Google is rapidly growing in its market segment, with more than 900 million users worldwide. Businesses are finding that taking advantage of Google’s unique pay-per-click advertising program, AdWords, and strategically placing their ads in Gmail, are both increasing total page views along with the time users are spending on their individual Web sites.
The First Step: AdWords and the Google Display Network Best Practices
Google’s advertising program, AdWords, helps businesses get their messages to Google’s increasing user base. AdWords ads are made quickly, by listing your business and some descriptive search terms that will be highlighted during Google searches.
These ads are shown on the Google Display Network, which is a collection of Web and mobile sites and apps that include Google Finance, Blogger, Youtube, and Gmail, with a reach of more than two million publisher sites and are viewed by more than 90 percent of worldwide Internet users. The display network puts your ads in front of new customers who are searching similar keywords, allows you to choose from various text and graphic formats designed to engage and connect with users, and puts you in control over placement and audience calls to action. Following Google Display Network best practices will be hugely beneficial for your marketing campaign.
With Google holding about half of the digital advertising market, it’s important to learn how to make the most of your online advertising dollars through Gmail advertising.
Getting Started with Gmail Ads
Advertising on Gmail begins with an AdWords account that allows you to create ads from provided templates or upload custom files that you’ve designed with your audience in mind. Running an all features campaign on the Google Display Network allows you to layout ads right in the ad gallery.
There are two primary components to each ad:
Collapsed: An ad designed to catch the user’s attention when they log open their inbox. The design usually coordinates with the Gmail inbox.
Expanded: Once a user clicks on the collapsed ad, a full-page native ad pops up. This ad has similarities to a landing page.
As with other Adwords programs, you only pay when someone clicks on your collapsed ad in the Gmail inbox tabs. Once the ad is expanded, clicks on content clicks to save and clicks to forward the ad are free.
Reaching the Right Audience
Choosing the right audience is the most important factor when it comes to Gmail advertising. To ensure your ad is shown in Gmail, it’s important to choose all features when defining the publication parameters for your ad.
Google offers two ways to hone in on the demographics you want to reach:
Contextual targeting: Contextual targeting is one of the methods Google utilizes to put your ads in front of your desired audience. Using contextual targeting, you’ll choose keywords and topics for each ad group. The automated system analyzes the text, language, links and pages of each Display Network page or URL, and compares the keywords or ads of your Web page to those of a Display Network page. If there is a match – your ad is placed.
Individual demographics: You also have the option to pinpoint the audience you would like to reach with your ad by creating a custom audience. Choices range from basics, like age, gender, and location to specific keywords, interests and Web page likes that your idea customer would choose. AdWords offers a free Keyword Planner to help you research keywords, statistics and bids.
Many advertisers have found that pinpointing keywords associated with their companies has led to an increase in brand awareness, both among new audience members and inactive audience members who had previously been interested in their brands.
Others take it a step further, and also target individuals who have shown interest in their competitors. Reaching these users requires some market research to discover the keywords related to competitors’ brands.
Design and Ad Placement
Gmail features a variety of templates for the expanded ad. From a single-image ad to a collage format with a distinct call-to-action, these layouts offer the flexibility to customize each ad to meet your marketing needs. They also permit a custom HTML option, which allows you to include videos, forms, and multiple links.
It’s important when designing your ad to incorporate each of the different ad styles Google offers in their templates. As you do that, you’ll develop a better understanding of which ads are preferred by specific demographics or products, and will better improve your click-through rate for future advertising.
Creating an attractive, eye-catching design enhances your selected keywords from the moment they begin your campaign, and choosing the right spot is one of the best practices for using Gmail advertising. Most advertisers have found that placing your ad at top center is the ideal location to reach new customers.
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I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!