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3 min read

Leveraging reverse ETL in digital advertising platforms

In the dynamic landscape of digital marketing, the ability to integrate analytical insights with operational systems is becoming increasingly crucial.

One key technology that is facilitating this integration is reverse ETL, a process that involves moving data from a data warehouse or analytics platform to other systems. Reverse ETL can be a game-changer for digital marketers, particularly in the context of optimising remarketing campaigns and creating effective lookalike audiences for targeting expansion.

Understanding Reverse ETL

Reverse ETL flips the traditional ETL process by extracting data from a data warehouse and loading it into other systems, such as advertising platforms. By leveraging reverse ETL, marketers can turn data-driven insights into actionable strategies that enhance the customer experience and drive more targeted marketing efforts.

One of the primary benefits of reverse ETL for digital marketers is the hands-off nature of these system configurations; it’s a “set and forget” activity for the most part. Another primary benefit is that in many cases this sync can happen in near real-time, and certainly daily at least. 

Remarketing Campaigns and Lookalike Audiences

The data shared with advertising platforms would usually be customer information, subject to the necessary consents being provided, such as email addresses and phone numbers. Reverse ETL can also be utilised for improving customer experiences via ads through better targeting through customer/audience segmentation. This not only improves customer engagement but also allows for enhanced segmentation, ensuring that marketing campaigns are precisely targeted for maximum impact. 

Remarketing, a strategy that targets users who have previously interacted with a brand, can be significantly enhanced through reverse ETL. By sending customer interaction and purchase history data back to advertising platforms, marketers can tailor their remarketing campaigns with precision. Reverse ETL supports the creation of lookalike audiences—new users who share characteristics with an existing customer base—leading to more effective and targeted outreach.

Ensuring Privacy Compliance

While the benefits of reverse ETL for digital marketers are evident, it’s crucial to highlight the importance of privacy compliance. Marketers must adhere to data protection regulations such as GDPR and CCPA (among others), obtaining explicit consent from users before collecting and utilising their data for marketing purposes. Employing data anonymization and encryption techniques further ensures the protection of sensitive customer information during the reverse ETL process.

How to get started

This will depend on your organisation’s structure and existing technology stack, but many CRM or Customer Data Platforms (“CDP”) systems can easily facilitate this via a simple connection. CRM systems also usually come with simple ways to create audience segmentations which are dynamic and can be factored into this data sharing. 

Without a single source-of-truth of customer data, the challenge is a little trickier but not insurmountable. There are plenty of cloud ETL systems which support reverse ETL functions. Alternative options also include utilising cloud connection tools such as Zapier

If you’re just getting started in exploring these features, manual upload is also a temporary solution. 


Reverse ETL is a powerful tool that empowers digital marketers to seamlessly integrate analytics with operational systems, driving more personalised and effective marketing campaigns. By responsibly leveraging this technology and adhering to privacy regulations, marketers can unlock new levels of efficiency and impact in their digital marketing efforts. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, embracing reverse ETL is a strategic move for marketers seeking to stay ahead in the ever-changing world of online advertising. Get in touch with our Media Solutions team for support.