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Guide to Gmail Sponsored Promotions

What is Gmail Sponsored Promotion Ads?


Gmail sponsored promotion ads appear on Gmail. GSP Ads won't appear on business Gmail accounts, it appears only on free Gmail accounts. It appears on social & promotions tab of users Gmail. Initially, ads were showing up only under Promotions tab but recently Google started showing up ads on Social GSP Tab. Here is the thread where Googler Cassie confirmed about ads on Social Tab. GSP Ads looks like an email itself. Once you click ad, you can see expanded version of ad. You can choose from multiple ad formats which we will discuss later in this article. Gmail sponsored ads appear on the desktop, tablet and mobile devices. One ad on mobile and maximum two ads on desktop. Images, Videos, and embedded forms can be added in Expanded Gmail ads. Please see the screenshot how ads look like on Gmail and after a click on the ad.


On Gmail Ad




Expanded Ad



How are you charged for Gmail Sponsored Promotion Ads?


When the user clicks on Gmail ad, it is counted as click and you are charged a standard cost per click. Later if you are clicking on expanded ads and going to the website by interacting with ad would not be charged. In short, you will be charged for initial one click.


Targeting with Gmail sponsored promotion ads?


  • Display Keywords: You can add broad keywords in your campaign which matches with the content of Gmail and will show your ads to the relevant user.
  • Domain Names as keywords: You can also target users who are receiving emails from competitors domains. Just add keywords as domain name e.g. Don't add HTTP and www. Just domain name.
  • Customer Matching Lists: If you have customers email lists ready already, you can target and show ads to these specific users.
  • Customer Matching lists Similar Audience: You can show ads to the similar audience lists created by Google based on customer matching lists emails addresses.
  • Topics: You can show ads to the users who are interested in topics which you have selected and are related to your business product and services.
  • Demographics: You can target based on gender, age etc.
  • In-Market Audience


Note: Display keywords matched with last 100 and more inbox and archive emails. Only one location can be targeted per Gmail ads campaign. Gmail user settings language is considered to show ads. They do not consider language in which you receive email.


Targeting not allowed with Gmail Sponsored promotion ads?


  • Remarketing (except Customer email lists)
  • Placements (only is Allowed)
  • Custom Affinity Audience

Frequency Capping & Gmail Sponsored Ads


Gmail ads have default frequency cap set to 4 impressions per week per campaign. You can not custom frequency capping.


Google Sponsored promotions Ad types?


You have many options to choose from such as Gmail Image template, Gmail single promotion, Gmail multi promotion, Gmail catalog, Gmail custom HTML upload. You can click to +ad and from drop down choose ad gallery and here choose Gmail ads and you will be able to see all these options.





How to Create Gmail Sponsored Ads campaign?


Well, it's very easy to create Gmail Sponsored Promotion Ads campaign. Below are the steps:

Step1: Click +Campaign and select Display Campaign only





Step2: Select language, locations, budget, and all other campaign settings. Hit Save and Continue. Now move ahead to create adgroup.


Step3: Give Adgroup name, default bid and Select Placements: see screenshot below




Step4: Click on +Multiple Placements and type (remember you only will add in placement, do not add any other placement)





Step5: Now from "Narrow your targeting further (optional)" Choose Targeting method as per your Gmail Sponsored ads strategies. As explained above you can choose keywords, domain names, custom audience lists, custom audience lists similar, topics and demographics.




Step6: Save & Continue. Now Skip Ad Creation and Go to ads tab > Click +Ad and select Ad Gallery


Step7: Hover mouse over Gmail Ads and click on Create




Step8: Select Ad type most suitable to your business. Go through Gmail Ad Specifications. If you want to create Custom HTML Template ads, read Create Gmail Ads with Custom HTML.




Measure Google Sponsored Promotions Ads Performance


In order to see Gmail metrics in Google AdWords Interface, customize columns & Look for Gmail Metrics. Now click Gmail Metrics and add all three metrics available Gmail Saves, Gmail forwards and Gmail click to the website. A screenshot below for reference:




These metrics will help you measure campaign performance. After user will click on "teaser ad" - He can save Gmail ad to the inbox, forwards it to another user and can click on Gmail ad to visit your site. You can measure all three user action once you enable Gmail reporting column.

Gmail Saves and Gmail Forwards are important to consider when your aim is to create brand awareness and Gmail click to websites are an important metric to consider if your ultimate goal is to drive conversions. To visit your website users has to go through two clicks. First, when they click Gmail teaser ad to expand ad which is calculated as normal Cost per click in your campaign and second click would click on Gmail ad to visit a website which will be noted under Gmail clicks to a website. So don't get confuse normal CPC with Gmail click to the website. Similarly, CTR calculated considering normal clicks. So if you want to see Gmail ad specific CTR consider Gmail clicks on the website instead of clicks.


Exclusions & Gmail Sponsored Promotion Ads


Similar to your Display campaigns required to exclude "Site category options" such as error pages, parked domains etc. You are also required to use exclusions in Gmail sponsored promotions campaigns. You can exclude irrelevant targeting such as keywords, placements, topics, domain names, demographics etc.


Policy & Gmail Sponsored Promotion Ads


Like any other AdWords campaign, Gmail ads also needs to follow Google policy else your ads will be disapproved. List of common reasons of disapproval when you do not follow AdWords Gmail ads policy:

  • Misleading Content
  • Unclear Relevance
  • Trademarks
  • Editorial
  • Personalized Advertising
  • Data collection
  • Adult Content
  • Animation
  • Third Party Serving

All the above mentioned are not allowed in Gmail ads. Read more on Gmail Ads policy.


Best Practices of Gmail Sponsored Promotion Ads


  • Very important to create a different ad group for each targeting type so that you can easily measure performance which later can help take you further optimization decisions. If you add a lot of targeting method in one ad group, you will restrict ads to show and will see lesser impressions.
  • Recommend to create a separate campaign for better performing targeting type so you can also allot them separate budget.
  • Make sure to create Expanded ad simple and clean. Should not look messy. Make it in a way that ad looks like an Email and not like the banner ad. Relevant and useful content is recommended so the user clicks on your Gmail ad and visit your website.
  • Test variations of Gmail ads which will help improve CTR. As we do in normal campaigns, test variations of the call to action, images, buttons, content etc.
  • Just don't run ads on placement, always add any of the targeting type shared above to have better performance.
  • When you are under your targeted CPA, you can try testing "Let AdWords automatically find new customers" settings with conservative targeting. It will help you find new customers at your current CPA.
  • Use exclusions and prevent your ads from bringing you unwanted traffic.


This article is originally posted here.

about Neha Gupta

I live in New Delhi, India. I have been working on Paid Advertisement since 2010. I am Independent Paid Advertising Consultant & Also Providing Part Time Google AdWords Training. I am a keen learner & look forward to learning new things/strategies every day at the same time I like to help others to the best of my knowledge.

Warning: AdWords interface instructions or screenshots in this thread may be out of date as we move to the new AdWords experience.


Frank S
July 2017

It is Great Post

Thanks for sharing with us.


Neil P
August 2017

Hi there, 


Since Google Adwords has changed it's layout and design, the process you mention above is not the same. Or am I missing something? Thanks in advance.

lester p

 Neil P if you are still looking for the process for creating GSP in the new interface you can find it here - actually much improved you just create a Display campaign - choose "Sales", Leads" or "Website traffic" or, choose not to use a goal and then tick Gmail Ads. It will then let you add the relevant targeting (KW / Interest / Demographics etc).


If still using the old interface then the process is still largely as outlined by Neha above :-)

Amaury G

Would be great if Google could consider a cpc auction based on click to the website rather than click to just open the ad... I think there are a lot of unintentional clicks on Gmail Sponsored Ads which are bringing  the ROI down for this format...