Companies can upload your email address to Google so when the internet goliath detects you surfing across the web, it can throw better-targeted adverts at you.
So if you buy a bike and give the store your email address, and the store gives that information to Google, the internet billboard giant can find the Google account associated with that address and tag you as a cyclist.
Then, as you surf the web with your Google account cookie in hand, Google can fling the bike shop's ads for gadgets, biking holiday vouchers, or (most likely) new bikes at you.
We thought Google had been tracking people this way for years, but apparently it's some sort of new feature.
Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google's ads and commerce veep, published a blog post over the weekend to explain this whizzbang breakthrough technology, which is called Customer Match:
Customer Match is a new product designed to help you reach your highest-value customers on Google Search, YouTube, and Gmail -- when it matters most. Customer Match allows you to upload a list of email addresses, which can be matched to signed-in users on Google in a secure and privacy-safe way. From there, you can build campaigns and ads specifically designed to reach your audience.
Let's say you’re a travel brand. You can now reach people who have joined your rewards program as they plan their next trip. For example, when these rewards members search for “non-stop flights to new york” on Google.com, you can show relevant ads at the top of their search results on any device right when they’re looking to fly to New York. And when those members are watching their favorite videos on YouTube or catching up on Gmail, you can show ads that inspire them to plan their next trip.
According to Ramaswamy, there are "I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, and I-want-to-buy moments" in people's lives, and Customer Match – plus another feature, Universal App Campaigns (UAC) – hope to exploit them. UAC works by shoving ads onto the screens of people using Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, and the Google Display Network (GDN) from one campaign.
"Google is in a unique position to connect consumers with your business in the most relevant ways. Whether they're searching on Google, checking promotions on Gmail, or watching videos on YouTube, we can deliver the most relevant information based on what they're doing, wherever they are, when they're looking, and on any device they're using. Today, we're building on these capabilities with new ads innovations to deliver even more relevance," gushed Ramaswamy.
Which is great if you're a company wanting to flog something, less great if you're a person "consumer" who'd rather go five steps without being bombarded by marketing guff.
Customer Match will roll out to all advertisers over the next few weeks, and Universal App Campaigns can be used as part of AdWords from Monday.
"In just a few simple steps, you can promote your app with unparalleled reach across the world's largest network and platforms – Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, and the Google Display Network," said Ramaswamy.
The features were rumored earlier this year, and officially launched at Advertising Week 2015. ®