The wide world of AdWords can seem a little overwhelming at times, and keeping up with all the offerings in AdWords can be a daunting task. So don’t feel bad if you feel as though you aren’t fully taking advantage of all the campaign types. You have to begin somewhere, so today we will start with one of Google’s more recent additions- Gmail Sponsored Promotions.

These ads appear in people’s Gmail inboxes, under the Promotions tab. There are typically two ads, and their format mimics that of an actual email. Consumers can hit the “X” on the right of the ads to remove them, or click anywhere else on it to open an expanded ad with more information—this is when you will be charged for the click. One of the distinguishing features of this ad format is the ability for people to forward them to friends, or save them for later.

These campaigns typically have a very low average cost-per-click, in the $.50 range, and high click-through rate, so they are ideal for an advertiser looking to get more bang for their buck.

The actual set up of GSP campaigns is fairly simple, once you have gone through the steps once or twice. It is a Display campaign, so select “Display Network only” for your new campaign.

Since this isn’t a standard Display campaign, we don’t want to set up any marketing objectives. At this point, you run through the general set-up of an AdWords campaign such as budget, bidding, and geography. You can set your ad schedules and other advanced settings at this time, or come back to them later.

The ad group set up is where these campaigns deviate from a typical Display campaign. Instead of using keywords or topics, the main targeting method will be placements, as we are targeting Gmail only.  

You can either search for “” among the websites, or add it directly by clicking on Multiple placements. This will open a new dialog box, and you can type in “” here, and click “Add.” I would advise using this method over a search, as it isn’t always a top result and you won’t need to scroll around looking for it.  

Leave the “Targeting optimization” box checked, and skip the ad creation for now. You will need to go back to the Ads tab in the campaign, and create your ads through the ad gallery.

There are five templates for Gmail ads, and the set-up of the ads themselves are fairly straightforward. For this example, we will go through the single promotion template. With this format, your expanded ad can contain an image or video, and supplemental text.

The biggest limitation of these ad formats is the advertiser name, as you are restricted to 15 characters and you may have to get a little creative. You do have more room to experiment in the subject and description. However, it is important to write your description with mobile and desktop users in mind, as it will automatically be adjusted for mobile screens and may cut off a portion of your message. The collapsed ad for mobile devices contains a space for a logo, too.

The content portion is where you can really let your creative juices flow, since you can write a large paragraph if you are so inclined. You do have the option to use a video pulled from YouTube, or a graphic. As with any AdWords campaign, it is still a good idea to A/B test various ad messages to see what your audience responds to best.

Once you have created your ads, you can add in different targeting methods under the “Display Network” tab. In my experience, it is good to have a variety of targeting methods, to maximize the size of your potential audience. You can do a combination of display keywords and topics, as well as customer email lists. Additionally, you have several options for exclusions at the ad group and campaign level.

It can take a bit of adjustment to start bringing in a high volume of traffic, but it is a handy method of reaching people in a manner that your competitors may not be using yet.


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