Blog / How to automate Google Ads Customer Match with Google Ads API and forget about manual uploads

How to automate Google Ads Customer Match with Google Ads API and forget about manual uploads

Automating Google Ads Customer Match using Google Ads API simplifies managing Google Ads audiences and improves effectiveness of Google Ads targeting optimization. This post summarizes different ways Customer Match is used, which is better for an ongoing campaign and provides step-by-step instructions to automate Customer Match using Google Ads API.

Customer Match Uses

Google Ads documentation refers to two distinct use cases as 'Customer Match'.

Customer Match can be used to construct custom audiences from the past purchases. In this case, only customer personal details are required and the conversions don't have to originate from Google Ads traffic. This is useful to optimize targeting before starting a campaign. Usually, customer lists are uploaded manually, as they rarely change significantly enough to warrant an update, although sometimes API is used to automate this process.

Google Ads also offers Customer Match feature in its conversion tracking to attribute conversions that don't have a GCLID identifier to ad campaigns. This is useful after ad campaign has started, as it allows to use the additional customer data to improve campaign ad delivery using Google Ads machine learning by letting Google Ads know what traffic converts. While the conversions can be uploaded manually, automating them and using Google Ads API is a much better way because the customer data coming from CRM, Stripe or a back-office tool can be attributed to the original click, allowing to significantly improve percentage of attributed conversions in Google Ads reports, compared with manually uploading just personal data or just GCLIDs.

Conversions attributed through Customer Match can also be used for audience targeting, as well as manually uploaded Customer Match lists. This is achieved by using the 'All Converters' audience available in Google Ads by default. Using Customer Match for conversion tracking is also a much more granular way to highlight audience that converts well to Google Ads as the number of conversions required to improve targeting is much lower, than the minimum required by Customer Match customer list to work. It also helps Google Ads to understand what Google Ads customers are likely to convert, as they're often at a different stage in the purchasing decision-making, compared to customers acquired elsewhere.

In this post, we'll focus on the latter part: automating Customer Match conversion tracking using Google Ads API.

Enabling Customer Match

Easily overlooked step of using Customer Match is accepting Customer Data Terms. Until they're accepted, no Customer Match conversions will appear on the reports.

Open Tools - Conversions - Settings - Method for measuring offline conversions. Check that Enhanced conversions for leads method is selected and accept customer data terms:

Its critical that Customer Data Terms are accepted when "Enhanced conversions for leads" are selected for Google Ads to be able to accept conversions sent without GCLID:

Enable Auto-Tagging

Enabling auto-tagging is important to allow your website to capture Google Ads click ids when they're available, as they substantially improve attribution, compared to relying solely on the customer emails and phones.

  1. In the left page menu, click Settings.
  2. Click on Account settings.
  3. Click the Auto-tagging section.
  4. To enable auto-tagging, tick the box next to “Tag the URL that people click through from my ad”.
  5. Click Save

Create a Conversion Action

A compatible Conversion Action should be set up to allow Google Ads to accept Customer Match conversions.

When creating a Conversion Action, verify that the Primary action is chosen if this Conversion Action should be used for bidding, and Secondary otherwise. Verify that this setting is configured correctly in all Conversion Actions that are set up.

Make sure you're using an appropriate Goal Category and Primary or Secondary action as required. Several conversions could be set up, for example, for lead forms and for purchases.

Automate Sending Customer Match Conversions to Google Ads using API

Now, conversions can be sent automatically to Google Ads using its API.

The tricky part is providing a click identifier when its available and using Customer Match parameters when it's not: if only customer data are sent, say, using Zapier, or if only GCLIDs are sent, a substantial portion of conversions would likely not be attributed and both Google Ads reports and its machine learning wouldn't work correctly.

Able Customer Data Platform automates collection of Google Ads tracking identifiers and associating them with customers, ensuring that the most precise attribution parameters are automatically chosen and sent to Google Ads API.

Enable use of Customer Match data for targeting

Once conversions start to appear in Tools and Settings - Conversions Summary and relevant conversion actions display tracking data, verify that the ones that should be used for optimization have Action Optimization set to Primary.

Then, open respective Campaign settings and check that Goals either use account goal settings (which would include the Primary Conversion Actions), or that selected Campaign Goal Setting includes the desired conversion actions.

This page has been written by the Able CDP Customer Success Team, formed of digital marketing practitioners and seasoned marketing data experts.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us using the contact form.