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In this week’s episode of Marketing Nerds, WordStream CTO and Founder, Larry Kim, joins SEJ Executive Editor Kelsey Jones to talk about Google AdWords’ Customer Match. Larry gave an overview of AdWords’ new feature, how businesses can use it, and why it’s better to choose niche PPC audiences over widespread ones.
Here are a few of transcribed excerpts from their discussion, but make sure to listen to the Podcast to hear their whole conversation!
What is Customer Match?
It’s a fantastic targeting option in AdWords. What’s so interesting about this is you can target individuals, like Kelsey or Larry, with ads. You need to take a step back to understand how crazy this is, in terms of being a game changer. In search advertising, PPC advertising, a search on Google, for example, Google AdWords. You’re buying keywords, but we have no idea who is actually searching behind those keywords.
We don’t know the identity of the person. Whether it’s Larry or Kelsey doing that search. Similarly, when you’re doing retargeting, which is another form of popular PPC advertising, you’re targeting people who have visited your website, but again, you don’t know whether or not it’s Kelsey or Larry. It’s some anonymous person who visited your site. What Customer Match does is it says, “Wait a minute. Your best business comes from people who you know.”
You can upload emails and IDs for specific people who you’re interested in. Because a lot of times when you’re just surfing the internet, you’ll have logged in to YouTube or logged in to Google Plus or logged into the Gmail or Google Drive. It’ll know that it’s you surfing. What it can do is then it’ll match a vendor’s ads according to the person who’s actually logged into the computer. Or the mobile phone.
That’s really interesting, because now there’s certainty over who you’re targeting. “Oh, this is Kelsey. We can give very specific ad copy.” Maybe you checked out a certain clothing but didn’t buy the thing last week. Then I can come up with a very specific ad copy that speaks to your specific state within my buying funnel. Do you see what I mean? Overall, it’s quite a game changer.
AdWords’ Customer Match vs. Facebook’s Custom Audience vs. Twitter’s Tailored Audience
The whole idea behind Customer Matching (“custom audience” for Facebook and “tailored audience” for Twitter) is basically the same concept of marketing ads to specific people. In order for this to work, the platform—either Twitter or Google or Facebook—needs to be able to match emails with users on their platforms. That’s called the match rate.
I was very curious to see how Google compared in terms of their match rate. Let’s say if you have a hundred emails randomly, how many of them will actually correspond to Facebook accounts or Google accounts or Twitter accounts?
I uploaded 357,000 emails to Google and got around a 51% percent match rate. I did the same list of emails, uploaded them to Facebook. Facebook was able to match just about 50% of them. It was essentially a tie within 1% of each other. The real loser was Twitter which, as much as I love Twitter, it’s kind of a basket case in terms of advertising. They were able to match on 10% of these people.
Obviously, if you could only pick one place to do this type of advertising, I would pick either Google or Facebook because they have such a high match rate of approximately 50% each. Google edged out Facebook, although I wouldn’t say that it was like a landslide or anything like that. It was within a too close to call kind of range.
When to Use Facebook’s Custom Audience over Google’s Customer Match
Well, they’re completely different in terms of the modality of the person seeing the ads. Google Customer Match Ad words is still targeting people searching for keywords. It’s just that you can target specific people for specific keywords.
Two things have to happen: Larry or Kelsey needs to search on Google for a certain keyword and then I’ll show them this specific ad that’s relevant to them. That’s traditional high commercial intent keywords. Where someone is specifically looking for something and just doesn’t know where to get it from.
For Facebook ads, it’s going to be your news feed ads and then think about your own Facebook news feeds. It’s going to be a little bit more casual, just FYI kind of stuff. It’s not as intense in terms of the commercial intent behind the person viewing the ads, but nevertheless it’ll still get out wide because the cost becomes so much cheaper on Facebook.
How Businesses Can Use Customer Match
The technology’s only about a month old, so we’re always learning new ways of how to use this thing. But, yes, we have a couple hundred customers using this technology and generally there are use cases that people use.
This has to do with targeting people according to where they are in the funnel. Think about your marketing innovation segmentations where you might have like,”Oh, this person took a trial.” Or, “This person read the white paper.” Or “This person just downloaded the white paper but didn’t take the next action.” Or “This person actually did the trial.”
Depending on where you are in the buying funnel and armed with that knowledge, you could segment your email list. Drive people from one stage of the funnel to the next stage of the funnel.
In terms of the campaign costs, it actually varies widely. Depending on what you’re promoting and how good the targeting is and how interesting the thing that you’re promoting is.
In both Facebook and Google ads, the cost per click is inversely proportional to the click-through rate. If something is very, very interesting to most of the people who are seeing it, then you’ll pay very, very little. If it’s very boring to people, then you’ll pay like an arm and a leg. If you nail the targeting using this Customer Match, you will definitely find lower cost per clicks than just generic targeting using keywords or remarketing.
What Works Well With Customer Match?
You should absolutely be pairing Customer Match with additional targeting options. Just because someone’s on your email list doesn’t mean that they’re a good prospect. Maybe 1% of the people on your email list are going to be the best buyers.
Facebook and Twitter offers the ability to segment, to narrow lists of emails. You can overlay additional targeting options. They fall into three categories. The first is Demographics, so that’s everything about you. Your age, your gender, your occupation, your job title, your parental status.
There’s Behaviors, so that’s what you do outside of Facebook or Twitter. You can target people who are buying complimentary products.
The third area has to do with Likes and Interests. Is he posting about babies or does he like a particular brand as well as that browsing history.
You combine the fact that A, the person was on your list to begin with and then overlay demographics, behaviors, and interests on top of that. Then you have a very, very narrow net that you’re casting here. If you spend $100, then I think you would find that it has a lot of leverage.
Underutilized AdWords Features
The two other most under utilized AdWords features, I believe, are Gmail ads and YouTube ads. YouTube ads are the clicks that play ahead of videos or even during and after videos. You can target those using Customer Match.
The interesting thing about that is people spend so many hours on YouTube a week. That’s a good place to get people in their downtime.
The same goes for Gmail. I can target emails to people based on their email. It’s like being able to send emails without having to send an email. It’s magic. I can target Gmail ads by email. I don’t have to worry about unsubscribes, I don’t have to worry about all those annoying things. I think it’s very effective stuff.
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Think you have what it takes to be a Marketing Nerd? If so, message Kelsey Jones on Twitter, or email her at kelsey [at] searchenginejournal.com.
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