Why Google Customer Match by Phone & Address Is Better

Google is yet again helping advertisers better target their campaigns by expanding its game-changing Customer Match program.

Launched back in 2015, the initial Customer Match offering allowed search advertisers to use customer email lists to build custom audiences. Those audiences could then be used to retarget customers on campaigns across all Google platforms – including YouTube, Gmail and AdWords.

In 2016, the program was expanded to Google Shopping, giving advertisers more control of who sees their products and what they see.

As of a few weeks ago, the program is now branching out even further – adding customer phone numbers and addresses to the targeting mix, too.



According to Dianne Manansala, Lead Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy, “This is going to be huge for catalog-based businesses that have tons of phone number and mailing address data.”

“Especially for brands with an older demographic (like 65+), if their customer match rate isn’t super high on emails, I’m hoping phone number and addresses will make the audience lists more precise.”

How Customer Match Phone Numbers & Addresses Work

Before, advertisers could upload email lists and use them to build out custom audiences for Google-based campaigns. Now, they can use customer phone numbers and addresses as well.

To get started, advertisers upload a list of customer phone numbers and addresses to AdWords or using the AdWords API. Google has a guide to formatting your data here, and you can hash it using the SHA256 algorithm for added protection.

Google will compare your string of phone numbers and addresses to those in its databases (meaning the many users who are spread across Google, Gmail, YouTube and other Google properties.)

If one of your entries matches a Google one, that customer will get added to your custom Customer Match audience. Addresses or numbers that don’t match will not be used in your custom audiences.

Once created, you can start using your Customer Match audience ASAP in your AdWords and Google Shopping campaigns. You can also use it for similar audience targeting on YouTube and Gmail.

A quick note: For safety’s sake, data files are marked for deletion as soon as the matching process is over. Google also uses SSL for data uploads, adding another layer of protection for your customers.

Benefits of Customer Match

The biggest advantage to using Customer Match audiences is that retailers can more easily reach customers they already have an established relationship with.

This can mean people in their loyalty programs, those on their newsletter or email lists, or those who have made a previous purchase. They can then reach out to those customers in ways that are most relevant to their shopping habits and preferences.

Customer Match is particularly great for:


All in all, Customer Match is great at letting advertisers hone in on their highest-value audiences with the most potential. In fact, on the Google Shopping platform, advertisers can even use Customer Match to adjust bids and tailor products/messaging for different segments of previous customers.

Here’s how Roman Fitch, Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy, explains it: “The ad only shows to users who have a Gmail account, and are logged into their Google account, and searching for a keyword/product eligible to trigger an impression.”

Why Customer Match by Phone & Address Is Better

Well, it’s not better per se, but it does expand an advertiser’s potential reach for sure. Before, you could only use your basic email lists to power custom audience campaigns across Google products. But now? You can pull customer data from tons of sources, including:


Overall, the new Customer Match expansion will let advertisers better target high-value customers, while also achieving more seamless, timely placements that are more relevant to the user’s current needs and browsing experience.

And considering 70 percent of online consumers say quality, timing and relevance of an advertiser’s message influences their actual perception of a brand, that can mean big things for today’s organizations.

See “Google Customer Match Allows Retailers to Target Consumer Emails” to learn more about the Match email program, and check out “Advertisers on the Impact of Customer Match for Google Shopping” for more on Match in Google Shopping.

To learn more about the Customer Match program, contact tara@cpcstrategy.com.