This week, Dennis Doubovski from Adwords Robot wrote a great post on the new customer match feature in Adwords. With this feature being new, there are a lot of different ways to go about using it. Let’s go through some of the ways to split up lists and how to go about advertising to users.

How To Split Up Your List

The first thing to consider when creating customer match lists is how to split up your list of emails. Based on the user information you have there are a lot of benefits to splitting things up. Obviously, eCommerce and lead gen customers would be a little different, so I’ve split my lists between the two types.


  • Last Purchase – Segment your email lists by when users last purchased, then target them heavily at different times based on data showing when their projected next purchase would be.
  • Amount of Orders – Segment your email lists based on the amount of times users have purchased from you. Depending on the product being sold, target users who purchase often more heavily.
  • Average Order Values – Who are your big spenders? Target those users heavily.
  • Sales Purchasers – Segment out the users who have purchased multiple times on days of certain sales, then target these users heavily on other sales days.
  • Type of Products Bought – Segment the emails by what type of product was bought and then remarket to these users appropriate accessory products, or the same product they bought depending on what you are selling.

Lead Gen

  • Different Phases of the Funnel – Segment your lists by where the user is in the funnel. For example, in an education account if a user filled out a lead form, target them to apply for school. If a user applied for school, target them to enroll in classes.
  • What the User Signed Up For – Pretty self-explanatory, but you can segment by what the user signed up for in terms of what type of job they applied for, what type of classes they registered for, etc.
  • Last Action – When was the user’s last action? When are they likely to take the next step in the process? Target users based on this information.

I am sure you could think of even more ways to segment audiences, but these are just a few ways to go about it. Once creating segments, I then create a “catch-all” group that I want all members of our customer match list to see. Be aware that the lists do have to be a minimum of 1,000 emails, so don’t segment too much.

Launching Customer Match Lists For eCommerce

So, we have the lists and segments put together. Where do we go from here?

The first way I utilize the lists is to place them on what is currently running in the account from a search standpoint. If you like to segment out anything with a remarketing list tied to it, you can copy the campaigns, add the customer match lists, and use ‘Target and Bid’ to assure that campaign is strictly for remarketing. If you don’t mind adding remarketing lists to your regular search campaigns and feel comfortable just placing bid modifiers, simply add the customer match lists to each of your current campaigns and make sure each ad group is set to ‘Bid Only.’

To begin you can bid up slightly (5-10%) on the segmented lists, and not bid up at all on the catch-all list. But assure all lists are involved in what is currently running in the account. Also, bidding up based on projections from the segments you created can be done at the very beginning. For example, if one of your campaigns is revolved around coupon shoppers looking up coupons for your company and you have a list dedicated to coupon shoppers, it is reasonable to bid up for these users.

However, for the most part waiting for performance to justify your bid modifiers is the way to go. Some may be saying: “But I won’t get enough traffic in the first few weeks at the ad group level to justify any bid changes on my customer match lists.” In this case, try looking at performance at the campaign or account level by building pivot tables off the information downloaded from the audience tab. If you notice that you have lists bringing in much higher revenue numbers per click across the account, you can justify raising bids across the board on those lists to bring in more traffic on a more valuable audience.

Once you see solid performance from these efforts you can begin to branch out. Try using the customer match lists as a layer for new campaigns targeting top of the funnel terms. For example, if you see that the revenue per click is 5 times higher on users that are located on a high-AOV customer match list you created, then you can begin trying to get these users to your site in different ways. Let’s say you have a layered customer match list for a shoe store: high-AOVs, last purchased 5+ months ago, running shoe buyers. It would be smart to tie this list of users different top of funnel keywords such as: running gear, marathon courses/5k courses, etc.

Customer match really gives you more power to understand your users, see how they react to different advertising, and build upon it. You have always been able to do this with remarketing, but customer match brings it to another level.

Launching Customer Match Lists For Lead Gen

You can take a similar approach with lead gen, however, make sure the user is getting advertisements for the next stage in the funnel.

We’ll take education as the example in this case. If a user has already filled out a lead form to get into your database you do not want to send the user to the same lead form (Just like in regular RLSA). However, with customer match it gets easier to get more specific in your targeting. Layer courses user filled out in the form with when the user filled out the form and use this information to target the user with an application. You can take the same approach here as in eCommerce, but with the mindset that an application is worth more to you than a lead.

If you see great performance with the basic strategy of creating ad groups with similar keywords, but sending these users to an application, then start utilizing the top of funnel strategy. For example, if a user has filled out the form in the past few months with accounting school information, maybe start targeting more job-oriented keywords with accounting school advertisements emphasizing that the user should apply.

Summing It Up

Customer match gives you more power to understand your customers, see how your customers who have done different things react to different advertising, and build upon it. You have always been able to do this with remarketing lists, but customer match brings it to another level. Just a few ways to utilize this new crucial tool have been laid out here. Targeting devices can definitely work, but following users from device-to-device is something that has been a struggle in the search engine space for quite some time, and this has been the biggest stepping stone to getting user targeting done in search.