Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSPs) still have a bit of bad reputation with some PPC professionals, mostly based on some bad memories of their first iteration. A couple of years ago, GSPs could only be run in a separate interface which was as difficult to find as it was unintuitive. 

Nowadays, GSPs are fully integrated into AdWords and a vital component in Google’s display advertising arsenal. In this article, I will cover the basics of GSPs and address how you can include this simple and effective tool as a part of your branding activity. 


What are GSPs, and how do I use them?

GSPs appear in the Social and Promotions tabs in personal Gmail accounts. While reach is of course more limited than in a display campaign, there are at the time of writing up to 450 million impressions available per week in the USA and up to 100 million impressions available in the UK.

Setting up your GSPs...

GSPs are set up in much the same way as any display campaign, using the same structure of campaigns, ad groups, targeting types and ads. To make a display campaign into a GSP campaign, you need to target Gmail as a placement, and you need to use the specific GSP ad type, which can be found in the Ad Gallery.

... and best practice with your targeting

You can target your GSP ads using many of the targeting types which you’re familiar with from ordinary display or YouTube ads, including keywords, topics, interests, Customer Match, similar audiences and demographics. The placement for this ad type needs to always be Gmail, and other types of targeting will be layered over your Gmail placement like so:

If you want to target users receiving emails from specific domains, the domains should be added as keywords (strange, but true!). This is a fantastic tool for anyone looking to target their competitor’s customers. This is one of the most popular uses for GSPs.

The other most obvious targeting type for GSPs is customer match. Targeting a list of email addresses of your current user base is a fantastic way to re-engage when you’re in a sale period or highlighting a new product or collection. 

Where do GSPs appear, and what do they look like?

Your ad works a lot like an email in a Gmail account. First you see a teaser, which looks a lot like the sender and subject teaser of an ordinary email. You have 85 characters to play with in the description, but we find it’s best to keep it to about 25 so that it isn’t cropped when it appears in a user’s inbox.

And if you click the teaser, it opens up into a large ad which fills your window in much the same way that an email would:

The large part of the ad can be a range of different sizes and formats, and you can even upload your own custom HTML ad if you want even more control. This gives your clients a lot of creative freedom-  great news for those who take their brand presence seriously. 

What to do once they have gone live.

Once you launch your GSP campaign, there are a couple of things to remember. Firstly, check out the range of different metrics which are available for Gmail campaigns. There are more ways to interact with a GSP than with a normal banner ad. A ‘click’ on a GSP ad refers to the click required to open the teaser into the large version of your ad – this is also the click which you’re bidding on in these campaigns, so be careful when you’re comparing metrics against your other campaigns. You’ll need to open up the ‘Clicks to Website’ column if you want to find the number of users who clicked through to your site. 

Other Gmail Metrics give you even more power to measure engagement with your branding efforts. Forwards are particularly valuable- word of mouth is one of the most trusted ways that new users can hear about your brand for the first time, and when a viewer forwards your GSP to a contact, we’re able to add a measurable dimension to this activity. 

I hope that this has given you a great jumping off point for starting your own GSP campaigns. If you’re interested in GSP campaigns, or paid search activity for your brand then please feel free to give us a call on 0844 415 5531 – we’d love to hear from you.