Improve Customer Match Rates With People-Based Search

September 20, 2017  |   Lisa Rapp

When Google Customer Match launched in 2015, the search marketing community got pretty excited.

For the first time, marketers could use their hard-earned customer data to make search marketing campaigns more targeted and personal.

Fast-forward to today, and we’re seeing the emergence of people-based search. Marketers are using Customer Match to deliver relevant ads to their customers and prospects at the exact moment they show buying intent.

This is huge.

Yet, few marketers are getting the most out of the tool. The average match rate for Google Customer Match is between 30%–60%. That’s meaningful. But the lower your match rate, the less people you can target with personalized ads.

The good news is that there’s a way to get your match rates higher. With the right data, you can improve your match rates and scale your people-based search campaigns.

In this post we explain how.

How Google finds matches

Customer Match finds matches by comparing the email addresses in your databases with the email addresses Google holds for account holders. If your data matches their records—Bingo!—you have a match and you can start targeting.

The thing is, more often than not, you won’t hold the right email address. Which is why your match rates might not be as large as you expected.

To solve this problem, you need to match the data you do have to the right email addresses before you feed it into Customer Match.

Getting more from Google Customer Match

The key to improving your match rates lies in identity resolution. When you work with an identity resolution service like ours, you aren’t just using your data, you’re using ours too.

Our privacy-conscious identity graph is the largest of its kind (that is, outside the walled gardens) and is powered by a network of over 500 platforms, data owners, publishers, brands and agencies.

When you work with us, we draw on this database to find the email addresses you need to get the most of Customer Match. With us, you increase your chances of finding the right email addresses for more of your customers.

The process is simple:

Step 1: You send us your customer data (phone numbers, mailing addresses, email addresses). The more data the better—ideally you’ll have a list of more than 10,000.

Step 2: We then match this data against our identity graph to find more matches for the people in your list. You might have a customer’s Hotmail address, but if we’ve got the Gmail address for the same customer, we can make that match. (Note: this doesn’t mean we then send you that data.)

Step 3: We deliver this data straight to Google, in the form of privacy-conscious identifiers—hashed tokens that protect the identity of your customers.

We’ve helped our customers increase their match rates by 6x this way. But even a small increase in match rates can make a big difference because relevant ads are so much more effective. Even a 10% or 20% increase in match rates improves the ROI of search in a big way.    

Why? Because it allows you to incrementally increase your investment in the people who know your brand and are far likelier to convert.

Suddenly search becomes an even more valuable channel.

(If you’ve got any questions, check out our FAQs all about people-based search.)

Making people-based search more versatile

A larger audience also gives you the opportunity to get smarter with your segmentation.

If you’ve only got a small pool of customers and prospects you can target with people-based search, there are only a limited number of ways you can segment this audience.

Increase the number of segments you’re dealing with and things become a lot more interesting.

For example, if you identify lapsed customers you can use what you know about them to bring them back into the fold.

Or if you notice a few existing customers are approaching the end of their contract, you can present them with a new offer to ensure they renew when they search.

There are countless different ways you can divide your audience but they all depend on one thing—being able to target them, in the right place, at the right time.

So if you’re interested in using tools like Google Customer Match, talk to us before you get started.

We can help you get the most out of your data and maximize the potential of people-based search.

Read our new eBook, Seven ways to use people-based search to see how we’re helping search marketers use this tactic in new ways.