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PMG Digital Made for Humans

Gmail Sponsored Promotions: A Quick Crash Course

4 MINUTE READ | November 6, 2014

Gmail Sponsored Promotions: A Quick Crash Course

With the (rapidly) approaching holiday season, many brands are looking for ways to diversify their messaging portfolio. Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP for short) are a highly interactive addition to any brand’s messaging strategy. In this post, I’ll help you understand the gist of what GSP ads look like and what they can do.

Note to binge-shoppers: Unfortunately, the promo referenced in the below images is over. Sorry to rain on your parade!
Teaser creative for a Cole Haan GSP Ad

GSP ads start with a “teaser” creative in the sidebar of a Gmail window. This creative features a small image and three main copy elements:

– Sender Name (Your Brand — 15 characters)

– Teaser Title (Headline — 25 characters)

– Teaser Body (Description copy — 100 characters)

If a user clicks on the teaser creative, they’re taken to an “expanded ad,” GSP’s HTML Ad.

This is where GSP gets really cool. Since it’s coded in HTML, the expanded ad can do all sorts of things — link to different pages, contain an email signup, embed images, and so on.

Once users are in the expanded HTML ad, they can interact directly with the ad, save the it to their inbox as an email, forward it to another email, or dismiss it entirely. This lends itself to long-term engagement rather than standard click vs. no click.

Think of GSP Campaigns like a paid search ad group: a shell with targeting and budget/bid information. Within this shell, you can keep desired targeting settings but shift run dates and creatives to recycle for new brand campaigns.

Budgets are set at an overall account-level Insertion Order. You can have multiple IOs within your account, and can assign multiple campaigns to an IO.

  • Daily Spending Target (Beware): Google calls this a “guideline” and they mean it! We’ve seen campaigns spend well past this number if the targeting isn’t refined.

  • Max Cost per Click: This is the cost per “teaser click,” where a user clicks on the teaser creative to expand to the larger HTML ad.

  • Targeting optimization: a lookalike targeting option that extends the reach of your campaigns.

  • Ads:

    • Ads contain the images, copy and HTML code for the teaser creative as well as the HTML Ad.

    • Campaigns require at least one per ad group.

    • Can assign multiple ads and rotate evenly or weighted — similar to AdWords’ “optimize for clicks” setting.

  • Demographic targeting options:

    • Age

      • Uses pre-set standard age ranges (e.g., 18-24)

    • Gender

      • Male, Female, All

    • Language

      • You can only select one!

    • Clients (Devices)

      • Desktop

      • Android

      • iOS

    • Locations

      • Manually enter via a text box.

Welcome to the “guts” of GSP targeting! Gmail data gives advertisers several levers to pull for extremely granular targeting. When targeting via User Attributes, you can manipulate targets in three different ways:

  • “Or” (default) targeting to expand your audience — people interested in surfing or skate sports

  • “And” (optional) targeting to narrow your audience — Analysts receiving emails from your B2B competitor

  • “Exclusions” (think paid search negative keywords) to eliminate undesirable segments of your audience — remove industry news followers like competitors/bloggers from your targeting

  • Interests

    • Based on segments and sub-segments generated by Google. For example, under “Arts & Entertainment,” you can find sub-segments like “Comics & Animation,” “Humor” and the curious-sounding “Offbeat.”

  • Keywords

    • Uses keywords within the user’s Gmail account.

  • Domains

    • Target users receiving emails from a certain domain — for example, users receiving a competitor’s promotional emails.

  • Purchases

    • Similar to interests, you can select from a list of predetermined purchase segments.

  • Jobs

    • Select from a range of broad job industry categories.

If you’re like me, you started imagining all of the creative options available to you with Gmail Sponsored Promotions. Or maybe that’s just me? Regardless, GSP offers a unique approach to segmentation and engagement that can bring out the mad scientist in all of us. Happy targeting!

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Featured image from Flickr user Michelle Hofstrand


Posted by Christian Buckler

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