Google Ads Lets Businesses Target Their Customers Using Email, Phone or Address Data

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

Generally speaking, Google Ads works by using the browsing data from consumers to determine who should see which pieces of advertising. This can be done by using the consumer profile to find a target audience or by retargeting people who have already visited a website. Google recently announced new plan where marketers can directly add phone numbers and addresses to their target audience.

Many businesses have a huge amounts of customer data that doesn’t come directly from their website. Starting this month, advertisers can upload phone numbers and mailing addresses for Customer Match retargeting and similar audiences.

Advertisers can upload a file with customers’ email, phone number, name and address to Google. Then the file is matched to records for Google, and the matched customers are added to the advertiser’s customer list.

Ideally, the file should be created using the industry standard SHA256 algorithm. But Google is kind enough to let users upload a plain text document with commas separating the individual elements of each record (i.e. Email, Phone, First Name, and Last Name). Google will then convert that file into a useable format for customer matching.

Due to the popularity of the Android format for mobile devices and the ubiquity of Google-enabled logins for websites, the company knows the email and phone number for a lot of consumers. This makes data sets that feature emails and phone numbers easy to match and add to customer lists.

It may seem counterintuitive, having the physical address of a consumer makes them harder to match for Google. Rather than a simple matching, Google has to be more careful when trying to create customer lists from address data. So much so, it can take up to 48 hours for a mailing address matching.

For mailing address matching, Google says it “joins hashed name and address data for Google accounts to construct a matching key. After you’ve uploaded your list with hashed customer names and addresses (don’t hash zip and country data), Google constructs a similar key based on your data and then compares each key on your list with the keys based on Google accounts. If there’s a match, Google adds the corresponding Google account to your customer list.”

This new feature can breathe new life into the campaigns for retailers with a lot of customer data that’s not already being used for Google Ads. For example, say customers have been filling out cards to enter a contest that have been put into a spreadsheet. That data could exported to a comma separated value text file, then uploaded to Google. Then, these customer can be a part of retargeting and other ad campaigns.

You can learn more about how the process works from this graphic from Google.

Google Customer Match with Business Records

And for more news about recent Google changes, read this article about Google’s plan to increase the useful of their local assistant.


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