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 expedica.com.

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.



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