The Case for Gmail Sponsored Promotion

Show all Close
August 11, 2014

Gmail, one of the most premium advertising locations within Google’s assets, is another way for advertisers to reach their potential audience.


It’s certainly not breaking news that Google has always scanned our emails and that therefore its contextual engine enables advertisers to target users who are in the right mindset for their product.

The Introduction of Gmail Sponsored Promotions

Initially, setting a contextual campaign while targeting the Gmail domain as a placement (what is now known as ‘target and bid’) allowed advertisers to reach Gmail users through regular text ads (with the same limitations and policies as any other text ads in AdWords) while trying to match the ad to the scanned keywords.

While noticeable, these text ads were and are nevertheless in a highly ‘text-rich’ environment which means that many users don’t notice them at all.In a bid to make the ads stand out and in order to add its unique targeting options, Google released the Gmail Sponsored Promotion platform, also known as GSP.

Before the release, Google changed the UI of Gmail by adding several new tabs. One of them is the ‘Promotions’ tab which is supposed to include all promotional emails as well as the new Gmail sponsored ads.

Two Components of the New GSP Platform

1. The “teaser” – a text ad with a small image next to it.
The teaser can appear next to the email/s

GSP ad in gmail
or as a marked email at the top of the ‘Promotions’ tab.

GSP teaser tab ad


2. The HTML Ad – after clicking on the ‘teaser’, users are led to an HTML Ad which looks like a regular email.

seperia GSP email

The HTML Ad can be:
a. Informative with a call to action button which leads out to the advertiser’s website in order to perform a type of conversion
b. A lead collector ad which includes information and a lead box to be submitted directly from Gmail.

Key Benefits of GSP

The most noteworthy change is the ability to add an image in a placement which is otherwise text-only. The fact that only one teaser ad can be featured next to an email and up to two (at the moment) under the ‘Promotions’ tab, means these ads are placed in a unique premium location without any comparable competition.

CTR and overall interaction with the ad have proven to be higher than in the standard Gmail text ads.

The varied targeting options Google offers in its Google Display Network (GDN) campaigns (demographic, language, location, users’ interests and keywords) helps advertisers reach their specific target markets.

The Addition of Three Unique Targeting Options Only Available in GSP

1. User’s job profile.
2. Domains: targeting based on emails the user receives (body of the email must contain a domain).
3. Recent purchases made by the user.

Device Targeting

Unlike other GDN options, Google allows advertisers to target desktops only (i.e. without tablets) through Gmail Sponsored Ads, an option not available to advertisers using other forms of GDN targeting.

Campaign Health

Another special feature that Google offers in the Gmail Sponsored Promotion is an indication about campaign health.
Google measures campaign health by:

  1. Serving status – serving/not serving and the reason.
  2. Auction summary report – will indicate the percentage of users who didn’t see the different ads/campaigns and the reason for this.
  3. Stale ad – Unlike any other GDN option, the GSP ads can’t serve forever due to the following reasons:
    a. There’s a time limit for each ad. A single user will be exposed to a single ad for only 30 days.
    b. During that 30 days period the user can block a specific ad and it will stop serving.
    This means that if the advertiser doesn’t refresh their ads and targeting methods, fewer users will be exposed to them over time.
  4. Optimizer status – enabled/disabled. There are 2 optimizers which google offers:
    a. Targeting optimizer: to expand the reach by finding new users.
    b. Conversion cost optimizer: tries to automatically maintain a maximum CPA.
  5. Daily spending target – indicates if the campaign was stopped due to budget restriction in the last 7 days.
  6. Budget consumption – indicates how long the budget will last for at the current rate of spend.

Recommendations for Initiating a GSP Campaign

  1. Try to avoid the extra click (outbound click) and implement a lead box within your HTML Ad. This should increase the conversion rate of each ad and cut its cost.
  2. Think about embedding a video to the HTML Ad to improve the visibility and engagement of the ad.
  3. Be sure to follow the strict guidelines of the layout and code for the page to avoid disapproval by Google of your ads.
  4. Make sure to preview your teasers and ads before they go live. Though it’s a simple HTML code, in some cases the actual layout doesn’t appear correctly due to the restrictions imposed by Google.
  5. Make sure you have enough budget order for each campaign/s.
  6. Don’t avoid Google’s ad-health warnings:
    a. If a competitor frequently outbids you, consider increasing your bid in order to gain more impressions and clicks.
    b. If it indicates that your ads are “stale” – replace them or at least create new ads with similar creative but different targeting.
  7. Change ads on a regular basis.
  8. Always think about new targeting options which suit your product.

My Experience with GSP

Billions of people around the world use Gmail every day. Mobiles, tablets or desktops – no matter the device, users spend a lot of time on Gmail throughout the course of their day.

That’s what makes Gmail an excellent location to find potential clients while using the various tools that Google offers. These tools increase the likelihood and efficiency of targeting the most suitable users for the advertised product/service.

Seperia has used this tool with different types of accounts with positive results.
The recent case study about our work for USAGC provides an example of great GSP results. Products which require low-involvement from the users are likely to perform better (better results in terms of a lower CPA) but even high-end products have shown immediate and direct results.

At the moment, the new platform is still in BETA which means that only a Google account manager can enable it for your account. As a trusted Google Partner, Seperia has access to GSP and many other beta tools. As such, we provide our clients with the means to implement these tools within their PPC campaigns when deemed appropriate.

Contact us to learn more about GSP and how it can be successfully integrated into your PPC campaign.