Tawleen, aka Max, is a certified Search Engine Marketing Manager and has a passion for online consumer behaviour. He is a basketball fanatic and a football and squash addict. Tawleen has a holistic, 360 degree worldview attained largely through watching Netflix and YouTube documentaries.

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Introducing: Gmail Sponsored Promotions—A Great New Email Marketing Product

Target Users, Not Cookies with Gmail’s Sponsored Promotions

Email marketing is a direct line to your audience and Google has just sweetened the pot. While Gmail has been part of the Google Display Network for many years, “Gmail Sponsored Promotions” are a brand new offering now in Beta. I’m going to take you through this new and exciting ad product and show you how you can benefit from it.


Same Channel, New Approach

Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP) are text and/or image based ads that will be displayed in your Gmail “Promotions” tab. What makes them different from the generic text ads is that they have the appearance of a regular email. Even after being clicked, they expand like a regular email would. Cool, right?

Let’s get down to the features and targeting criteria for Google Sponsored Promotions.

Features and Benefits

Placement – GSPs are displayed in three locations in the Gmail promotions tab:

  • Teaser Ad: The ‘teaser ad’ shows up on the right side of the screen and contains both image and text. Once this is clicked, the email ad opens up.
  • Subject Line Ad: This ad displays the same text as the teaser ad, but in the actual email subject line. Once clicked, the email ad will open.
  • Email Ad: This format really differentiates GSP from traditional Gmail ads as it  looks and feels like an actual email. When opened, it displays as a full page ad.

Drive Calls or App Installs – GSPs are mobile optimized, which makes it easy to reach consumers on the go. You can include your phone number with ‘on-click’ functionality or a link to your mobile app download location. This is an excellent direct response mechanism.

Drive Video Views – You can embed a YouTube video right into the full page GSP and drive views without people even having to leave their inbox.

Drive Website Visits – You can include multiple links or CTAs that will lead the user directly to your website (or wherever you specify).

Lead Generation – This is definitely one of the best features. You can embed a lead/inquiry form into the ad itself, which removes that extra step from your conversion process.

Target Users, Not Cookies!

When you sign up for Gmail, you provide Google with basic age and gender information. This is how you become a ‘user’ on the GSP network. Google also collects certain data from your email that is used for segmentation. This is what truly separates GSP from display; the ability to target actual users!

Picture this:

You are a new mortgage broker that has recently entered the market. You believe your ideal audience contains people between 25-30, who are recently married, live in Calgary, and have recently inquired about mortgages from banks or other mortgage brokers.

Having this pre-defined targeting criteria is the best way to leverage GSP, due to its layer-able targeting options:

Location – Who do you want to reach and where are they located? Do you want to target a particular country? Province? City? How about a particular postal/zip code? You can get this done with GSP.

Gender – You can also target by gender. If you’re not sure which sex will perform better, run a test and let the numbers guide you.

Age – Layering age with gender is definitely the way to go as it can provide a more holistic and specific target. If you know your audience well, like the example above, you are already ahead of the game.

Domain – Imagine “” is the largest mortgage broker in your region and the big 5 banks own 70% of the mortgage business. You can leverage GSP to target users who have visited any of these domains, which can help you attract your competition’s clients if you post a great offer.

Interests – Interest targeting adds another layer of specificity to your approach. From the example above, you can add ‘wedding planning’ to the mix to target mortgage seekers who recently tied the knot.

Device – Last but not least, you can target users by device, which is very helpful if you have a ‘mobile-only’ offer or app.

Though multiple layering can limit the scale, GSP targeting allows you to reach extremely well defined audiences with your promotions. Whether you are creating brand awareness or simply trying to increase sales, this is a new great way to reach your target market.

Better Beta

In order to set-up a Google Sponsored Promotion campaign, you need to contact your Google Representative as it is still in Beta. GSP is more complex than Search or Display as there are many more nuances and no official dashboard; but don’t worry, we can help you with this if you don’t have a dedicated rep.

How else would you leverage this great new ad product? Are you ready to start targeting your competition’s audience? Join the conversation below!