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Use Gmail Sponsored Promotions to Grow Your B2B Outreach Beyond Paid Search

For many search marketers who have worked on B2B accounts, the challenge of growing a B2B audience efficiently, while at the same time scaling reach beyond paid search, hits close to home. Thankfully, a new solution has emerged – Google’s display media product, Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP). GSP is still in Beta and now available in the AdWords UI for whitelisted advertisers.

New Solution!

What are Gmail Sponsored Promotions? GSP campaigns show expandable, interactive ads above the Promotions tab in Gmail inboxes. Advertisers pay only for the first click to expand their ad. While this point of conversion does not necessarily guarantee subsequent traffic to an advertiser’s site, it does offer a low-cost way to generate brand awareness and advertise new business products or promotions to the B2B audience. Added bonus? GSP CPCs are as low as $.40, which is uncommon for a targeted display product.

Here are some other great ways you can use GSP campaigns to optimize different parts of your marketing funnel.

Upper Funnel – Generate Brand Awareness

GSP campaigns can be great tools for generating more brand awareness. For B2B brands, competitor-focused campaigns, as well as campaigns that leverage interest/topic targeting or demographics targeting can be great tools for opening those upper marketing funnel flood gates.

Target Your Competition: Using GSP campaigns to target a list of your top competitor domains is a great first stab at leveraging this new marketing channel to generate brand awareness. Targeting your competitor domains can engage users who are already familiar with and receiving email promotions from your competitors but not necessarily familiar with your brand. The advantage of targeting competitor domains with GSP campaigns vs. search is that the CPCs are considerably lower with GSP campaigns.

Zone in with Interest/Topic Targeting: Running interest/topic-focused GSP campaigns allows you to cast a wide net, targeting users who have visited similar business websites and/or expressed interest in similar business categories – in many ways just a different angle on introducing your brand to your competition’s customers. As you can imagine, interest/topic targeting can drive a ton of volume at very low cost, but may generate less qualified leads. Thus, this strategy is a good way to drive mass brand awareness at low CPCs.

Important Note: Before launching an interest/topic based campaign, first consider budget and your team’s primary goal (generating leads vs. growing reach). If lead generation is your primary goal, consider layering interest/topic campaign over keywords with the goal of turning up traffic but also maintaining the more targeted traffic.

Reach Your Key Demographics: Running a GSP demographics campaign offers Marketers the ability to exclude demos or adjust bids based on gender and age. This control allows marketers to focus budgets on targeting their core demographics, which are more likely to convert.


Lower Funnel – Retarget the Interested

Not only can GSP campaigns work for brand awareness plays, but they are also awesome tools for lower funnel retargeting initiatives.

Retarget Warm Leads: GSP campaigns offer advertisers the ability to tailor messaging to visitors who have previously visited your site via their email list targeting. Impressions volume will be based on the size of the associated email list. This is the closest targeting method to remarketing that GSP currently offers. These types of campaigns will target users who have shown interest in your site, making them much more likely to come back and convert.


Anywhere in the Funnel

Perhaps you’re looking to use GSP campaigns as a full-funnel optimization solution? Awesome, and possible! Like most online marketing channels, the trick to efficiently leveraging this tool is keyword testing.

Test Broad and Niche Keywords: When launching these GSP campaigns, we recommend testing both a broader and more niche set of keywords. The broader keywords will have a higher likelihood of capturing a new audience, while the niche terms are more likely to drive users that are more qualified. Start with a mix of the best performing keywords in your search campaign.


Overall, Look Before You Leap

Proceed with caution when starting any new campaign. Start with low budgets and refined targeting, as some targeting levers have the potential to drive a lot of traffic very quickly, especially on mobile, and you don’t want to blow through your whole budget in a week.

Breakout High Performers: One way to do this is to breakout higher volume targeting like interest/topic into a separate campaign for better budget control and performance visibility. Once you have had some time to optimize and are happy with performance, look at growing volume and improving campaign performance with keyword/domain expansions, ad copy testing and banner testing to name a few.

The beauty of GSP is that it’s extremely easy to use now that it’s integrated into the AdWords UI. The optimization levers are very similar to search and display campaigns with the ability to pause non-performing keywords, adjust mobile bid modifiers, ad test, day part, etc.

All things considered, robust targeting levers and lower competition due to Beta status makes Gmail Sponsored Promotions an attractive channel for growing brand awareness and generating leads at low risk for B2B advertisers.


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