What is a Customer match and how can it help you discover new users?

Gotraffic author

Matea Viher

12 October 2021 | Google Ads

What is a Customer match and how can it help you discover new users?

Customer match is Google Ads advertising feature first introduced to the advertisers in 2015, but since then it’s not mentioned often. This should not be the case because it can be very useful for connecting with an existing audience, but also for discovering completely new users for advertising.

How does a Customer match work?

The basis of the Customer match is the information that your customers have shared with you – e-mail address, name, surname, telephone number and place of residence. Google Ads offers the ability to transfer this information to your system via an Excel template.

After entering all the information the Customer match analyzes it and, based on it, enables targeting of existing users, but also new users who are similar to them.

Google associates the information you provide with users in its database to determine to whom it may show ads. If any of the transferred data matches a Google user, that user will become part of your Customer match audience.

What are the benefits of using Customer match?

Like every Google ads feature, the Customer match provides a number of benefits for advertisers:

  1. Your ads reach users through a number of different channels

Your ads will be visible to users on various channels, such as Google Search, YouTube, Shopping, and Gmail.

  1. It’s easier to reach an audience you’ve already established a relationship with

A customer match allows you to reach users who are in your loyalty programs, have subscribed to your newsletter, or have converted before  more easily. It also allows you to do so in the most relevant way given their habits and preferences.

Some other things a Customer match is great for:

  • up-selling and cross-selling based on past purchases and buying habits – for example, if you sell cleaning mops you can offer a floor cleaner to someone who bought a mop through advertisements
  • advertising products and services for re-purchase – this is ideal if you sell consumer products such as, lets say, proteins; the user who bought the proteins will consume them after a month or two and then there is an opportunity to offer them again
  • increasing the brand loyalty of existing users – following the previous example, if you time your ads well, you will encourage customers to buy from you again and again and thus increase their brand loyalty
  • remarketing strategies – since it targets users based on Gmail address Customer match can reach them on all devices where they use their mail, while with remarketing you reach them only on the device from which they visited your website.
  1. Expand your targeting with a combination of Customer match and Similar audiences

A similar audience automatically finds new users who are similar to the customers on your list. Google Ads finds common features of your existing users and finds similar users.

By combining Customer match and Similar audiences, you’ll increase your reach significantly and show your ads to an audience that is more likely to click on them.

Also, this is a great opportunity to expand your remarketing lists. Even if users from a Similar audience list don’t convert, they’ll be added to your remarketing lists, allowing you to continue showing your ads.

What are the disadvantages of using Customer match?

One of the biggest drawbacks that can occur when using a Customer match comes from the perspective of your audience – you could easily overdo it with ad serving.

The membership duration in the Customer match list cannot be limited, so users will see your ads as long as they are on it. To avoid oversaturating users with ads, it’s best to refresh the list regularly.

How to set up a Customer match?

Setting up a Customer match will require a little more engagement because it requires creating a CVS file with customer information. The table can contain the following information: name and surname, e-mail, telephone, place of residence and postal code.

The completed file needs to be added to the Google Ads system. Go to “Tools and Settings” and then “Audience Manager.” Under “Audience Lists”, click on the plus sign in the upper left corner and select “Customer List”. You will be able to upload your document there.

After that, all you have to do is add a list to existing campaigns or create a special campaign to test Customer mach.

Limitations you may encounter when using Customer match

As with other Google Ads functionalities, certain criteria must be met in order to use the Customer match. In order to be able to use Customer match without any problems, it is necessary to have:

  • good history of policy compliance
  • good payment history
  • at least 90 days history in Google Ads
  • more than $ 50,000.00 spent from the time the account is opened.

Furthermore, Google Ads specifies certain conditions regarding the collection of data from users. To use the Customer match, you can only use first-hand data, i.e. directly from the user through your website, application or physical store. Also, when collecting this information, you must clearly communicate to users that you will share their information with third parties.

What to avoid with Customer match advertising?

As with remarketing, it is necessary to avoid any advertising related to:

  • personal hardship – the personal hardship category includes medical conditions, unfavorable financial situation, family problems, problems with the law and any type of abuse.
  • identity and belief – the identity and belief category includes sexual orientation, political affiliation, trade union membership, race, ethnicity, religion, social status and gender reassignment.
  • sexual interests – the sexual interests category includes nudity and contraception methods.


  • use Customer match to reach more users on different channels
  • use it for up-selling and cross-selling, repurchase advertising, increasing loyalty of existing customers and remarketing strategies
  • incorporate it into your marketing strategies and encourage inactive users to buy, sell better to existing customers, and target users on different devices
  • ensure that your advertising complies with Google Ads policies so that you do not have problems.

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