Gmail Sponsored Promotions/Ads (GSP’s)

Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP’s), also known as ‘Gmail ads’ are a unique form of interactive ads that appear in Gmail inboxes and that form part of Google Adwords Ad Gallery. They have been around since 2014, initially as a beta, but have since become more prevalent in South Africa over the past year.

What do GSP’s do and how do they work?

GSP’s generally appear in the personal inboxes of Gmail users, initially as a teaser or preview just above their inbox, which when clicked expands or drops to shows the full ad with a variety of ad formats (products, promotions) and supports text and images that lead to actions or conversions on the advertisers website.

Advertisers using GSP’s are charged on a CPC (Cost-per-click) basis, meaning they only pay when users click on the teaser to reveal the entire ad text, with no additional costs.

The great thing about GSP’s is that the ads are targeted to users based on their interests which Google determines for you, making it easier for advertisers to specifically target their immediate audience from their inboxes using managed placements. Another benefit is that it can be smartly adapted to use competitor brands as part of display keywords to draw an even larger user base in the market you are trying to reach, acquiring more new clients and and in turn drive results.

Because GSP’s are in Adwords you can track their performance for reporting purposes, as well as make changes to campaigns if necessary or if you have any KPI’s and ROI targets to meet. Ideally you should have a separate (and not necessarily large) budget for GSP’s to observe initial results and then determine your strategy further from there.

Ad Formats

There are a few templates that come with GSP’s to get you started such as:

  • Gmail Image template
  • Gmail Single Promotion template
  • Gmail Multi Product template
  • Gmail catalog template
  • Gmail custom HTML upload template

You can easily customize your GSP’s by including branding with your own images, colors, logos, headers and even custom HTML using the Gmail custom HTML upload template.

Policies and Limitations

There are some policies and limitations in terms of the categories of products you are prohibited to advertise within GSP’s, as well as editorial best practices that you will need to comply with before ads can be approved.

The list of prohibited categories include:

  • Alcoholic beverages and drinks that resemble alcoholic beverages
  • Gambling, including online and offline gambling
  • Promotion of clinical trial recruitment
  • Prescription medications and information about prescription medications
  • Medical: Health conditions and issues related to intimate body parts or functions, and invasive medical procedures
  • Personal Services: divorce services, books about coping with divorce, bereavement products or services, family counseling services
  • Personal Financial Services
  • Sexual orientation and Adult content
  • Political affiliations
  • Religion and Beliefs

For further reading: click here

Failure to meet these requirements will result in a disapproval of the ad either prior to or during a review. In which case you will have to either redo and resubmit the ad with all the necessary changes suggested or if you are sure you have not violated any terms (example: the name of a product) you can then request a manual review at the bottom of the ad preview.

Creating a GSP

The following is a short tutorial on the creation process of a standard Gmail Single Promotion ad

Step 1

In your Adwords account begin by creating a new display network campaign with all necessary budgetary, location and ad scheduling settings.

It is important to note here, however, that you need to change your targeting in order to create GSP’s. Create an Ad Group in the campaign as shown below:

Click on the drop-down and select placements. Search for “” select (>>) and save.

You can skip ad creation for now. Once the campaign is setup and appropriately named, head into the campaign and click on the red “+AD” button and select “Ad gallery”

Step 2

You will be presented with the above 5 options, select Gmail ads and click the ‘Create’ button.

Step 3

Gmail ads come with five templates that you can use to begin creating your ad. Since we will be creating a Gmail Single promotion Ad, click on the second one to begin.

Step 4

Once you have done that you will see on your left, text-boxes to fill in such as: the Ad name, display URL’s, subject and descriptions, as well as places to upload your own images (logo, product image). On your right is a live preview of the teaser ad for both mobile and desktop, as well as the expanded ad view so you can see exactly how your ad will look like in gmail while you work on content on the left.

You will notice a few character limits per text box, which you will have to work within. Also, you have the option of customising the color scheme of some of your header text and call-to-actions, which is great for keeping your branding consistent. Once you are satisfied with how the ad looks, you may click the ‘save’ button in your top left corner. If there is an error with the ad you will be notified which arrears to fix before it can be submitted for review, once you have rectified those you may click save and wait for it to be approved. Approval of a GSP can normally take no more than a few minutes to an hour.

Feel free to experiment with the other template options and promotions, and test with more ads to find out which gets more results. Get started with Gmail Sponsored Promotions today.

Bryan Casson Managing Director

Bryan Casson – Managing Director

One of South Africa’s leading SEO experts residing in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 1998, Bryan started his SEO journey and after years of building experience, Casson Media was founded in 2009.

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