With over one billion global Gmail users as of February, according to Digital Trends, chances are good that either you or the person sitting next to you is one of those users. And though this free email service is only a decade old, Google has provided an interesting way for advertisers to reach consumers in a place where (according to The Huffington Post) they spend over six hours a day: their inboxes!
What are Gmail ads?
Gmail ads are a specific type of native advertising that uses Google's AdWords platform to target users based on the content of messages in their Gmail accounts. If you've ever used the browser version of Gmail, you may have noticed a "Promotions" tab near the top of the page. This is where they can be found most easily. These ads are formatted like short emails with 25-character headlines and 100-character mini-bodies. Consumers can click anywhere on these lines to view expanded ads that look like emails and typically contain graphics, links, and additional text.
Why Should Marketers Care?
Though getting to a Gmail ad may require some clicking from users, data reported on by Search Engine Journal reveals that this type of native advertising is actually very promising for marketers. A two-month case study found that these ads had a cost per conversion that was 51 percent cheaper than non-branded search campaigns and also led to a large volume of "saves" and "forwards" from guests who wanted to share special deals with their friends and families.
What Do Marketers Need to Know?
Though Gmail ads are certainly a cost-effective way to reach a large segment of the population for a fraction of what you might pay to advertise on Facebook, YouTube, etc., there are some important things to keep in mind about this ad type.
First of all, these ads are great at boosting conversions without a lot of capital, but it's important not to make campaigns too small, as marketers who only target a few counties or smaller cities could struggle to find the reach they need for a Gmail ad to be effective.
Another thing to remember is that while these ads can be great for promoting limited-time deals or sales, they can also be used for easy content promotion, as the email-style presentation makes it easy for interested consumers to forward sponsored content to their contact list.
Gmail ads haven't gotten much attention from marketers since they came on the scene in 2013, but this underused ad format is surprisingly effective and has the added benefit of being extremely cost-effective (and low-risk) as well. Why not try adding it to your next campaign?