Hit ‘Em Right in the Inbox: Targeting Customers with Gmail Ads

Anne Smith, The Optimizer

Ad Reach: 1 Billion

Worldwide, there are more than one billion active Gmail users. A whole billion. That’s a lot of inboxes. But don’t think of them as just inboxes. Think of them as highly targeted opportunities for posting ads for your product, service, or organization.

Traditional Google AdWords campaigns make excellent tools for broadcasting image ads on websites to capture the attention of those browsing or search ads on search engine results pages to entice people who are looking for what you have to offer.

Gmail ads, a component within AdWords, deliver ads promoting your content, message, or sweet deal directly to the Gmail inbox of people who have already shown interest in what you have to offer.

An email inbox is actually a great place to display ads. Because of the variety of message topics that constantly flow in, people’s minds are open and receptive to all kinds of ideas while perusing their daily mail. Your ads are less likely to be interrupting your recipient’s train of thought and, as a result, more likely to be opened.

Gmail ads appear at the top of the promotions or social tabs in the Gmail interface, front and center where they’re highly visible. Because they’re not mixed among messages in the actual inbox, they’re not seen as annoying spam and are less likely to get lost among the clutter. A single line of enticing text attracts attention, then a click pops the ad open to reveal the full image or video describing your offer. Another click drives the user to your targeted landing page.

Closely Targeting Customers

Besides having sheer numbers of receptive recipients at your disposal, Gmail allows you to closely target them. This increases the chance that the right people will see your ads and take action. Here are five different ways you can target customers using Gmail ads:

Domain targeting: Use this method to reach people that have emails from specific web addresses in their inbox. The domains could be from your competitors or from websites related to your industry. If you own an outdoor recreation company, for example, you might target domains from popular outdoor enthusiast publications, blogs, or organizations to find people who are likely interested in purchasing outdoor recreation equipment. You can even target your own domain, reaching people on your own email list to reinforce an offer within an active email campaign.

Keyword targeting: By targeting keywords, your ads can reach people with emails in their inbox that contain specific keywords. If your outdoor recreation company wants to increase sales of tents, you might target related terms such as hiking boots, backpacks, and camping in addition to targeting tents.

Audience targeting: The targeting power of Gmail ads allows you to reach people who have been using the Internet to research products similar to yours and appear to be in the market to make a purchase. AdWords offers a number of categories from which you can choose to best match your target audience.

Customer match: Upload an email list and Google will target your Gmail ads to those on the list. Have a special offer for those who follow your brand but have yet to make a purchase? You can exclude current customers from receiving ads.

Similar audiences: Use Customer Match targeting or existing remarketing lists to create a new group of potential customers that have similar characteristics to your existing customers. This is a great way for your fictitious outdoor recreation company to expand your reach to the outdoor enthusiasts who, for whatever reason, have yet to learn about your brand.

Getting Started

As with any AdWords campaign, start your Gmail ads campaign by setting goals. What do you want to achieve? Then decide whom you want to reach and which targeting method will likely work the best. In another post we’ll talk about building Gmail ads to make the most impact. In the meantime, if you have any questions or need some help with your campaign, we would be happy to help.

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