With Audience lists becoming increasingly important for businesses leveraging digital marketing ad platforms, we wanted to share a guide for automating Google customer match lists with Shopify data.

Depending on your Google account status you may have received a notification to utilize Zapier for automating customer match lists. As they are officially collaborating to make it easier for users to work with Customer Match lists.

Why Automate Customer Lists?

There are a variety of reasons why this is a good idea. Firstly, in a post-cookie world having fully up to date first party customer data has never been more important.

Defining Customer acquisition data and Performance Max campaigns now require audience signal data to optimize performance.

Finally, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of creating or updating a list you’ll know it can seem cumbersome. So why not save the time you’d spend manually uploading everything.

Not convinced? Take a closer look at Google’s guide to Customer Match for a more comprehensive take.

Step by Step Guide to Automation

Since there are three separate parties involved this process: (Google, Zapier & Shopify) there are great guides from each individual platform, but no clear picture of the whole process from start to finish, with certain details missing.

So to save you having to browse and search multiple search FAQ’s here is the process from start to finish:

Pre-Setup Notes (Important)

If customer match hasn’t been updated in a while (or ever). Make sure all existing customer data has already been uploaded manually to Google Ads.

Create a customer match list named: “Shopify Customer Match – Dynamic Updates” and upload your existing database of customers. This will be the audience list you use for Zapier.

Zapier will also ask if you want to upload previous data, do not choose this option. Depending on how large the existing database is you could max out your number of monthly tasks. Meaning you end up having to pay a significantly higher monthly fee for this initial period. So only proceed with new customers only.

1. Setup Google Ads Customer Match List

This list will eventually be used in Zapier for the integration. Name it something like: Shopify Customer Match – Zapier Dynamic Updates. This will be the only time you upload a list manually, and as mentioned above it enables you to upload all existing/previous customer data. Follow Google’s guide here.

2. Sign up to Zapier

An important part of this step is selecting the right plan, as pricing is based on tasks per month. Once your Customer Match zap (Zapiers shorthand for automation) is complete, every new customer with a gmail account will count as a task. So since Zapier charges it’s monthly fee based on the number of tasks created, it’s definitely worthwhile having a projection of how many tasks you’ll need per month.

To work out your task count create a filter within Shopify that counts all your gmail.com domain customers, see the example I created below:

Dividing this number by 12 should give you a rough idea of which task range you fall within.

If you are worried about seasonality and peaks simply isolate your busy months separately to see what the maximum amount of gmail customers generated looks like. Click here to see Zapiers tiered pricing.

3. Linking Zapier with Google Ads

This step will enable you to link Zapier to the Google Ads account that you are going to utilize Zapier for.

4. Linking Google Ads with Zapier

This step creates the Zapier connection within Google Ads.

5. Set Up Customer Match With Zapier

This step outlines how to create the customer match zap in Zapier.

Important Missing Step from Zapier’s guide: Add @gmail.com filter to Zap workflow.

Without a filter Zapier will upload all customer submissions whether or not they have an email address. Customer match only works with Gmail accounts, so don’t waste those monthly tasks.

6. Monitor Performance

Monitor the zap daily for the next couple of weeks to ensure incoming tasks are consistent with new gmail customers in Shopify. Once satisfied monitor on a weekly/bi-weekly basis to ensure task numbers are maintained within the threshold. Zapier does sent automated emails if a problem ever occurs, but it’s always good to get your eyes on the data itself.

Please Note

Although Zapier is an excellent tool, things do go wrong with the technology, so please ensure that you closely monitor the progress and keep an eye out for any warning messages that may appear. Thankfully this task isn’t an overly critical one, but you wouldn’t want there to be a long disruption from the platform that might significantly affect the amount of customer data being ingested into your account.

Alternative Solutions

Integration Options

Just because we’ve found Zapier to be an excellent solution for customer match, it doesn’t have to be the only solution.

Here is a list of alternatives you might want to try.

  1. Upload your customer lists manually: If you’ve got the time and don’t want to save on the monthly fees there’s no harm in doing it the traditional way!
  2. Salesforce: Currently utilizing Salesforce as your CRM? If you have access to their Advertising Studio Configuration there is a way to utilize your CRM/first-party data to target ad campaigns across a wide range of advertising platforms.
  3. Leadsbridge: A direct competitor to Zapier, LeadsBridge is a smaller yet impressive technology that boasts additional data synchronization features which may be of interest for those looking to stay GDPR & CCPA compliant. Here is a guide they did on Customer Match.

Interested in leveraging additional audience types?

As an agency we were very excited to hear the news about Shopify’s latest audience tool. Find out more with our guide to Shopify Audiences: How To Use The Product To Increase Your Profits.

Also, if building audiences is new for you then make sure you check out our other Audience based blog content here.

Final Thoughts

Here at Take Some Risk like any agency we work with a range of businesses and brands at varying sizes and scale. Working in this fashion often enables us to spot particular trends that we see happening across accounts. Our difference I think is that we act on these trends in a thoughtful yet timely manner that enables us to stay ahead of the competition.

My reasoning for writing this blog post is that Customer match and audience lists in general have really come into play as a key area for optimizing performance, which we dived into in the opening paragraphs. In the internet age we are all coming to understand that Data is one of the most valuable commodities, so ensuring that the data you run your ads with is accurate, updated, and relevant should be a real priority.

Creative visualization of the value of data. A dollar sign with silver and gold numbers.

Resource Summary




Google to use Customer Match lists for Smart Bidding, Optimized Targeting