With a diverse audience of wine lovers from around the world, Wine Enthusiast wanted to optimize its Search campaigns to hone in on high-value customers. Pairing Customer Match with remarketing lists for search ads helped the company improve its ad spend while boosting KPIs across the board.


  • Leverage existing high-value customer email lists to improve return on investment (ROI)


  • Used Customer Match on all Search campaigns
  • Combined Customer Match and remarketing lists for search ads


  • 3X higher ROI
  • 6X higher click-through rate (CTR)
  • 4X higher conversion rate (CVR)
August 2016

In 1979, Adam and Sybil Strum, long-time wine lovers, were on the hunt for the best wine-related products. When they found out top-quality items were only available to professionals, they asked themselves, "Why shouldn’t all wine lovers be able to enjoy access to the same products?" Their answer: founding the Wine Enthusiast Companies.

Now a renowned, multi-channel business, Wine Enthusiast uses a combination of digital marketing and direct-mail print catalogs to drive sales. "As soon as we drop a print catalog, people go online," said Glenn Edelman, Wine Enthusiast's chief marketing officer. "We know we need to be there when customers have our catalog in hand."

Over the years, many wine connoisseurs across the world have registered their email addresses with Wine Enthusiast when making purchases on the website. The company wanted to find a way to use that list to better reach high-value customers and increase the efficiency of its digital ad spend. Combining the power of its remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) campaigns with Customer Match (CM) allowed Wine Enthusiast to do just that.

Customer Match identifies Wine Enthusiast's high-value audiences

Customer Match enables businesses to reach high-value customers on Google Search, YouTube, and Gmail. Wine Enthusiast expected to generate a small CM audience compared to its RLSA population. But the company was pleasantly surprised to see match rates of about 50%, enabling them to reach a significant number of valuable customers.


"Customer Match and RLSA have allowed us to reach our high-value audiences in the moments we know they’re searching for us."

With the help of Merkle, their digital marketing agency, the company then applied these CM audiences to all Search campaigns, customizing its bid modifiers based on how valuable each shopper is to the business. For instance, Wine Enthusiast created a CM audience of holiday shoppers consisting of customers who converted during last year’s holiday season. Knowing this group is more likely to convert as holiday-season demand ramps up, the company could bid higher on trending keywords, leading to a higher ROI from that group of customers.

Combining Customer Match and RLSA for retargeting

RLSA worked well for Wine Enthusiast in the past, accounting for 22% of the brand's search ad orders. Bringing together CM and RLSA made sense for the company—RLSA can be used to engage with recent site visitors, while CM can cover customers who've already established a relationship with the brand.

This means that the brand can tailor its strategy based on the long-term relationship it has with a customer while accounting for the shopper's short-term interests. For instance, a customer who is already a part of a high-value shoppers CM list may also show an interest in wine racks from a recent site visit, leading to that customer being placed on an RLSA list. Combining these two features allows the brand to confidently bid higher and be present in those I-want-to-buy moments when this high-value shopper decides to purchase a wine rack.

Compared to non-Customer Match traffic, CM audiences drove a 6X higher CTR, 4X higher CVR, and 3X higher ROI.


Using both CM and RLSA together allowed Wine Enthusiast to reach their customers no matter where they were in the purchase funnel. While RLSA helps the brand reach shoppers who have recently shown interest in products like merlots from Napa Valley or Rieslings from Washington state, CM helps it re-engage inactive users, loyal holiday shoppers, and high-spending customers.

CM specifically drove high return on investment for the brand. Compared to non-Customer Match traffic, CM audiences drove a 6X higher CTR, 4X higher CVR, and 3X higher ROI. "Customer Match and RLSA have allowed us to reach our high-value audiences in the moments we know they’re searching for us," Glenn said.

Customer Match and RLSA audiences show stronger performance compared to non-audience text ads


Moving forward, CM offers even more opportunities than just audience remarketing. By excluding CM and RLSA audiences from its Search campaigns, Wine Enthusiast can test ad groups targeting new customers who have not yet engaged with the brand.