Gmail Sponsored Promotions: How Do They Work?

Gmail Sponsored Promotions: How Do They Work?

Google recently introduced the new tabbed interface for Gmail. Along with this update, Google started placing ads directly in Gmail inboxes under the infamous Promotions tab. When Google introduced the new tabbed interface for Gmail, it brought along some new ad types under the Promotions tab. These new ads function as a paid-for-placement email message, and essentially bypass standard email marketing practices. Based on the audience you target, Google serves an ad in the Promotions tab in a user’s Gmail account. The advertiser receives 100% share of voice if a user clicks on the ad, driving them to a customized landing page on a path to take a specific user action. These new ads are part of Google’s ongoing Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP) beta.

Ad Options

Teaser Ad: The teaser ad shows up on the right-hand side and contains both a small image (i.e. a company logo) and text. Once this is clicked, the email ad will then open up.  Below is an example of a teaser ad.


Subject Line Ad:  The subject line ad shows the same text as the “teaser ad” and once it is clicked, the email ad opens up.  These ads look much like regular emails but they have a shaded background and an ad symbol to differentiate from emails that you are opted-in to.  Below is an example of a subject line ad.




Email Ad: The email ad is really the main feature of GSP: whenever a user clicks either the teaser ad or subject line ad, the email ad expands within the user’s inbox as if a user opened a standard email.  Landing page best practices should be used when creating this ad.  Below is an example of an email ad.


Gmail Sponsored Promotion campaigns allow advertisers to layer in several types of targeting, many of which are unique to Gmail’s 400M+ monthly user base. Advertisers can include targeting by domain, location, user interest, competitor, and much more. Our team was a bit disappointed to find out that we can’t target by mailing list, as this new feature would be an interesting way to test email subscriber engagement.

These ads are priced on a cost-per-click basis and target actual users, not cookies. An advertiser is charged just one click per user and users can click on the ad multiple times, take action on the ad, forward it, etc. and advertisers are still only charged for that initial click. This pricing model is likely to be very attractive to advertisers.

It is too soon to know how popular the new tabbed inbox will be with users or what kind of performance these new ads will have, but the new Gmail Sponsored Promotion ad formats could be a valuable addition to your digital marketing mix, particularly for complex products or promotions with many components. If you are looking for a new paid advertising channel to explore this year, this might be worth testing!

The Gmail Sponsored Promotion ads are currently in limited beta. Advertisers can request access through their agency & Google representatives.

What is your opinion, are these ads worth a try?

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