How To Target Customers Inbox with Gmail Sponsored Promotions'

August 15, 2015

In mid-January 2015, Google released the Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP) or Gmail ads to all U.S advertisers. GSP is a new type of ad format that shows up in Gmail, encouraging users to respond to a specific call to action. This channel was predicted to be very effective, however Google chose not to announce its release.

Flash-forward to today and GSP has captured the interest of the digital marketing community, and has begun rolling out GSP to the Middle East. Marketers are starting to see direct response results from their GSP campaigns and this tool is looking to become an important part of an advanced targeting campaign. This blog looks at the best practices for using GSP to ensure you have a successful and creative campaign.

Make compelling creatives

Creative will make or break your GSP campaign. GSP ads are being served to consumers who have not confirmed and interest in your product/business. So far, paid search professionals have spent little time on building a strategy around their GSP creative that offers opportunity to those more innovative marketers.

Don't use your logo in the Teaser Ad

The golden rule of the teaser ad is to avoid using your logo. To reiterate, the consumers being served your ad have likely never interacted with your brand before, so your logo will mean nothing. You will likely drive a higher CTR if you use a small image or graphic that represents what you are all about.

Native Advertising

The GSP comes with an expanded ad unit that deserves as much thought as the creative in the teaser ad. The most successful use of the expanded ad unit for the GSP is to implement use of native advertising - the ad matches the rest of the content on the page and looks natural. For the GSP, don't think in the sense of having a single image and a click out. Use the ad unit to push your users through a content funnel - give them a reason to continue interacting with your brand.

Domain Targeting

There are several ways to use domain targeting but the main takeaway is that marketers can target the company domains that the user receives emails from. This is particular great in tackling competitors - you can target a competitor by domain. For example, if you are Macys, you can start targeting people that get emails from Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus. You can also target domains belonging to your partners such as, a headlamp company targeting a camping shop.

Different Types of Audience Targeting

There are several different options you can apply to your GSP campaign:

Purchase History - this targeting takes the email receipts in the consumers inbox and targets based on their purchase history. This is a great tool to practice personalizing your ads as best as possible.

Job Title - This is the least effective targeting on the GSP because Gmail accounts are typically personal it is hard to target a specific industry at scale. This only works with very niche markets for which a specific product is applicable.

AND Attributes - When selecting your user attributes, you will have the option to add AND attributes and they can be very influential. This is a way for you to target your audience, but also layer in another trend associated with your brand. For example, you are a wine club targeting wine lovers. You can layer in another trend in wine club members such as targeting people who do their grocery shopping online to add another layer to your campaign.

Exclusions - You can also exclude targets in the GSP but it is limited to geo and domain targeting at the moment. This can be helpful for very geo-targeted campaigns.

Have you used the GSP yet? Any success stories to share? Tell us over on our LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Written by
Alexander Rauser
Alexander Rauser


Alexander Rauser is the author of Boardroom Guide to Digital Accountability and Digital Strategy: A Guide to Digital Business Transformation, and creator of the DSX Program, a digital strategy and transformation program for Enterprises.

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