A New Form of Digital Advertising: Gmail Sponsored Promotions

Marketing Birmingham AL
Digital advertising offers some of the best opportunities for high conversions and impressions for a low investment. In other words, it offers some of the best ROI potential out of any advertising method out there – especially when you incorporate the latest technology.
By latest technology, I’m referring to something that you have probably seen in your Gmail inbox (if you’re a Gmail user; if you’re not, why aren’t you a Gmail user?). Over the past year or two, you might have noticed ads show up in your inbox, either at the top or along the right side.
These ads weren’t there by mistake. They’re there as a part of something called Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP), which is an advertising initiative to put display ads in Gmail.
GSP has been in beta since forever, but recently, it was released with little fanfare to the entire advertising audience. In other words, anyone (well, anyone who participates in the Google Display Network) can now advertise using GSP.
Here, I’ll share with you more about GSP and how you can take advantage of it – and why you should.

Why Are Ads In My Inbox?

Some Very Bright People at Google (which is basically the entire company) decided that Gmail offered a tantalizing opportunity: billions of emails with billions of keywords that can be tapped, studied, and analyzed to figure out what people are talking about in their email conversations and, by inference, what they’re looking to buy.
The Very Bright People decided that if we know what people are talking about, we can find a way to deliver ads to them. After all, there are just under a billion Gmail users. That’s a lot of data and a lot of potential. If you could find a way to send ads to people through their Gmail accounts, you could open up another source of revenue for the company.
And that’s exactly what happened.
GSP is designed to analyze emails by keywords to identify opportunities for ad placements. The ads are then served to inboxes that match the criteria set forth by the advertiser.
For example, if you own a coffee shop, you could target ads to people who mention “coffee”, “latte”, “Starbucks”, “OMG I need my caffeine”, or whatever keyword you deem appropriate. Your ads will then show up in their inboxes.
It’s very creepy and stalkerish, but then again, so is everything else about digital advertising – and yet we do it anyway. Probably because it works.

Is Google Sponsored Promotions a Good Idea?

It’s a great idea – do you have any idea how much money Google will make off of it? – but is it a good idea for you?
Well, it depends. Those who have been in the beta program suggest that GSP offers higher conversion and click-through rates with lower cost per conversions and cost per click than other, similar digital advertising methods.
A reason why ROI is so solid is because GSP targets very specific users. This is very similar to using Google AdWords to deliver ads to people who search for products and services using Google’s search engine.
In a way, this is a hybrid of AdWords advertising and display advertising – i.e. putting visual ads on websites that people can click on. You can use targeted keywords to deliver ads to people in an environment that encourages them to click on them. After all – so the theory goes – these ads are only being shown to people who have some interest in the product or service being offered, unlike display advertising.
It’s a very interesting idea, and one that I am personally excited to try for some of my clients.

Should You Give GSP a Spin?

Put simply, GSP is attractive to anyone who wants a new way to deliver a targeted advertisement to a target audience.
This isn’t to say it’s going to be a home run for everyone. You may not get anything from GSP. But I think there’s a good chance most business owners will find some kind of success, even if only because within email remains the last bastion of a person determined to not be marketed to, and this gets around that. If email were a castle, GSP is a siege ram manned by smelly, unwashed Vikings ready to batter down the gates.
As with any form of digital advertising, GSP is something you have to try in order to find out if it works for you. But if it does, it gives you another potentially-powerful way to reach your audience, and that’s what digital advertising is all about.