Native Gmail Ads were formerly known as Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP) and were available in a separate platform for beta testing, however on 1st September GSP were re-launched in the Adwords platform and renamed Gmail Ads.
Alongside their announcement on the Adwords blog Google said:
“As we’ve developed Gmail ads, we’ve tested various formats to see what users find most engaging. One improvement we’ve made is to remove standard text ads from Gmail and show fewer, higher-quality native ads that integrate more seamlessly with the inbox experience.”
For those who are new to Gmail Ads, the ad has two main components:
- The collapsed ad that aims to blend in with your Gmail inbox.
- Once the collapsed ad is clicked it becomes an expanded ad unit which appears as a native ad taking over the full screen of the users’ inbox. In the expanded ad you can recreate your landing page, include videos, drive newsletter sign ups, add CTA buttons or use a multi-product format to link to individual products.
Image source: Adwords blog
Gmail Ad examples:
With the move to Gmail Ads and the Adwords interface there are changes in implementation, reporting and features available. Gmail Ads now uses the same nomenclature as other Adwords activities whilst these were different in the GSP platform e.g. a device was known as a client. Campaign managers may also be more comfortable using the standard Adwords interface rather than a separate platform.
Below we have outlined additional updates to Gmail Ads:
- Create ads through the “Ad Gallery” in Adwords and launch campaigns as a display campaign targeting mail.google.com as a placement
- Use display targeting options: keywords, interests, topics, demographics and affinity audiences
- Implement ad scheduling
- Activate bid modifiers for certain locations and/or devices
- Domain targeting is now applied through keyword targeting rather than the domain targeting section
- Gmail users retain the ability to control the type of ads they are exposed to, meaning they can opt out of interest-based ads
- Gmail reporting metrics have been included in Adwords:
Image source: Adwords interface
The impact on our clients
Following the recent update to Gmail Ads we have experienced the greatest impact on hospitality clients with an average uplift in CTR of almost 30% and CPCs reducing by 31%, the volume of clicks to expand the ad also increased by almost 40% from less than 10% higher impressions. With the same creatives and targeting in play we can attribute the uplift in performance to Google’s move to make Gmail Ads a more native experience and the removal of text ads, leading to a stronger CTR.
The inclusion of native Gmail Ads directly in the Adwords interface was announced at the same time as Google launched their new logo which has overshadowed the update; nevertheless it’s an important change. The update means Gmail Ads are now accessible for all advertisers and with costs still low it’s a great time for advertisers to discover and test the platform and different formats to learn what works for them.
- Following the initial click to expand the collapsed ad all subsequent clicks (click to website, submit newsletter sign up, email save and forwards etc.) are free.
- Gmail Ads do not appear in Gmail for work accounts.