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Upload data files and manage your Customer Match audiences

This article explains the steps that you need to follow to upload your data files and create and manage your Customer Match audiences.

Before you start

For an overview of how Customer Match works, read about Customer Match. For more information about how Google uses the data files that you upload and how the matching process works, read How Google uses Customer Match data.

Instructions

Select the AdWords experience that you're using. Learn more

The following instructions will guide you through the process of uploading a data file to create a new Customer Match audience or update an existing Customer Match audience.

 

Upload a data file

  1. Sign in to AdWords.
  2. Click Shared library.
  3. Click Audiences.
  4. If you’re creating a remarketing list for the first time, then you’ll see several remarketing options. Under "Customer emails," click Create list. If this isn't the first remarketing list that you've created, click +Remarketing list and select "Customer emails" from the drop-down menu.
  5. Enter a name.
  6. Select "Upload customer email addresses".
  7. Upload a list of email addresses in plain text and AdWords will hash them for you using the SHA256 algorithm, which is the industry standard for one-way hashing.
  8. Bear in mind:
  9. There’s a 5GB file size limit.
  10. Hashing takes into account capitalisation and spaces, so you'll need to prepare your email addresses, in order for matching to work. Make all characters in the email addresses, lowercase and remove any extra spaces before or after the email addresses. You may upload a list of email addresses that you have already hashed using the SHA256 algorithm. 
  11. Within AdWords, select the file. Make sure that it meets the requirements described below.
  12. Set a membership duration. The default membership duration is unlimited, but you can set a custom time limit.
  13. If you agree, tick the box "This data was collected and is being shared with Google in compliance with Google's policies".
  14. Click Upload and save list. You can view the progress of uploading your data file under "Audiences". This process may take take up to 24 hours to complete.
  15. Add your Customer Match audience to your campaign. It may take up to 12 hours for your campaign to start serving.
    • For YouTube: add your Customer Match audience to an "Online video" campaign.
    • For Gmail: add your Customer Match audience to a "Display Network only" campaign that uses Gmail ads from the Ad gallery. To do this:
      1. Open the campaign and click the Display Network tab.
      2. Click + Targeting and choose your campaign and ad group.
      3. Click Add targeting and select "Interests and remarketing".
      4. Click "Remarketing lists" and select an audience.
    • For Search: add your Customer Match audience to a "Search Network only" or "Search Network with Display Select" campaign.
Update your email files

To replace all of the data in the existing upload file with a new file, use the "Replace existing list with a new file" option. To add or remove specific email addresses, use the "Add more email addresses" or "Remove email addresses" options.

Refresh your Customer Match audiences regularly so that the customers who are important remain in your audiences targeting.

Replace your existing file

  1. Click on Shared library.
  2. Click Audiences.
  3. In your table of audiences, click your customer match audience list.
  4. Click the Pencil icon.
  5. Select the "Replace existing list with a new file" option.
  6. Choose your new file.
  7. Click Upload and save list.

Add email addresses

  1. Click Shared library.
  2. Click Audiences.
  3. In your table of audiences, click your customer match audience list.
  4. Click the Pencil icon.
  5. Select the "Add more data" option.
  6. Choose the data file that contains the data you want to add.
  7. Click Upload and save list.

Remove email addresses

  1. Click Shared library.
  2. Click Audiences.
  3. In your table of remarketing lists, click your customer match audience list.
  4. Click the Pencil icon.
  5. Select the "Remove email addresses" option.
  6. Choose the file that contains the email addresses that you want to remove.
  7. Click Upload and save list.

Formatting guidelines for Customer list data files

This section outlines the types of data used for customer matching and the guidelines to follow when creating your data file.

  • The data must be in a CSV file. Use a templateor create your own file using a combination of the following header names: Email, Phone, First Name, Last Name, Country, Postcode, User ID and Mobile Device ID.
  • You may upload private customer data that you’ve already hashed using the SHA256 algorithm, or, if you upload private customer data in plain text, AdWords will hash it for you using the same SHA256 algorithm, which is the industry standard for one-way hashing.
  • The customer data must be collected in compliance with the Customer Match policies.

Tip: Use the required column header names in your data file

Email address matching: You’re required to use 'Email' as the column header in your data file.

 

Phone matching: You’re required to use 'Phone' as the column header in your data file.

 

Postal address matching: Your data file must contain all of the following 4 column headers: 'First Name', 'Surname', 'Country' and 'Postcode'. If any of the required column header names are missing, your upload will likely result in an error.

 

Combining email address matching, postal address matching and phone matching: Your file should use all 6 of the column header names 'Email', 'Phone', 'First Name', 'Last Name', 'Country' and 'Postcode'. If you have multiple email addresses, postal addresses or phone numbers for a single customer, your file may include multiple 'Email', 'Postcode' or 'Phone' columns.
 

User ID matching: You’re required to use 'User ID' as the only column header in your data file.
 

Mobile Device ID matching: You’re required to use 'Mobile Device ID' as the only column header in your data file. 
 

 

Formatting guidelines for uploading plain text data (unhashed)  

Email

  • Include a domain name for all email addresses (for example, gmail.com or hotmail.co.jp)
  • Remove any spaces in between the email address

For example:

  • example@email.com
  • test@gmail.com

Phone

  • Include the country code

For example:

  • 44 (234) 567 8910
  • 81-12-3456-7891
  • 02 1234 5678 

First name

  • Don’t include prefixes (e.g. Mrs.)
  • Accents are allowed

For example:

  • john
  • zoë

Surname

  • Don’t include suffixes (e.g. Jr.)
  • Accents are allowed

For example:

  • smith
  • smith-jones
  • pérez

Country

  • Use ISO two-letter country codes
  • Include the country code even if all of your customer data is from the same country

For example:

  • US for United States
  • SG for Singapore

Postcode

  • Both US and international postcodes are allowed
  • For United States:
    • 5-digit codes are allowed
    • 5 digits followed by 4 digit extension are also allowed and may improve your match rate
  • For all other countries:
    • Leave out postcode extensions

For example:

  • 94303
  • 94303-5300
  • WC2H 8LG 

User ID

  • Use a single column labelled 'User ID'
  • Your file should only contain User ID data, no other data types are accepted with User ID data

Mobile Device ID

  • Use a single column labelled 'Mobile Device ID'
  • Your file should only contain Mobile Device ID data, no other data types are accepted with Mobile Device ID data
  • 540 day maximum membership duration 

 

 
 

Formatting guidelines for uploading hashed data

Email

  • Include a domain name for all email addresses (for example, gmail.com or hotmail.co.jp)
  • Lowercase all characters
  • Remove any extra spaces before, after or in between the email address

For example:

  • example@email.com
  • test@gmail.com

First name

  • Don’t include prefixes (e.g. Mrs.)
  • Accents are allowed
  • Lowercase all characters
  • Remove any extra spaces before, after and in between

For example:

  • john
  • zoë

Surname

  • Don’t include suffixes (e.g. Jr.)
  • Accents are allowed
  • Lowercase all characters
  • Remove any extra spaces before, after and in between

For example:

  • smith
  • smith-jones
  • pérez

Country

Don’t hash country data

  • Use ISO two-letter country codes
  • Include the country code even if all of your customer data is from the same country

For example:

  • US for United States
  • SG for Singapore

Zip

  • Don’t hash Postcode data
  • Both US and international postcodes are allowed
  • For United States: 
    • 5-digit codes are allowed
    • 5 digits followed by 4 digit extension are also allowed and may improve your match rate
  • For all other countries: 
    • Leave out postcode extensions

For example:

  • 94303
  • 94303-5300
  • WC2H 8LG

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