Gmail Sponsored Promotions

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “Gmail Sponsored Promotions.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: What are your thoughts regarding the concept of Gmail Sponsored Promotions? Why?

  • Gmail-targeted ads have come a long way. I love being able to target email users, even if the volume isn’t great. – Nate Knox (@nateknox)
  • Done correctly, they have great potential, but I guess you could say that about any feature. – Matt Umbro
  • Slightly creepy, but if used correctly a brilliant way to make engaging ads and get in the faces of highly relevant people. – Inderpaul Rai (@inderpaul_rai)
  • The marketer in me loves the concept, although it might be a bit creepy. The B2B marketer in me knows that it’s geard to B2C. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • It’s a great product. Has it’s own learning curve and I think differs completely from the rest of AdWords. – Roxana Hassel (@RoxanaHassel)
  • I like aspects of GSP – more person-based thought around targeting, rather than semantics of paid search. – Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
  • Big fan of GSP. Great source for conquesting / expanding reach. Suprisingly strong direct response ROI at low CPCs($0.05-$0.10). – Matt Wilkinson (@WilkinsonSEM)
  • The biggest problem is that users don’t like ads in their inbox – even if they are highly targeted. – Matt Umbro
    • I personally see GSPs in the promotions tab of gmail, which I suppose is when I’d be more willing to see ads. – Mark Irvine
  • I find the format to be really unique, but being someone who uses email, I have a hard time thinking they would add value. – Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
  • Have had very mixed results with gmail.com via Manual and Auto placements; makes me skeptical but curious. – Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
  • Looks great, but needs to be done well. I’m not hopping in until I have the time to code in some custom lead gen forms/pages. – Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
  • We have run a few betas at this point. It is a great new avenue for PPCers, good ROI. Just don’t get creepy with them. – Maria Corcoran (@mariacorcoran)
  • Also, incredibly easy to set up in AdWords interface. Programs up and running in a few minutes. – Matt Wilkinson
  • Like all formats, GSP can be seen as creepy, but I think there’s more potential for brand backlash since it’s in someone’s inbox. – Michelle Morgan
    • Yeah that’s the kicker – people are used to ads following them around, but not in their inbox. – Matt Umbro
  • I was a bit skeptical at first but really like them now. We’ve seen +20% CTR w/ some. – Coy Robison (@IamCoy)
  • Seems like “knowing the audience” is even more important for this since you’re in their email space. – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
  • Another benefit of gmail sponsored promotions is the low CPC’s! – Kristi Kellogg (@KristiKellogg)

Q2: How do you measure success with Gmail Sponsored Promotions?

  • Ultimately conversions and revenue, but I pay attention to the Gmail forwards, saves, and ad clicks. – Matt Umbro
  • Mostly C/R, but also the actual CTR (not the CTR given in the interface which is really ad open rate, but clicks to website). – Inderpaul Rai
  • It’s still PPC, so nothing really changes. However, it’s nuanced for email-specific activities, like forwards. So far, the volume is very low, even when conquesting, so I consider everything in GSP as an Added Value situation. – Nate Knox
    • It seems to be much more like the GDN than search. with the addition of being in someone’s “personal space”. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • Also, at this point I’m not as concerned with the return – I consider GSP more experimental than anything. – Matt Umbro
  • Use conventional marketing goals, but be aware of attribution. Expect to play similarly to display or email rather than search. – Mark Irvine
  • Lack of view-through conversion & 3rd party ad serving = direct response measurement. We also assign values to FWDs/Saves. – Matt Wilkinson
  • Of course orders/revenue but also Forwards, Saves, Click to Site. We track secondary conversions on our site as well. – Coy Robison
  • Revenue too but more interested collecting data at this stage to optimise to, ‘best practices’ yet to be formed for this format. – Inderpaul Rai
  • Traffic, forwards, conversions attribution. Also good for remarketing lists. – Roxana Hassel
    • Yes! You hit it on the head with remarketing – great way to build a list of targeted users. – Matt Umbro
  • End goal is still the same – Conversions. However the threshold and CPA is closer to display than traditional PPC. Do the analysis on incremental conv & what lift you see with GSP, if the return is worth the cost/effort do it! – Maria Corcoran
  • I”ve used the same KPIs as for regular display ads + add attribution insights to calculate true ROI as well. – Catherine Kellogg (@CatKellogg)

Q3: How do you setup your targeting for Gmail Sponsored Promotions?

  • Still geared for conversions, but it could lend itself well to branding efforts with less concrete goals. – Michelle Morgan
  • I start with 3 campaigns: topics, keywords & competitors. Then after enough data breakout campaigns by demographics age, gender. – Inderpaul Rai
    • I do those same 3 categories. I haven’t hit a period to target more specifically yet though. It’s coming soon. – Nate Knox
      • Issue I have is budgets, clients only want to test small amount but ad open rates so huge hard to get meaningful data! – Inderpaul Rai
  • Three core categories we include/test: 1. own domain, 2. competitive domains, 3. non-brand keywords (products/services.) – Matt Wilkinson
  • I have done both competitor domain targeting and also targeting our own unengaged Gmail email recipients with offers. – Catherine Kellogg
  • Does anyone target competitor terms? – Matt Umbro
    • I target competitors pretty intensely. It’s the cheapest way I’ve found to hit them. – Nate Knox
    • Yup! As not being penalised on CPCs. You’re targeting people not searching for competitors directly, unlike in search. – Inderpaul Rai
    • I would think this is a commong practices for this, much like bidding on competitor brand terms in Search. – Kurt Henninger (@KurtHenninger)
  • Question for everyone… a lot of people are saying it’s shady & invasive. Are those just assumptions? Show me the data. – Nate Knox
  • Using competitor terms for GSP goes back to trying to get into the “Consideration” or “Awareness” set. Get known. – Christi Olson

Q4: What features should Gmail Sponsored Promotions always utilize? Why?

  • The different targeting types (KWs, topics etc) & the different product types, single product ads, multi product, custom ads. As well as the demographics, all about trying to serve these ads to relevant people, and not flood everyone with them! And finally, usually only run these campaigns if there’s a strong promotion behind the product/service being advertised. – Inderpaul Rai
  • A stong headline – I try to include the promo in here if I can. – Matt Umbro
  • For first time users, note the default reporting views hide secondary metrics such as Gmail Saves/Forwards. Helpful metrics! – Matt Wilkinson
  • GSP best practices: include offers, discounts and strong calls to actions. – Kristi Kellogg
  • Various Ad formats. – Coy Robison

Q5: What features should Gmail Sponsored Promotions never utilize? Why?

  • Bland images – it is a Display campaign after all. – Matt Umbro
  • Boring images, no compelling offer – doesn’t necessarily HAVE to be a promotion, but offer the user something new or insightful. – Inderpaul Rai
  • I don’t recommend Google auto targets. Make sure to add keyword targeting, else your ads will be all over Gmail w/ poor ROI. – Matt Wilkinson
  • Never Utilize? Generic non-customized messaging that doesn’t have call to actions. – Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson)
  • Should not annoy the user. You don’t want “negative brand awareness”. – Roxana Hassel
  • Also PLEASE avoid this subject line “Hey, I see you are interested in women’s lingerie, check out this site…” – Matt Wilkinson

Q6: We’ve touched on it a bit, but how can GSP help your other paid search efforts? Why?

  • As you can target a lot of new users, you’re capturing attention at the top of the funnel, this could help feed into your PPC. – Inderpaul Rai
  • I’ve seen it reach new visitors, especially conquesting, that regular PPC wouldn’t reach. Then we capture them for remarketing or they come back to search branded terms… it helps create awareness and reinforce things from our experience. – Nate Knox
  • GSP also a good research tool. Can get some directional insights on keywords and competitors (e.g. volume of mentions/sends.) – Matt Wilkinson
  • People may do some more research around your brand on Google etc. Also, by traffic to site you’re populating remarketing lists. – Inderpaul Rai
  • Provide another touch-point in customer journey, build remarketing lists, etc. – Coy Robison
  • GSP ads can help guide text ad creation – see which headlines and messaging produce highest CTR/Con. Rate in GSP. – Matt Umbro
  • Unfortunately I found that GSP ads bring little incremental sales & fatigue quickly. Only used sporadically for targeted promos. – Catherine Kellogg

Q7: In what ways can you see Google continuing to use Gmail as an ad space? Why?

  • I think we’ll see more ad formats/templates for GSPs as well as functionality for remarketing lists. – Inderpaul Rai
  • Possibly even a new interface (like how video campaigns in Adwords are in their own area), such is the popularity of GSPs. – Inderpaul Rai
  • We shall see. They are already reducing inventory. It will be an interesting playing field if they do. – Maria Corcoran
  • More intuitive self-setup for advanced ad formats. Easy for static image, but need HTML programming for more advanced features. – Matt Wilkinson
  • I wish there were more format and placement options. Feels like Google is not maximizing its opportunity here esp on desktop. – Catherine Kellogg
  • I see it as a continual testing ground for outreach and ad formats… make a wholistic approach to marketing instead of siloed. – Christi Olson
  • Eliminate open-ad-space aspect. Only allow top advertisers by quality & targeting so bids can be high, but ads will be great. Google still gets their money, people are happy ads are (mostly) always relevant & great so quality is greater. Advertisers willing to spend more since traffic is high-quality. Ads no longer distraction but welcomed bc of great targeting. – Kirk Williams
  • I could see dynamic remarketing coming to Gmail – ie: users saw in an email the products they viewed. – Matthew Umbro
  • Target Users by Geolocation ie in a specific competitive store and send them a GSP mail with coupon/offer. – Christi Olson

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Participants

Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Catherine Kellogg (@CatKellogg)
• Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson)
• Coy Robison (@IamCoy)
• Inderpaul Rai (@inderpaul_rai)
• Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
• Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Kristi Kellogg (@KristiKellogg)
• Kurt Henninger (@KurtHenninger)
• Maria Corcoran (@mariacorcoran)
• Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
• Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
• Matt Wilkinson (@WilkinsonSEM)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
• Nate Knox (@nateknox)
• Roxana Hassel (@RoxanaHassel)
 

Gmail Sponsored (not really) Streamcaps

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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