Get your free poster of the Queen!

Want to show your passion for the Canadian Monarchy? Looking for an interesting gift? Or just want to spruce up your man cave?

Well you are in luck! All you have to do is call 1 800 O-Canada and the Canadian government will send you a poster of Her Majesty The Queen!

Free Queen Poster

I first did heard about this in 2010 and almost didn’t believe it until the parcel showed up at my door. When I called in asking for my poster of the Queen, they asked me if I wanted just the The Queen, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

Of course I got all three.

Recently I saw a poster at our office and was happy to see that our government is still using tax dollars to send posters of Liz around the country to millennials who think it is hilarious (it is).

Want to see or download the portraits before you order (and spoil your excitement)?

How I became the “best looking digital marketer in Vancouver”​

best looking digital marketer in vancouver award

Seriously. Google “Who is the best looking digital marketer in Vancouver“. You’ll find me at the top of the page.

Did I win any awards? No.

Did other people mention me online in this fashion? No

Do people think of me this way offline? Maybe.

But how I got here was just after a week of simple on-page SEO changes to my personal blog.

What changes did I make?

  1. Updated title and meta description to include “best looking digital marketer in Vancouver”. This is the information is what shows up on the Google search results page. As you can see, my targeted keyword in the description is bold because that is what was searched for.
  2. Updated the H1 on the homepage to include this keyword. The H1 tag is the most important on page factor for SEO. Google will look here to determine what your page is all about.
  3. Changed the alt tags on a few of my images to include the keyword. Note if you image search “Best Looking Digital Marketer in Vancouver” my mug will be up there a few times.

Then I just waited a week and I was on the first page!

So what does this mean and why do I think it’s appropriate to share on LinkedIn?

This proves that with small, albeit important, SEO basics you can rank for specific long tail keywords. Of course its important to note that nobody else seems to be trying to rank for this specific keyword, but if your company has a specific niche, SEO can help you stand out online.

* Update March 21st

It appears that nobody was even searching for “best looking digital marketer in Vancouver” until weeks ago…

Best looking digital marketer in Vancouver search analytics

Escaping the Walled Gardens of Facebook, Amazon & Google

Brad Tollefsen - Best Looking Digital Marketer in Vancouver

This is a recap of my presentation at the Vancouver Web Design Meetup.

I was happy to be the token digital marketer presenting at the meetup. The audience is a mix of programmers, designers, & students, but I it’s important to keep marketing in mind when you are developing your site.

If you ask a digital marketer what they do they could go on and on about their roles and responsibilities…

What does a digital marketer do


But when it comes down to it, role of the digital marketer is fairly simple. They need to find out where your target market is online, then drive them to the website where they take some sort of action.

What does a digital marketer REALLY do.jpg

This action can be to purchase your product, call about your services, sign up for a newsletter etc. In most cases, your website is the place where these conversions happen. This is where you have complete control.

Typically this is what a good marketing mix will look like. Lots of different marketing assets sending visitors to the website.

But when these marketing tactics are taking place on assets that you can’t control, there are often barriers preventing visitors from getting to your website.

website marketing hub model

If you create business pages on multiple social media platforms, they don’t necessarily want their users leaving their site. They have their own marketing goals that don’t always align perfectly with yours.

What I want to go over in this post is the concept is the concept of “walled gardens” and how that applies to your digital marketing goals.

So what are walled gardens?

Social Media Walled Gardens

*yes this illustration is a bit dated – imagine instead of myspace it’s snapchat*

A walled garden typically refers to a controlled environment where the company imposes the rules of the content engagement. Generally you will be logged in to participate and the user experience is customized for each user.

As a marketer this can be a double edged sword. Walled gardens can give you highly targeted data to identify your market. But you also have to play within the gardens rules, often paying the gardener.

Here is another way of looking at it:

Walled gardens can go fuck themselves

In most cases it’s not this harsh. It’s more like the relationship of an employer who will pay you enough to stay, but you know they are still getting more of out of your labour.

I am going to go through some examples of Facebook, Amazon and Google to show how this affects marketers and best practices to get people through to your site.


Everybody should be aware of Facebook’s loyal user base and reach:

  • 1.23 billion monthly active users
  • 945 million mobile users
  • 757 million daily users
  • 71% of Canadians login to FB every 2 weeks

And Facebook has an enormous amount of data… on you. They know who your friends are, your age, sex, relationship status, interests, location, schools you’ve been to, level of education, device you’re viewing on and much more.

As individuals, I am sure a lot of us feel very uncomfortable with the amount of information Zuckerburg has on us. And that information isn’t going anywhere.

As a marketers, I am sure a lot of us are shamelessly excited about this. We can use all your information to get you to do stuff online! Yeah it’s a bit creepy, but that’s another presentation all together…

So back in 2010, when Facebook’s garden was still sprouting, it was the golden age for digital marketers. It seemed like a free way to drive people to your site.

If you had a business selling Canucks merchandise like flags for your car, life was simple. You’d set up a business page, a couple Luongo & Kelser fan groups, post some links back to your website. Those Johnny Canuck flags would sell themselves.

canucks 1

This was because people who were in your group and liked your page were almost all seeing your posts.

The garden was vast and the walls were low.

Then around 2012 Facebook’s walls grew overnight. This was bad news for your Canuck’s fan store

Facebook update 2011

It became a pay to play environment. If you wanted your fans to see your posts, you would have to boost them. Businesses that were based on Facebook’s traffic were crushed overnight by this. Even big brands considered moving their marketing efforts completely off of Facebook.

But of course they didn’t. Facebook’s user base was too large for people to ignore. Marketers need to get in front of people where they are, and where they are is on Facebook.

Facebook is still an excellent way to effectively target your market. I have a client who does a name change service and they target women who are engaged or recently gotten married.

Since it is currently wedding season in Australia, we set up a landing page on their site for a targeted FB campaign. FB allows us to target geographically and FB users are updating their status to engaged. You can’t get that type of targeting through LinkedIn!

The Facebook update is a great lesson about the walled gardens. You cannot put too much of your marketing efforts into a platform that you cannot control.

There are very few elements online you can have complete control over, and your website is one of them, another being your email list. When building up your marketing plan, make sure you diversify which platforms you are on so you don’t get burned.

Protip: Building an email list is another way to have complete control (email isn’t going anywhere)


This was a smaller part of the presentation, but one that couldn’t have been ignored as a lot of us are building ecommerce sites and Amazon is by far the biggest player.

  • 244 million active users
  • 54 million prime users
  • Sells 4x as much as biggest Canadian rivals

As a user, I love Amazon. 3 weeks ago I was skyping a friend who was doing a puzzle. Fueled by my jealousy, I logged into amazon prime and bought this bad boy

Boba Fett

Overall it was a great experience. It was shipped to me the next day. And now every time I log into Amazon I get offers on other similar Star Wars puzzles. Of course I will never buy another one because this was damn near impossible…

When businesses choose to sell their products on amazon they subject to the wall for their garden.

  1. You’ll be shown side by side against your competitors
  2. You can’t remarket
  3. You don’t get the buyers information

This last one being one of the most important.  Most ecommerce websites benefit from a large percentage of repeat business. When people buy through your site you get their email address reminding them to restock, upsell on related items, or other promotions.

If you are selling through Amazon, you don’t get any of these benefits.


The last walled garden I am going to touch in this article is Google

  • 1 billion active gmail accounts
    • Google Search
    • Youtube (second largest search engine)
    • Google Display Network
    • Google+ (yes it is still around)
  • 40,000 searches every second

Like Facebook, Google has a creepy amount of data on you that marketers should get excited about. And like Facebook, Google has been increasingly becoming more of a pay to play environment.

This shouldn’t be news to most of us as we see the increase amount of ads being shown on the search results page and even ads in our gmail accounts. Unless of course you have ad blockers installed in your browser, which means you really know that Google has a lot of ads.

But my focus isn’t going to be on Google’s paid environment, it is going to be how Google is changing they way they are displaying their results based on new searching behaviour.

People have been increasingly using voice search to ask Google their questions.



This is done through Siri, android devices, and the new smart speakers like Google Home & Amazon Echo.

In most of these cases the device is directly answering a question back to the user instead just directing them to a website.

When I search “What time is costco open until” a featured snippet pops up on the SERP. This is what the voice search will repeat back to me.

What time is costco open until

In this case it is scraping this information from the Google My Business location. Google knows where I am making my search from and also what day it is.

The searcher is never leaving the Google’s garden to get the information they need.

As a marketer I am okay with this because they are getting the information they need to get into the store where the real conversion will happen.

Other searches will piss marketers off.

how long does it take to cook a turducken 1

SEO is hard. Getting to the #1 spot for any search term takes a lot of effort in creating great content and promoting it through social and backlinks.

Sites like “What’s cooking America” make their revenue through advertising and affiliate marketing. So even though they are at the top spot with their snippet, a large % may not even click it because they have gotten the information they need.

Your website being featured in a snippet is often referred to as the #0 spot, as it sometimes doesn’t include a link back to your site and is separated from the rest of the results.

Underneath the snippet is the “People also ask” section, which is filled up with more snippets that are used for other searches.

The #1 spot actually shows up beneath the snippets. This company actually sells turduckens, so you can imagine they aren’t happy with the changes on the results page.

how long does it take to cook a turducken 2

What’s cooking America actually shows up in the #4 spot again.

So given this new layout would you rather be ranked in the #1 spot or the #0 and 5th spot? As a marketer, you are more likely going to get people to click through your site if you are featured in the snippet than buried on the rest of the page.

How to get featured in the snippets.

STAT Search Analytics did some great research last year on what type of snippets are being shown.

how often did we see each of the different snippet types

Paragraphs were the most common type of snippet being shown, but lists and tables show they are increasing in the past year.

there are two types of how queries

There are no easy answers to what type of questions trigger what types of answers, you need to ask yourself – can this be answered in a table or list, or does a paragraph make the most sense?

One of the more interesting findings in their research is that often one landing page would be cited for multiple questions. When Google finds a trusted source they like to stick with it.

So if you are looking to get featured in a snippet, make sure your page addresses potential questions a search might have in a clear and concise way. Use the People also ask box to make sure your content addresses everything.


  • Know the limitations and risks of the platforms you are using
  • Diversify your marketing efforts (don’t end up like 2011 Canuck fans)
  • Always drive traffic to your site (that’s where the magic happens)

Why isn’t my yelp review recommended?

Does this sound familiar?

You’ve been pretty passive about your company’s Yelp profile over the years because it didn’t seem like a high priority. Some “okay” reviews piled up naturally and everything seemed fine.

Then you get a negative review. Legit or not, this review sticks to the top of the page and isn’t going anywhere.

After learning that you can’t remove the review, you decide that the best defense is to bury the negative with a bunch of positive. So you contact your happy clients and ask them to give you a good ranking. A few of them agree, but after a few week you notice that their reviews aren’t being shown, but are being hidden under the “not currently recommended section”.

What gives? why isnt my yelp review recommended Yelp doesn’t disclose the exact way its filtering works, but they do give some general instructions, and a little understanding of reputation systems will help. The more reviews you write, and the longer you have an account, the higher your trust rating. But there are some things you can do to improve the credibility of your profile and posts:

Complete your profile

This is good advice for any personal or business account. The more information you fill out, the more committed and real you will seem to the algorithm and any human verification process that might occur.

Upload a picture of yourself

Again this important. The yelp equivalent of the twitter egg doesn’t instill trust in your profile.

Link your Yelp account to some other accounts (Facebook/Twitter)

This is one of the most important ways you can prove you are a real person. Don’t worry, Yelp wont post anything to your Facebook wall (unless you let them)

Within Yelp establish some friends

If you are actually using Yelp for social media, you would be following your friends to see what they like. Find some popular Yelpers and follow them too.

Write some (3-4) interesting reviews that other people vote up as being useful, interesting, or cool.

If your account has only 1 review, it will seem like you created your account just for this review.

Write like a human

There’s probably some semantic and syntactic automated review: so when writing, try to make the verbiage look credible: use sentences, paragraphs, and punctuation. Spell things out, no SMS-speak. Make them longer than a sentence (but please, no novels), and try not to use too many words that sound like you’re just ranting.

Write a mix of reviews

Also, write some positive, negative, AND neutral reviews, don’t just use Yelp as a dumping ground for rant or praise. Include some soft criticism so your posts seem more credible. This is important for the posts you want to stick. If your post is 100% praise, it triggers some doubt that this post might be created by a fake account or done by a friend or employee. The criticism can be completely harmless (“parking is difficult” or “pricing is reasonable”), adding it will make your post more human.

Local SEO: Snack Pack vs Ranking Locally. What’s the difference?

Local Snack Pack vs Traditional Organic Rankings 1

Ranking locally is something almost every business should be worried about. You want your website to be shown when people are searching for your product or service in your area.

But did you know there are two ways to show up on the search results page? There are

  1. The traditional organic listings, which have links to your website, and
  2. The “local snack pack”, which show businesses on a map, ratings, hours of operation, and contact information.

In some cases these results can be the same:

Local Snack Pack vs Traditional Organic Rankings

For other search queries it can be completely different:

Local Snack Pack vs Traditional Organic Rankings 2

Moz conducted a survey asking SEO experts what they thought were the top localized organic factors and they top snack pack factors, and neither of the top 5 were the same.

In this post I will go through the top 5 for each and let you know the basics about each factor.

Top 5 Localized Organic Factors

The localized organic factors primarily depend on what is happening on your website.

  1. Domain Authority of Website

Is your website new? Have you been penalized by Google in the past? Then this might be an issue for you. Domain authority is something your site builds slowly over time by providing searchers quality content.

  1. Quality of Inbound Links to Domain

Domain authority is also improved by getting high quality inbound links. When other sites link to yours, Google sees this as a vote of confidence that your site is important and will reward you with high ranking.

Beware of low quality links. If Google sees that you have a high number of low quality links, it may even hurt your ranking.

Here are some suggestions on how to build local links:

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Host community events
  • Sponsor local charities
  • Create great community content
  1. City, State/Province in Landing Page Title

Include the location you want to rank for in your title. This means if you want to be ranking for “Carpet Cleaning Vancouver”, “North Vancouver Real Estate” or “Vancouver Web Design”, include those keywords in your title.

You’ll notice that we have “Vancouver Web Design” right in our title:

Local Snack Pack vs Traditional Organic Rankings 3

  1. Click Through Rate from Search Results

The click through rate (CTR) is the % of people who click your website after seeing you on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). You can increase your CTR by including keywords in your title, having well written meta description, and by having a strong brand that people will know to click.

  1. Topical (Product/Service) Keyword Relevance of Domain Content

Does your website have the content that people are looking for? It’s important to have a specific landing page set up for every product or service your business has. This way when someone is searching for “product/service + location” you will have a page that can serve exactly what the searcher needs.

Top 5 Local Snack Pack Factors

Unlike the localized organic factors, the snack pack rankings depend on what is happening off your webpage. These factors include your Google My Business (GMB) profile, citations, and the location of you and the searcher.

  1. Physical Address in City of Search

Is your business actually in the city you want to be ranking in? If not, it’s going to be difficult for your business to be shown in the maps. Google only wants physical businesses showing up in the snack pack, so it includes a verification process when registering GMB account.

  1. Consistency of Structured Citations

Citations are mentions online of your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) across the internet. Google wants you to have this formatted exactly the same. This means that “300-602 West Hastings Street” is not the same as “Unit 300 – 602 W Hastings St”. You would think that Google would be able to figure something like this out, but the formatting has a large impact on you ranking.

  1. Proper Google My Business Category Associations

When setting up your Google My Business account, make sure you are picking the most relevant category or categories. If you are a restaurant that also does catering and weddings, you’ll need all three.

This is something that needs to be set up by the owner. If you have not claimed your account you will be missing out.

  1. Proximity of Address to the Point of Search

Google wants to show the results that are closest to where the searcher currently is. If I am in the Olympic Village looking for sushi, I don’t want to know what’s available in East Van.

Unfortunately as a marketer controlling where people are when they are searching is out of your control…

  1. Quality/Authority of Structured Citations

When building your citations, start with the basics:

  • Google My Business
  • Yelp
  • Yellow Pages
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Canpages

These won’t just help your Google ranking, they will also drive referral traffic to your site. Also look into niche directories and social sites in your industry. Houzz and Homestars are great sources of traffic for Construction and Design companies.

Protip: Google your competitors and see what they are ranking for.


I hope this helps you better understand why your business is ranking (or isn’t) locally on Google. If you have any questions about your company’s online strategy, I would be happy to chat.



How to Get Your Videos Ranking on YouTube

How to Rank on YouTube

Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine?

Have you noticed that Google often shows Youtube video links on the first page for search phrases like

  • “How to format a table in google sheets”
  • “Best USB microphone”
  • “Setting up Apple TV”
  • Or “Spaghetti and meatballs recipe”?

Do you believe that people are generally lazy and would rather watch a video than read an article?

Then you should be considering using video in your SEO strategy. Videos are a great way for you to solve your customer’s problems and are another channel that you can use to get in front of them.
As advanced as the Google algorithm is, it can’t watch and understand videos. This is why it takes more than a great video to rank on YouTube.

If you are already creating great videos, here are some tips to help them rank better in YouTube as well as Google.

Get the right Keywords

YouTube Keywords should be slightly different than your website keywords. Google prefers to show YouTube videos on the results page when the videos are

  • How to …
  • Product reviews
  • Or tutorials.

Be sure to have your keywords matching these formats if you want them to be shown on Google. If you do not, then you will only be driving traffic when people are searching within Youtube.

Include your keywords in the right places

Make sure you include your keyword in the following places

  • Video Filename – for example lawn-mowing-tips.mp4 is better than VIDEO_456789.mp4
  • Video Title – the title should be at least 5 words long so you can include your full keyword. For example “5 Lawn Mowing Tips for 2016”.
  • Description – The description is something that is ignored on most videos. As I mentioned before, Google cannot understand your video. The description is where you can include a full recap for what happens in the video, at least 250 words. If there is a lot of talking in your video, but sure to include the transcript in the video. If there is text in the video, include that tool. Also include a link back to your website, ideally the page on your site that is most relevant to the video.
  • Tags – Tags don’t only help you rank for your target keyword, but they also determine when your video shows up in the related sidebar.

Build Links to the Video

Just like ranking factors for blog posts or other pieces of content, links matter. If you want your video to be ranking for competitive keywords, it will need to get more views than the competition.  Here are some ideas to drive traffic to your video

  • Embed Your Videos in Blog Posts – Every quality video should have a corresponding blog post on your site.
  • Post links in Q&A sites – People are already asking for the answer in your video on sites like Quora and Yahoo! Answers. These are perfect opportunities for you to link to them.
  • Send to your email list – If you have a large email list, let them know about the video.

Following these steps should get you ahead of your competition in video ranking. There are other things to also consider such as engagement metrics (like, views, time spent watching, thumbs up), but as long as you are producing quality videos and people are watching, the engagement metrics will follow.

If you have any questions on YouTube SEO or any other online marketing topics please let me know.


3 Keys to Rank on Google Maps

Ranking on Google Maps

Having your business rank high in google maps is becoming increasingly important. Not only is Google showing the maps at the top of the SERP (search engine results page) more frequently, but it is only showing the top three businesses.

How can you make sure that our business is being included in these results? There are a number of different strategies you can be implementing, but you must include these three things:
1. Google My Business account.
2. Citations
3. Positive reviews

If you include all three of these elements, you will give your business a very good chance at ranking in the top.

1. Google My Business

This is googles primary source for determining what your business is all about. It include your business name, address, phone number, description and more. When writing your description it is important to include your business’s keywords. It’s important to include as much information as possible in your profile.

You can claim your business by visiting (Google my business) and verifying by either a phone call to your business address or through having a postcard with a code sent to your business address.

2. Citations

Google doesn’t only rely on your company’s Google My Business page. It scours the Internet for mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP). It is important the NAP are the exact same across all your citations. No variations.

Start your citation building on local and relevant directories in your niche. If you aren’t sure where to start, do a search for your keywords and see what non-competitor sites show up.

Same rules apply when creating these profiles. Complete them as much as you can, include keywords when applicable, and keep the NAP the same.

3. Reviews

With the Google My Business and citations completed, Google will be able to index your business alongside your competitors. Now we have to differentiate yourself from them.

Reviews are the social proof you need to convince potential customers and search engines that your business should be ranked #1. It’s no mistake that the businesses with the most and best reviews are at the top. Your business needs reviews.

But how do you get reviews?

The answer is actually simple. Find your happiest customers and you ask them.
By adding these elements to your online strategy, you will be ranking in Google maps in no time.

196 Negative Keywords Missing in Your Campaign

Negative Keywords That are Missing from Your Campaign

So you’ve found your keywords, broke them into groups, wrote some compelling ads, and now you think you are ready to launch your AdWords search campaign.  When you review your campaign a few weeks later, you see a bunch of irrelevant search queries causing your ads to pop up.

These unwanted search terms are:

·         Hurting your quality score

·         Decreasing your click through rate

·         And costing you money.

Negative keywords are a great way to tighten up your targeting.

Let’s say you are an online window blind company. You will have “window blinds” as a phrase or broad match keyword. Your ads will show up when people search for “window blinds cleaner” or  “do it yourself window blinds” if you don’t have any negative keywords.

By adding in “cleaner” and “do it yourself” as negative keywords, you’ll avoid having your ads show up for those search terms.

Although every campaign is different, there are many keywords that I like to include on all my campaigns to make sure I am not wasting any of my client’s money.

Note: Review this list before putting adding any of these keywords to your account. If your campaign is selling low quality goods, courses, or trying to recruit new employees, these keywords will actually hurt the campaign.

Negative keywords:

  1. “soft ware”
  2. accessories
  3. accessory
  4. application
  5. apply
  6. applying
  7. artificial
  8. association
  9. associations
  10. avatar
  11. avatars
  12. bachelors
  13. bad
  14. bargain
  15. batteries
  16. battery
  17. become
  18. bitmap
  19. bitmaps
  20. blog
  21. blogs
  22. bmp
  23. book
  24. books
  25. career
  26. careers
  27. cheap
  28. cheapen
  29. cheaper
  30. cheapest
  31. class
  32. classes
  33. clean
  34. cleaner
  35. cleaners
  36. cleaning
  37. cleanser
  38. cleansers
  39. clip
  40. clips
  41. code
  42. college
  43. colleges
  44. compare
  45. comparison
  46. comparisons
  47. counterfeit
  48. coupon
  49. coupons
  50. course
  51. courses
  52. d i y
  53. degree
  54. degrees
  55. diploma
  56. diplomas
  57. direction
  58. directions
  59. diy
  60. do it yourself
  61. dupe
  62. employer
  63. employers
  64. employment
  65. engineer
  66. equipment
  67. fake
  68. faked
  69. faux
  70. for sale
  71. forms
  72. forum
  73. forums
  74. free
  75. gif
  76. guide
  77. guides
  78. hire
  79. hiring
  80. how
  81. how to
  82. icon
  83. icons
  84. image
  85. images
  86. inexpensive
  87. info
  88. information
  89. institute
  90. intern
  91. interning
  92. interns
  93. internship
  94. job
  95. jobs
  96. joe
  97. joke
  98. jokes
  99. jpeg
  100. jpg
  101. kit
  102. kits
  103. lesson
  104. lessons
  105. license
  106. licenses
  107. master
  108. masters
  109. mba
  110. measurement
  111. measurements
  112. mechanic
  113. mechanical
  114. on sale
  115. opportunity
  116. painting
  117. paintings
  118. part
  119. parts
  120. phd
  121. photo
  122. photograph
  123. photographs
  124. photos
  125. pic
  126. pics
  127. picture
  128. pictures
  129. pix
  130. plugin
  131. portrait
  132. portraits
  133. poster
  134. posters
  135. preowned
  136. questions
  137. rank
  138. ranking
  139. rebate
  140. rebates
  141. refurbish
  142. refurbished
  143. rental
  144. rentals
  145. repair
  146. repairing
  147. repairman
  148. repairmen
  149. repairs
  150. replica
  151. replicas
  152. resume
  153. resumes
  154. review
  155. reviewer
  156. reviewers
  157. reviewing
  158. reviews
  159. rumor
  160. rumors
  161. salaries
  162. salary
  163. school
  164. schools
  165. score
  166. scores
  167. scoring
  168. screen saver
  169. screen savers
  170. screensaver
  171. screensavers
  172. second hand
  173. secondhand
  174. snake
  175. snakes
  176. software
  177. supplies
  178. supply
  179. sweepstakes
  180. tech
  181. technician
  182. techs
  183. tip
  184. tips
  185. tool
  186. tools
  187. universities
  188. university
  189. used
  190. wallpaper
  191. wallpapers
  192. what
  193. work
  194. workshops
  195. worst
  196. yourself

If you find these useful please let me know by sharing it on social media.

If there are any other keywords you always use, please add them into the comments.

3 Unique Gmail Ad Strategies You Need to Know

3 Gmail Ad Strategies You Need to Know AboutHave you noticed a few extra emails in your inbox? If you are using Gmail, you might have seen the new Gmail Ads, or Gmail Sponsored Posts (GSP).

These ads look just like promotional emails, except when you click on them, you see an ad instead of an actual email.

What are Gmail Ads

If you don’t use Gmail, you might not be familiar with its tabbed format. Gmail automatically filters your email so that all social content (Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, Meetup and other platform notifications) get placed in one folder, and promotional emails get placed in another.

This means that all of your newsletters you sign up for, or any travel promotions are all in one place.

In my promotional tab (shown above), I’m receiving ads from an airline company (WestJet). This is most likely because they are targeting people who are receiving information about flights. You can also see in the screen shot that I am receiving emails from Aeroplan, but I am also getting other flight related information such as emails from

When you click on the ad it can expand in the number of ways. Here is what the WestJet ad looks like:

Ads in Gmail Promotions Tab

Advertisers pay when you first click on their ad, which doesn’t necessarily take you to their site. Another unique feature of these ads is that they give the option to save the ad or to forward it to a friend.

Other different ad formats can include video, large image, and a mixture of text.

As an online marketer, I’m a huge fan of the Gmail ads for 3 reasons

  1. They get great click through rates
  2. Their CPC is very low
  3. You can target peoples inbox content

Great click through rates

After just over a month of experimenting with Gmail Ads, we have seen click through rates between 15-30%. This is much higher than any other display campaign I have ever ran.

The CTR is so high because you are able to have your ads showing up right alongside similar content that the person is expecting to see. Following the example above, I am more likely to checkout WestJet’s promotion when I am already viewing flight deals.

Similarly, if I’m looking for details on a shoe sale at my favorite store, or the weekly wine promotions at my local liquor store, I am going to be interested in similar promotions from competitors.

Lower CPC than other display methods

Gmail ads are still relatively new. This means that there isn’t as much competition. Less competition means lower CPC. On average my CPC in Gmail campaigns are only 1/3 of what they would be in other display channels.


You can target the content in people’s inboxes

This may seem invasive to some… maybe even to a lot of people… but for marketers this is amazing. This means if we want to target people who are receiving mail about pet food, dog toys or bird cages, we can target those keywords, or we can even target your competitor’s names or their domain.


Strategies for Gmail Ads

Because Gmail Ads are a relatively new frontier, there are a lot of opportunities for new targeting strategies for your online business. Here are a couple that I have found to be effective so far.

1. Targeting your competitors

Not sure how you are going to compete with your competitors who have large mailing lists? Easy! With Gmail Ads you can set your target keyword to be your competitor’s brand name or even their domain name.

This means that your ads will show up to people who are using Gmail and are subscribers to their newsletter, or are receiving transactional emails. If you are using this method, think about segmenting your ad so that you are highlighting the competitive advantage your product/service has against that competitor.

I have used this strategy with a start-up company who landed their first $1,396.84 sale after spending only $48.34.


2. Targeting similar points programs

If you are affiliated with a well-known points program, there will be evidence of this in their inbox. Create an ad that shows how people can earn more points by using your product.

I have used this strategy with a company who is using “Air Miles Reward Miles” with their carpet cleaning business, who was having a difficult time finding new customers who cared. By showing related Gmail Ads we had a CTR of over 30% because we were only targeting people who were already collecting miles with other companies.


3. Retargeting

We work so hard to get visitors to our site, so it is important that we make sure they come back if they still haven’t taken any action.

Retargeting isn’t new for online advertising, but with Gmail Ads the strategy can be approached a little bit differently.

Since Gmail isn’t widely used for business email, most B2B companies won’t have the same targeting opportunities as the B2B advertisers. But with retargeting, this doesn’t matter. You can still retarget B2B users based on their browsing history, despite what types of email is in their personal email.


I hope these strategies will help you create or improve your campaigns. Let me know if you liked this post or if you have any other interesting strategies in the comments.