Google to Boost Ad Relevancy for Businesses Sharing E-Mail Lists

  • New service lets businesses share e-mail lists for marketing
  • New ad feature was designed to protect users' privacy

Google Inc. uses terabytes of information to deliver targeted ads. Now, it wants customers to bring more of their own data.

Advertisers will be able to share their customers’ e-mail addresses with Google, which will match them with its user data, Google said in a statement Monday. The goal is to boost the relevance of ads that show up alongside search results, and in Gmail and YouTube, according to Jerry Dischler, vice president of product management at Google.

Google is looking for fresh ways to bolster its advertising business, which generates about 90 percent of the company’s sales. The service, called Customer Match, is similar to an offering by Facebook Inc., which uses the information it has on its users to fine-tune the relevance of ads that they see. Google said it’s including privacy safeguards to protect users’ information it gets from business that buy ads on Google.

"This is really compelling," Dischler said. "It’s a really big deal."

For example, a local Italian restaurant or an automaker could give Google lists of their customers, and when they search for pizza delivery or a new minivan, the businesses can make sure they put their own ads in front of known customers.

Customer Match is essentially a stepped-up version of a service that Google already offers, which lets businesses to re-target Web surfers who had already visited their websites. As part of the new effort, Google is also mining the data so that advertisers can target new customers who might have similar interests to existing customers.