Most people are familiar with Gmail. In fact, the email platform had more than 1 billion monthly active users globally as of the beginning of 2017, and it’s used by individuals and businesses alike.
Seeing an opportunity for advertising, Gmail offers advertisers Gmail ads, which show at the top of people’s inboxes above the “Social” and “Promotions” tabs. In this post, we’ll take a look at Gmail ads, and delve into a new best practices guide for your Gmail ads campaigns.
What Are Gmail Ads?
The great thing about Gmail ads is that, when clicked, they open up just like an email, and can contain images, videos and forms, and feel more personal than regular ads. They work in mobile and desktop environments, and mobile users can take advantage of click-to-call and app marketplace.
Advertisers are only charged for the initial click on the unopened, collapsed ad, and not for further interactions with it. Gmail ads can be targeted like other ads with options for keywords, audiences, demographics, topics and “Customer Match.”
You can easily create Gmail ads with templates, which allow advertisers to take advantage of features and bidding without using custom HTML. When you use templates, AdWords recommends creating ad groups or campaigns specifically for Gmail ads for more specific setup and evaluation.
Gmail Ads Best Practices
In January, AdWords published a new guide of best practices to help advertisers get the most out of their Gmail ad campaigns.
The guide covers four main areas for effectively reaching people in their inboxes:
1. Show Your Gmail Ads to the Right People
Using both Google and unique-to-Gmail targeting, you can reach your audiences. Here’s an example of features to use for an example company, dubbed Acme Running Shoes:
Domains, keywords and in-market audiences work uniquely in Gmail ads, operating on what people have in their inboxes. For example, you can reach people on certain mailing lists, who have keywords in messages or are likely to convert.
Use Customer Match to connect with users who have already engaged with your brand by signing up for a newsletter or loyalty program. You can upload your own email lists to AdWords and segment them into positions in the purchase journey. You can also use “Similar Audiences” to reach people similar to valuable customers–you may even double your reach!
2. Entice People to Click on Your Collapsed Ad
After you’ve figured out your audience and targeting strategy, it’s time to think about the creative aspects of your ads when they’re collapsed and when they’re expanded.
Since only the first 40 or 45 characters will be visible in the collapsed ad, be sure your most important information is at the front of the ad. Highlight anything that’s time-sensitive, such as promotions or events. Since the ads show by your Promotions and Social tabs, you’ll reach people who are already may be looking for deals.
For inspiration, look back at previously run campaigns with well-performing subject lines and high click-through rates. Start with them, and tweak as needed to repeat the success.
3. Design an Expanded Ad That Converts
We’ve already talked about the templates (which are mobile-optimized) for creating Gmail ads with easier optimization, and they might even perform better than the custom HTML ads in terms of conversions.
Try out some different versions to see which ones work best for getting started quickly, showcasing videos or promoting multiple products.
Because the expanded ads sort of have the feel of a landing page, use the space to expand your key offer and guide users to a conversion. Include a call to action, relevant images and short videos, as well as concise copy throughout.
4. Optimize Your Gmail Ads for Success
Take some time to look at Gmail-specific metrics, and review the reports regularly. Enable the “Gmail clicks to websites” metric to find out if expanded ads are bringing people to your website.
When you divide that “Gmail clicks to websites” metric by “clicks” you get your external Gmail click-through rate. If you have a lot of clicks on the ad, but few to the website, your Gmail ads likely need some attention.
Check out your display impression share. If it’s low but your performance is good, consider raising your bids to get all you can out of those impressions. Use the reach estimates widget to understand your impressions based on targeting.
Gmail ads are a great way to diversify your advertising efforts and reach yet another audience through Google. When you implement the best practices, you’ll be able to make the most of the collapsed and expanded versions. Go into your AdWords account and get started!