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How to get the most from Google’s new email targeted ads

Google’s latest fanfare revealed a new advertising advertising feature, “Customer Match” – big news for marketers who can now reach out to customers identified by email address through pay-per-click ads.

How does it work?

In a nutshell, you can upload a list of email addresses and Google will target your ads to these people whenever they are logged into their Google account by showing them your ads on Google’s search results pages (SERPs), Youtube, and within the Gmail user interface. So if a contact is searching something you have for sale or watching a related video, you can remind them to shop with you. Until now, it has not been possible to target specific people, just search habits.

Is it just to target customers with @gmail.com addresses?

Aside from controlling almost 70% of US search traffic, Google owns the largest webmail service (with over 900 million users worldwide), but this activity isn’t just for targeting contacts who have a Gmail address. When signing up for a Google account, users are asked to supply an alternative email address (for password recovery). It’s also possible to setup a Google account with any other email address, even your business email. And while Gmail for business is yet to topple its competitors (not many of the Fortune 50 use Gmail), the statistics for smaller businesses are impressive. In 2014, 92% of startups and 60% of SMB’s used Gmail. As the next generation of business owners emerges, we can expect this number to grow.

So… it’s safe to say that Google has access to a colossal number of email users. Almost a quarter of Americans admit to using Gmail during works hours so this new advertising tactic is a viable option for attracting the attention of both business and consumer audiences.

Email targeting is on the rise

Since the launch in October 2000, Adwords’ revenue has grown to become the largest source of income for the search giant (it is estimated that as much as 90% of its revenue is from digital advertising). This update brings them in line with competitors like Twitter and Facebook who chase a bigger share of their ad revenue and have offered this type of functionality since 2013.

Google won’t be the last to the party – other publishers will be sure to follow in the move towards a more personalised web, ads and all. Condé Nast have already entered the arena, claiming that legacy media companies have an advantage because of their millions of subscriber files. They see great potential for ad space in their online publications of magazines including: GQ, Vanity Fair and Vogue.

How to maximise the potential for your business

  1. Collect email addresses throughout your user journey. If a customer doesn’t complete and submit your registration form, do you still attempt to record their email details?
  2. In case of abandoned ecommerce carts, are you asking for email addresses upfront so you can market to those customers soon after?
  3. Do you ask customers for email addresses in store or over the phone? Promotional offers and competitions can be a good way to tempt more people to opt-in.
  4. Are you accepting any old junk in your ‘email address’ form field? Verify that the mailbox actually exists with a validation service such as PCA Predict. We can validate business and personal email addresses.
  5. Re-upload your email list often to broaden the reach through Adwords or use Google’s API to feed them in directly (there’s no limit to the number of lists you can upload).
  6. Utilise Google’s ‘Similar Audience’ targeting to reach even more people with the same behaviours.
  7. Ask PCA Predict about services to cleanse your existing email database to ensure your list contains valid, mailable email addresses.

Further reading:

What do you think of Google’s announcement? We’d love to hear if you’re planning to experiment with email-targeted ads?