AdWords Customer Match Email Lists: Better Than Facebook Custom Audiences?

By Posted in - Blog & Site Traffic Control on October 14th, 2015 0 Comments

A few weeks back, Google launched a new targeting option called “Customer Match”, which allows advertisers to upload customer email lists to target through the AdWords interface. If you are familiar with Facebook’s Custom Audience features, then you’ll know how it works.

Facebook Custom Audiences

In both PPC systems (Facebook and Google AdWords), the list you upload is analyzed and matched to email addresses in the Google or Facebook user databases, and then a targeting audience is created. Typical match rates are about 50% in Facebook, and it from initial tests, Google’s is right in line (or even better).

When Facebook rolled out their Custom Audiences, it really was a game changer. Not only could you run Facebook ads to a huge list of emails, but you could use that list to build a “Look-a-Like” audience and target Facebook users that are similar to your current list (i.e. You don’t JUST have to target your current list).

So… How does AdWords Customer Match stack up?

Facebook Thumbs DownDespite WordStream’s Larry Kim stating it’s “THE most exciting AdWords update in the history of the platform”, after some real world testing, consider us not that impressed.

Yes, the match rate is shockingly high (we’ve generated audience lists in range of 380,000 users) and yes, there is the option to target similar audiences…

So what’s the catch?

You can’t target the display network!!!

No Google Display NetworkThat leaves you with Search (or what Google calls Remarketing Lists for Search), Gmail Sponsored Promotions, and YouTube ads (but no banner ads).

Unless you have a massive list to combine with significant (and relevant) search volume for Remarketing Lists for Search (RSLA), that’s pretty much a waste of time. For Gmail Sponsored Promotions, you’re already able to email these people, so I’m not sure how impactful it will be to utilize GSP AND have to pay to show your list an offer. And then YouTube video ads are difficult to create and hard to make work for direct response campaigns.

Display network is what would really make Customer Match powerful and without it you’re left with a watered-down feature and an audience that can only be advertised to in special cases or for large scale video branding.

The one saving element?

You CAN target your Similar Audience in Gmail Sponsored Promotions, which IS pretty damn impactful for lead generation.

Otherwise? Stick with Facebook Custom Audiences for reaching your current list and getting in front of new potential customers.

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