About the customer matching process

As announced on November 1, 2022, similar audiences will be transitioned to more durable solutions. Starting August 1, 2023, similar segments will be gradually removed from all ad groups and campaigns in Google Ads and should be completed by the end of the month.

  • Display, Discovery, and Video action campaigns that are still using similar audience segments after August 1, 2023 will be opted into optimized segments.
  • Video campaigns with “Product and brand consideration” or “Brand awareness and reach” objectives will be opted into audience expansion.
  • If you opted out before August 1, 2023, ad groups and campaigns targeting similar segments will be paused. Make sure to unpause them and add relevant targeting criteria.

Learn more about the Changes to audience segments.

To provide a comprehensive and consolidated view of your Audiences and make audience management and optimization simpler, you’ll find the following improvements in Google Ads:

  • New audience reporting
    Detailed reporting about audience demographics, segments, and exclusions is now consolidated in one place. Click the Campaigns icon Campaigns Icon and open the “Audiences, keywords and content” tab and click Audiences. You can also easily manage your Audiences from this report page. Learn more About Audience reporting.
  • New terms
    We’re using new terms on your audience report and throughout Google Ads. For example, “audience types” (these include similar, custom, in-market, and affinity) are now referred to as audience segments and “remarketing” is now referred to as “your data”. Learn more about the Updates to Audience terms and phrases.

This article provides details about the data matching process for Customer Match and how Google Ads processes the files you upload.

How it works

You create a customer data file based on information shared by your customers.

To keep your data secure, you can hash your customer data yourself using the SHA256 algorithm, or Google Ads will hash the data for you using the same SHA256 algorithm, which is the industry standard for one-way hashing.

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.

You’ll upload a customer data file in your Google Ads account or by using the Google Ads API (AdWords API). Google uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) for your upload, which is the industry standard to securely transfer files.


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.

After the matching process and policy compliance checks are complete, your data file is marked for deletion. You can then start targeting your Customer Match segments in your Google Ads campaigns.

You can also start targeting similar segments on Search, YouTube, and Gmail, if your Customer Match segment meets the eligibility requirements.

Email address and phone matching

Google keeps track of 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 customer list of email addresses and/or phone numbers, Google Ads will compare each hashed string on your customer list with the hashed string for email address or phone number of Google accounts. If there's a match, Google adds the corresponding Google account to your Customer Match segments (Customer list).

Mailing address matching

Google joins hashed name and mailing address data for Google accounts to construct a matching key. Mailing address data should include only the countries and the zip codes. 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 customer list with the keys based on Google accounts. If there's a match, Google adds the corresponding Google account to your Customer Match segments (Customer list).

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