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How hotels can use Google Customer Match for identity-based PPC

Google AdWords recently introduced an identity-based PPC advertising tool that takes targeted marketing campaigns to a whole new level. With the success of Facebook’s Custom Audiences tool for advertisers, Google has finally gotten into the direct marketing game with their own Customer Match product.

Google Customer Match now allows advertisers to upload their customer email lists, and then use this data to create highly-targeted, identity-based PPC ads to specific customers. While Google has always been hesitant to cross the line into areas that their users might perceive as being too invasive with their personal data, advertisers have been clamoring for better ways to target their audiences with AdWords. With the introduction of Customer Match, the best of both worlds seems to have been met. Advertisers can now reach interested customers directly using the emails they have collected, and customers will receive personalized ads from the advertisers they know and use.

How Google Customer Match works for hotels

For example, say your hotel would like to target past guests for repeat visits. Hotels can now upload email addresses from past guests into Google Customer Match and create a specialized search ad campaign just for them. When these guests type in a targeted keyword such as “romantic getaway” or “hotel specials in (your city,” you could deliver a personalized ad that might say something like, “Relive your dream vacation with us again—special offer with discounted rate!”

For this type of identity-based PPC marketing to work to its fullest, hotels should segment and create multiple email lists grouped by various preferences, such as “family travelers” or “business travelers.” By uploading different email lists into Google Customer Match, you can now organize your personalized marketing messages by targeting specific groups.


Customer Match also works in correlation with Google’s Similar Audiences tool, which identifies additional marketing prospects who share similar characteristics to the individuals on your Customer Match list. This allows you to expand your PPC or display ad audience in a more efficient and targeted way.

Despite privacy concerns, customers actually appreciate identity-based advertising

As mentioned above, Google takes their user data privacy concerns very seriously. This is the main reason why Google has taken so long to get into the identity-based PPC advertising game. Facebook’s Custom Audiences, and to a lesser extent, Twitter’s Tailored Audiences, have been successful in seamlessly integrating targeted ad campaigns into their platforms. While many expected a backlash from Facebook and Twitter users, these highly-targeted ads have generally been well-received by audiences. According to Google, 69% of online consumers agree that quality, time, or relevance of an advertising message influences their brand perception—meaning that customers appreciate being offered special deals with companies they already know, so identity-based ads are seen by most people as convenient and helpful.

Still, privacy and user experience are a top priority for Google. For brands, this means that hotels using Customer Match can only upload email lists that have been obtained through first-party means. Customers providing emails through website forms on landing pages, subscribing to your hotel newsletter, or gathering contact information during booking are all legitimate first-party ways to gather this information.

Google also requires AdWords advertisers to provide an email opt-out link with all of their uploaded email lists. This way, Google users can still control their email preferences directly from ads. This extra layer of protection gives users the ultimate control of how their email information is used. Email addresses are also hashed and anonymized by Google to keep personal information private.

Why identity-based PPC can be more effective than email marketing

Email marketing is a double-edged sword. If you send out too many emails, people get annoyed and opt-out. If you do not send enough emails, contact addresses become outdated, and customers are lost. An identity-based PPC marketing campaign can turn these disadvantages into advantages. With Customer Match, you can now use your email lists to target your audience at the very moment they are expressing an intent to buy: while searching on Google.


By targeting your customers with identity-based marketing campaigns, hotels can create stronger customer connections by personalizing the marketing message and creating special offers, discounts, and packages to your best or most loyal customers. Rather than advertising to a large audience and hoping to convert, Customer Match allows you to narrow your audience to a group that you know will be interested in your product. This allows you to save on ad spend and increase your conversion rate.

Google Customer Match and identity-based PPC takeaways

  • Google Customer Match allows advertisers to upload email lists for identity-based marketing.
  • Customer Match gets your brand message to specific audiences while they do Google searches, read emails, or watch YouTube videos.
  • New customers can also be reached through Similar Audience tools.
  • Hotels can target past guests at the moment they are expressing an intent to buy, for example, while researching a trip on Google.
  • Personalized ads are more effective when they reach specific, intended audiences.

Interested in learning more about maximizing your hotel’s Google AdWords spend? Sign up for a free digital marketing consultation today.

Nancy Huang

Nancy Huang

Nancy is the Senior Marketing Director at Pegasus and expert in strategic communication, brand development, and content marketing. She is an admitted travel junkie and loves finding amazing hotel deals when booking direct. Contact her at nancy.huang@pegs.com.

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