Everyone is looking for a new way to reach customers and AdWords continues to deliver on ways to do it. Gmail sponsored updates have been around for a while but we want to make sure you are using it if it fits your product.

First off, what are Gmail Sponsored Promotions? Have you ever seen these ads in your inbox?


When you click on the ad, it will open up to an expanded form:


These ads shown in your inbox are another potential way for you to reach customers. Google uses the content found within a person’s inbox and shows ads based on what it finds. The clicks can be extremely cheap, even as low as $0.06! Those clicks are only to see the expanded version of your ad, as seen above, but many people have found success with these ads and so have we. Here is an example of one of our clients:


A 32.37% click through rate?! That’s amazing! Granted that is only to see the expanded ad, but that means that a third of the time these ads are showing up, someone is being exposed to that brand. This might just be another touch point along the way to conversion but it could also be the deciding factor in someone picking your product over that of your competitor.

In the above screenshot we see that we got 31 conversions on 23,715 clicks. Performance like that will kill your account average conversion rate. However, a $48.98 cost per conversion is great especially when this client averages around $165 to $180. Does this mean that you can expect to see a 70% decrease in your cost per conversion? Maybe, maybe not but it should be something that you should test out.

So how do we set this up? My suggestion is to start by creating a new campaign. This will make it easier to manage the budget and different ad group targeting. We suggest breaking out your ad groups based on your different targeting methods whether it be from keywords, remarketing lists, affinity groups or topic targeting. You have available to you all the same targeting you have with regular display campaigns. Feel free to leverage this the best way that makes sense for your business. We’ll cover some of the different ways you have of targeting.

Below we have Display Keywords. Google will search the Gmail account for the keywords you’ve selected. Keep in your mind the keywords your potential clients would have in the emails they receive/send. Those keywords may not always be the ones you would think.


This is where you can choose to target by Interest or Remarketiing. If you have a specific audience that you have created in Google Analytics or AdWords, then feel free to include them here. We can also include Affinity Audiences or In-Market Audiences. Be sure to pay attention to “Similar to” audiences. This can be great for a prospecting type campaign or building brand awareness with look-alike audiences to people that have visited your website. In addition, we have Customer Email Lists. This is perfect if you already have an email list and want to keep in contact with your customers.


We even have the freedom to create our own Custom Affinity audience! Name your custom audience whatever you would like to help you remember your targeting. Down below, enter a URL or build out your own combination of interests. Customize it however you like.


Lastly, we can choose a “different targeting method.” Your options here are Topics, Placements, and Demographics.



If you don’t know your customer’s persona or if it doesn’t matter, then Topics might be right option for you. We can choose from a variety of sub-categories based on the available topics. Explore what’s available and select one you think is best.


Demographic targeting is available to us. This one is pretty self-explanatory.


For using Gmail sponsored promotions, this is a very important part. You’ll want to make sure that you have mail.google.com listed as a placement. We want our ads to show up in Gmail and here is where you define that.


Now that you have your targeting all selected, it’s ready to create your ad. I typically create my ads after I have completed making my ad group. Within your newly created ad group, select the option to make a new. Choose Ad gallery.


Next, select Gmail ads.


Now we have a variety of templates to choose from. Select the one that best works for you. Typically, with most of our clients, we go with the Single Promotion Template. This option has space for both an image and a place to add value through text. There is also a call to action button. Take a look at the templates and see what is best for your business.


And that’s it! You’ve successfully made your Gmail Sponsored Promotions. Create different ad groups based on the targeting that you would like to go after. Test things and see if you can find the sweet spot for you. Try different ad variations and see what customers respond better to. There are a lot of options available. We also have the option to create our own HTML form that can be customized beyond the provided template. This is a potentially great way to leverage this space by making a form fill within the ad itself. That way, customers never need to leave their email to request a download, demo or sale.

So give Gmail Sponsored Promotions a try and see how successful it is for you. Fortunately, costs can be pretty inexpensive. There is a lot that is available so feel free to try different things. Feel free to ask questions or share your success stories. We’d love to hear from you!

Eric Serdar