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Guide to Gmail Sponsored Promotions

October 6, 2016

Gmail sponsored promotions have been around for some time now and are a brilliant way to target users based on their Gmail activity.

Gmail sponsored promotions are basically ads that appear in user’s Gmail inbox and are designed to look like an actual email.

You may have already tested the water with Gmail sponsored promotions; however, if not, this post should give you all you need to know and help you get started.

Setting Up A Gmail Sponsored Promotion

Firstly, we need to create our campaign in Google AdWords. Simply navigate to the campaigns tab and Click “+ Campaign” and drop down to create a “Display Network only” campaign.


Now, select “No marketing objective” and enter your campaign name. Just like any other campaign you are still required to include your location targeting and languages.


Here we need to select a bid strategy, personally with this being a new campaign I prefer to use “Manual CPC”. You can explore Enhanced CPC once you have conversions under your belt and then see what works best for you.

Now, enter your daily budget and delivery method. For this example, we will be using a £10 budget and the standard delivery method.


Now, moving onto your Ad Group. Enter the name and your desired max CPC bid. Once entered you can save out and move onto targeting. Remember, you can create Ad Groups for different content targeting, for example, we can create an Ad Group for PPC and another for SEO. Or you could create different Ad Groups to test using different ad formats.


We then need to add a Gmail placement under “Use a different targeting method” and add Make sure you select “Multiple placements” when adding your Gmail placement.



Select the option “Narrow your targeting further (optional)” and add in the domains or keywords that you want to target. You can use other targeting options, but for this example, we are using a domain.


Once you have completed this section save this out and skip the ad creation section as you can’t go directly to creating Gmail ads in this part.

Now the fun part, creating your Gmail ads. First, select your ad group then click “+ ad” and drop down to “Ad gallery” then select “Gmail ads”.


Now you are offered the choice of 5 templates, an image template, single promotion template, multi-product template, catalogue template and a custom HTML template. I would strongly advise you take some time and figure out which is best for you and what you think will work best in relation to your targeting and content. A good idea would be to test a few templates and see what produces the best results for you, as mentioned previously you can create separate Ad Groups to test these.



For this example, I have used the “Gmail image template”. Here all you need to do is name your ad, enter your display and final URL, upload a logo and fill in your headlines and descriptions. Lastly, you are required to upload your image for the expanded ad content. Once you have sorted this you are ready to go.


Best Practices

Frequency Capping

Just like with your remarketing campaigns. Make sure you have your viewable impressions capped, not doing this may cause users to get bored of seeing your ad over and over again. This can very quickly build up a negative view of your business or brand. Again this is something you should test and see what works best for you.

Frequency capping is found under the campaign “settings” tab.


Gmail Reporting Columns

Make sure you enable the Gmail reporting columns to help you accurately measure your campaign performance. The options provided are “Gmail saves”, this is when a user saves your ad to their inbox, “Gmail forwards”, this is when a user forwards a message on to another user, lastly “Gmail clicks to website”, this is when a user clicks through to your site from your Gmail ad.


Site Category Options

Depending on your content and targeting it is a good idea to review the site category options to see which ones apply and which ones you think you should exclude. Below is an example of what I have excluded for our example campaign.

Site category options are found under the “display network” tab and by clicking “+targeting”.




There are more than a few strategies for Gmail sponsored promotions. The strategy they are most well-known for is targeting competitor customers and email lists. If you add your competitor’s domains as keywords your ads can show to users that have these terms in their inbox. This 9/10 means that they are probably an email subscriber for that certain domain. A real life example of this is let’s say you are a travel company offering holidays. This company could target competitor domains and keywords to serve an ad to competitors receiving their emails. The ad could then contain an offer or a discount in an attempt to draw that customer to their business instead of the competitor.

If you’d like to speak to us about how we can help with your marketing strategies, why not contact us here or drop us a Tweet or Comment. We look forward to chatting with you soon!