  2. From the options, click on audiences. You will see different remarketing options. The customer emails option is our interest of them.
    Customer Match 2
  3. Create a new list from creating list option below customer emails. And please note that membership duration should depend on your average sales cycle. However, we recommend advertisers to set it longer. This is because we don’t want to miss out on potential leads.
    Customer Match 3
  4. By clicking upload and save list button, you are accepting to the policies of Google. It might take up to 3 hours to complete the process. You can view the progress under audiences tab.

Just by following these easy steps, one can create a Customer Match list on Google Ads. Also, Google offers this feature on Search, Shopping, YouTube and Gmail campaigns only.

How to set targeting using Customer Match?

After creating the Customer Match list, you have to implement it in various campaigns of your choice to activate the targeting feature. To set targeting, follow the below steps.

  1. In the audiences tab, you can access the targeting options.
    Customer Match 4
  2. From the targeting tab, you can add a campaign or an ad group you want to set the targeting for.
    Customer Match 5
  3. After selecting the campaign, select Interests & remarketing targeting.
    Customer Match 6
  4. And from the drop-down, select customer email lists and pick the list of your choice.

Another thing to note is that campaigns may take up to 12 hours to start serving with the updated remarketing list i.e Customer Match list.

Customer Match also helps advertisers discover Similar Audiences that could be interested in their offerings.

Customer Match 7

Why use Customer Match?

Customer Match is a useful advertising tool for many business goals, from increasing brand awareness to driving performance.

  • On YouTube, reach new audiences, by targeting similar audiences to your most valuable customers.
  • On Gmail, reach your customers or a similar audience with personalized ads at the top of their inbox tabs, in addition to your email campaigns.
  • And on the Search Network, and Google Shopping optimize your campaigns by adjusting your bid based on what you know about your customer’s activities.

Furthermore, Customer Match is a perfect implementation of identity-based targeting. Most of all, with a little experience, advertisers can master making the most of it. For any help regarding the same, write to us or visit the Google Ads help page.


CEO and co founder of AdNabu. Exploring the intersection of data and marketing