It seemed just a matter of time before Google would unify its services allowing brands to target advertising across Gmail, search on google.com and YouTube. On Monday at Advertising Week, the company's ad business further connected the dots in an AdWords feature.
Advertisers now can upload customer Gmail addresses -- and for the first time, bid and create tailored customer segments based on first-party data across search, YouTube and Gmail. Customer Match simulates advance targeting features of mobile applications, a strategy that has been familiar to Facebook advertisers for years.
The platform also allows advertisers to generate Similar Audiences to reach new customers on YouTube and Gmail who are likely interested in products and services. In an example from Sridhar Ramaswamy, senior VP of ads and commerce, advertisers can "drive awareness on YouTube for new non-stop flights by showing TrueView ads to prospective customers who have similar interests and characteristics to your rewards members."
The ads can follow a signed-in Gmail user back to their email account, YouTube or during searches. Advertisers can use that same data to find similar audiences when signed in. While they may not appear on a brand's lists, they match profiles of those who are signed in.
A series of Merkle clients became involved in the project earlier this year. Five clients across B2B, consumer packaged goods, insurance, retail, and telecommunications. "Once Google opens it broader we'll on board more," says Matt Naeger, EVP of digital strategy at Merkle.
On Monday, Google also opened the feature Universal App Campaigns more broadly to all developers and advertisers. The AdWords campaign tool aims to help advertisers connect with app users across Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, and the Google Display Network (GDN).
Advertising bids are based on a cost-per-install target preset by application marketers, and all of the creative pieces are automatically pulled from the Google PlayStore, per Google.
Spending to promote app installs is expected to reach $3 billion in 2015, up from $1.47 billion in 2014, according to eMarketer estimates. It turns out that in 2014, U.S. adults spent an average of two hours, 51 minutes with mobile devices daily -- up from two hours, 19 minutes in 2013.