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About the customer data matching process

This article provides details about the matching process and how AdWords processes the files you upload.

How it works

  1. You're responsible for putting together your data files. You may upload customer data that you’ve already hashed using the SHA256 algorithm, or, if you upload customer data in plain text, AdWords will hash them for you using the same SHA256 algorithm, which is the industry standard for one-way hashing.
  2. Only the private customer data in your file (Email, Phone, First Name, and Last Name) will be hashed, Country and Zip data won’t be hashed. If you upload a hashed data file, don’t hash Country and Zip data. 
  3. You must upload the data file using AdWords or the Adwords API. We use Transport Layer Security (TLS) for your upload, which is the industry standard for securely transferring files.

Email address and phone matching

  1. For matching based on your customers’ email addresses or phone numbers, Google maintains the email addresses and phone numbers for Google accounts and the corresponding hashed strings for those email addresses or phone numbers. After you've uploaded your list of email addresses and/or phone numbers, AdWords will compare each hashed string on your list with the hashed string or email address or phone number of Google accounts. If there's a match, we add the corresponding Google account to your Customer Match audience. 

Mailing address matching

  1. For matching based on your customers’ mailing addresses, Google joins hashed name and address data for Google accounts to construct a matching key. After you've uploaded your list with hashed customer names and addresses (don’t hash zip and country data), Google constructs a similar key based on your data and then compares each key on your list with the keys based on Google accounts. If there's a match, Google adds the corresponding Google account to your customer list. 
  2. If a user record doesn't match, Google may still use it as part of policy compliance checks, but Google won't otherwise use it for Customer Match or any other Google product. The matching process can take up to 48 hours.
  3. After the matching process and policy compliance checks are complete, your data file is marked for deletion.
  4. You can then start targeting your Customer Match audience in your AdWords campaigns.
  5. You can also start targeting similar audiences on YouTube and Gmail, if your Customer Match audience meets the eligibility requirements.

Related links

Upload data files and manage your Customer Match audiences

Adwords policies

Customer Match policy

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