Google Considering New Way to Target Ads to Existing Customers

Google Considering New Way to Target Ads to Existing CustomersThere could be a resurgence in email if Google’s new targeting program gets off the ground.

Reportedly, Google is discussing ways to allow advertisers to target ads in search results at their existing customers. If advertisers hand over customer information such as email addresses, Google could then use that information to target ads.

This is partly a result of the jockeying between Facebook and Google. In 2012, Facebook launched “custom audiences,” a move that helped the social network chip away at Google’s lead in digital advertising. Facebook reported ad revenue growth of 65 percent to $11.5 billion in 2014 while Google’s advertising revenue grew 17 percent to $59.1 billion.

“The proposed ads highlight the increasingly sophisticated ways that Internet companies track users’ online and offline activities for marketing purposes,” according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). “Such tactics might raise questions about how well customers understand what businesses do with personal information they volunteer to a website or through a store loyalty program.”

A done deal? Not exactly.

“We’re always discussing potential product ideas with our clients,” a Google spokesman said, “but have nothing new to share at this time.”

How would this work?

“An office-supply retailer would give Google the email addresses of recent printer purchasers,” explains the WSJ. “The retailer could then bid to show ads when those people search for printer ink on The retailer could also tailor its Google ads based on other information it knows about the customer, including age, gender or prior purchases.”

The benefit?

“The ads would give marketers another way to reach customers when they are searching for products rather than running more general ads when they aren’t necessarily shopping,” notes the WSJ. “The data could also help both Google and advertisers better understand the relationship between online ads and consumers’ real-world activities and purchases.”