Gmail Sponsored Promotions: What You Need To Know?


March 11, 2016


Pay Per Click


Marketing Professionals

Gmail Sponsored Promotions are Google’s advertising platform which allows advertisers to show their ads in Google Gmail. They’ve been around a while, but have recently been made available for any advertiser to use.


GSP are very similar to regular Google search ads. They have an image or logo, ad text and try to entice the customer to click for more information. They are located within the Promotions tab in Gmail, comprising of a teaser ad, which then expands into a larger image once clicked. These teaser ads are located in the right rail, on top of or below the Promotional email messages.

Once clicked the teaser ad expands into a larger image ad. An obvious advantage to this, the advertiser owns 100% share of voice making it a lot easier to convince the viewer to click to their website. Also, another advantage, it uses the CPC model so you only pay when a user clicks your ad.

The ad is easily shared with a forward button above the image, as well as a save to inbox button, making it convenient for users to check it out later if they are busy.


The structure of setting up GSP is very simple – 3 of the main steps are:

1. Enter basic information – Name of your campaign, start/end date, daily budget, max CPC etc.
2. Create the ads you want to upload, upload them and request ad approval
3. Select your targeting criteria


A great feature when your selecting your criteria is that Google will give you an estimation of how large your audience is (emphasis on the estimation part). This gives you an indication of whether you should add more targeting or maybe be less restrictive. Targeting for GSP is very similar to that of the Google Display Network with a few added features.

Targeting is classified into 2 categories:

1. Demographics – Age, gender, language, locations and device
2. User Attribution – Interests & keywords, jobs, purchases and domains.

The domains user attribution is particularly interesting as you can target your own customers using your own domain, your partners’ domain and even target your competitors’ customers using their domain. Interesting to note that ads are shown based on the user’s last 300 emails in their Gmail box and can be shown up to 10 times during a 30-day window.

Exclusions can also be used to exclude any criteria that you don’t want to include and may be irrelevant.


There are a few reporting options within the GSP portal similar to that with AdWords, each breaking down the overall information available on the dashboard.

Dashboard: Gives you an overview of your campaign – clicks, users, how many users saved your ad, how many dismissed etc. during a given period of time

Criteria Report: This is the most granular report. It takes a closer look at how each target criteria have performed during a period of time. So, what percentage of users reached were a particular age or used an iOS phone.

With the Criteria report the more targeted you get the more information that will display in this report i.e. if you’re targeting both female and male users than select both rather than the all option so that the report splits them out. This report is helpful in helping to evaluate every one of your targets and user attributes to see if there are tweaks you could make to help improve performance. Make adjustments, re-launch and evaluate again.

Health Report: This report focuses on the missed opportunities of your campaign. It shows the campaigns servicing status, auction summary report, stale ad, optimiser status, daily spending target and budget consumption.

In particular, the Auction Insight report is useful as it displays in a clear pie-chart, what is happening with your ad and the audience that you have targeted. So, what percentage of the time did you miss out because budget was exhausted, or because you were outbid by a competitor or what percentage of the time had the user hit the frequency cap? All these percentages can help you to edit your campaign to make it more effect.


Firstly, the Advantages:

And the Disadvantages:

From our experience, we have seen success with GSP for our clients, reaching a high number of users, who engaged with our ad, for a reasonable price. For one of our clients we saw a 10.70% CTR which was double their CTR for non-branded search campaigns.

Although time consuming in the beginning, with testing and refining, in the end the results spoke for themselves.

– This post was written by Hayleigh O’Shea – former PPC Account Manager at Tinderpoint.