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Targeting Best-Fit Families for Enrollment Marketing: Traditional Targeting vs. Customer Match

by Anastasia Chichinadze, Production Director, Truth Tree


Google is phasing out the Customer Match feature, which allows schools’ enrollment marketers to upload customer lists that could include current and past parents and former prospects. Google currently uses this information to create similar audiences.

In this case study, we will compare similar audience targeting vs. Truth Tree’s targeting methods that include demographic and keyword targeting specific for school marketing purposes.



Similar audience targeting will outperform Truth Tree’s method, which includes demographic and keyword targeting in impression and click volume. However, Truth Tree’s method will yield more quality clicks based on the user intent at the time of the click.


Why it Matters:

Google Ads will no longer support similar audiences in 2023. This means school marketers will have to rely on more in-depth methods, requiring a deeper level of understanding to target ideal market personas.


Therefore, we want to document how successful Truth Tree’s targeting compares to similar audience targeting to improve our targeting strategy on behalf of our clients.



We conducted a two-month study with a school client where we used a customer list (current and former parents) to create a customer match segment and compare it to our targeting strategy.



After a two-month observation period, the Customer Match custom audience outperformed other audiences in terms of impressions and clicks. However, there was no correlation between the performance of the campaigns and the addition of new audiences. This suggested that our targeting was already effective, and the Customer Match audience only provided a slight improvement.

Enrollment marketing for schools google ads targeting - Truth Tree


The experiment results supported our initial hypothesis that the school’s database audience would be more successful than unknown audiences, but not to the degree we thought it would. 


The study highlights the importance of targeted marketing for schools and evaluating existing targeting strategies before implementing new ones. 


If you would like to conduct this experiment, follow these steps:

  • Log into Google Ads > 
  • Tools and Settings > 
  • Shared Library > 
  • Audience Manager > 
  • Click + 
  • Customer List >
  • Name the audience
  • Upload emails (make sure the format is correct and there are > 1,000 contacts. We recommend a minimum of 1,500 because not all will be viable for this use)

Identify your school’s next digital marketing move.