A new spin on Google Shopping promotional offers

Over the past few years, Google has made significant changes in how they serve ads for product and shopping related searches.  With the improved user experience provided by the Shopping Ad format, we now see these ads taking a prominent position for nearly every search containing product or shopping intent.  This space has become extremely competitive and retailers are always seeking ways to gain the upper hand.

One way that Google tries to help advertisers stand out is by providing them with the ability to include promotions in their Shopping Ads.  This allows a retailer to stand out from their competition and potentially capture more sales.  However, this feature from Google sometimes comes with unexpected side effects.  It can definitely drive additional sales, but may do so with the unintended consequence of causing a large volume of additional low value clicks.  This is because the promotional offer included in the ad is compelling not only to those interested in buying the product from your brand, but also to tire-kickers browsing around for bargains with almost no intention to buy.

In order to gain this same lift in sales, while also controlling costs, test serving a promotional offer to users visiting your site from a Google Shopping ad, but only AFTER they have clicked through to your site.  Each ecommerce platform has its own way of doing this, but the best practice would be to present the offer in a banner on the landing page to this specific segment of users.  This tactic will likely result in the same sales lift found by placing the promotion on the ad itself.  It may actually result in a larger lift due to the pleasant surprise experienced by users.  Additionally, because the offer is not being displayed in the ad, you will avoid paying for extra clicks from discount tire-kickers.  Only users that have shown interest in your product, without an incentive, are being exposed to the offer, and the promotion simply helps them continue down the funnel.


Targeting Prospects with Gmail Sponsored Promotions

Google is well known in the digital marketing world for both its paid search and display advertising opportunities.  These are leveraged by companies large and small to execute branding, re-marketing, and prospecting campaigns.  However, another underutilized channel exists within the Google ecosystem hidden as a type of display advertising.

This advertising channel is known as Gmail Sponsored Promotions.  Those with a Gmail account have likely come across these ads before.  They can be found within the promotions tab and sit above your actual email and are marked as “sponsored” emails.  Outside of providing a unique way to get in front of potential customers, Gmail Sponsored Promotions campaigns also have exciting targeting capabilities for advertisers.

Similar to paid search campaigns, Gmail Sponsored promotions offer the opportunity to target ads based on keywords.  However, instead of the keywords being triggered based on search queries entered by users, Gmail campaigns target keywords contained within a user’s inbox.  Marketers can target users receiving emails from competitor domains, or emails containing keywords that indicate interests or affinities related to your company’s offering.  Layer on top of this the ability to re-market to users that have previously visited your website, upload lists of customers from your email file (a feature known as Customer Match), and target based on demographic segments and the possibilities are truly endless.

Marketers seeking a unique way to message both current and potential customers should consider testing Gmail Sponsored Promotions.  With great ad placements, granular targeting abilities, and generally low bid requirements, it is a channel worth further exploration.