Is Google Ads Customer Match Feature Basically Dead?

Google launched its Customer March feature back in 2015. If you need a refresher on what it is, you can read our write-up here. In short, the feature allowed advertisers to upload a list of email addresses and have them matched with existing Google accounts. This could then be used as an audience for RLSA efforts, remarketing, etc.

It was also particularly helpful to exclude certain people from seeing your ads. Many advertisers want to focus certain campaigns and efforts on net new customers so they would use Customer Match to exclude existing customers. Needless to say, I used it often, but Google doesn’t seem to want people using it anymore.

Requirements for Google Customer Match Usage

Last year (2018) Google changed their requirements on the feature. Here are the new requirements, courtesy of Google:

Customer Match is not available for all advertisers. To use Customer Match, your account must have:

  • A good history of policy compliance.
  • A good payment history.
  • At least 90 days history in Google Ads.
  • More than USD 50,000 total lifetime spend. For advertisers whose accounts are managed in currencies other than USD, your spend amount will be converted to USD using the average monthly conversion rate for that currency.

If you want to start using Customer Match and you meet the requirements above, you’ll need to contact your assigned account manager to request access to Customer Match.

If you’ve never used Customer Match and don’t have an assigned account manager, your account is currently ineligible to use Customer Match, even if it otherwise meets the requirements above. In the future, we’ll offer an application process for advertisers who meet these requirements and want to request access to Customer Match. An announcement will be made when the application process becomes available.

So basically you might be able to keep using it if you’ve got a squeaky clean history of compliance and payment as well as a big spend (because there is no way you’ve got an assigned account manager unless you’re spending a lot with Google Ads). That narrows the field to a very small set of advertisers.

Why Did This Happen?

Since Google didn’t officially announce the change (and didn’t just kill the feature entirely) this is my opinion. However, I think it’s safe to say that GDPR (and similar efforts in other areas) put many of the nails in this coffin. It was simply too risky for Google to keep this in advertisers hands, given the size of fines the EU can give now. Putting the controls in place just wasn’t worth it.

Huge Win For Facebook

I see this as a huge win for Facebook, especially with the smaller advertiser. If you’ve got a list you want to target, they’re the best game in town now. Want to exclude a list? They do that too.

What do you think about this update? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!