August 6, 2019
A Guide to Custom Affinity Audiences for the Google Display Network
While Gmail ads aren’t known for driving direct revenue or conversions, they can be very useful as a top-of-funnel growth effort and can even drive better performance than your standard display efforts. If your Gmail campaign performance is leaving something to be desired, try implementing these changes to boost your Gmail ad CTRs and conversion rates.
Before you begin, you first need to determine what end-result you are looking for with a Gmail campaign. Are you using Gmail as a top-of-funnel effort to drive brand awareness? Or are you using it to drive qualified conversions? Once you determine this, you can use one of the following methods below to achieve your goals.
As found with many other marketing methods, one of the best ways to improve CTR is to use attention-grabbing headlines. What these lines are will depend on your audience, but they usually involve phrases that are more vague or eye-catching. In one case, when we tested a more ambiguous and intriguing subject line against a subject line that contained a product name or description, we saw a 65% higher CTR for the ambiguous line over a five-week period.
In another example, we maintained a 64% CTR during a four-day-long holiday promotion period. Compared to a generic, product-focused headline, the headline “Love is in the Air” drove a 77% higher CTR. While the subject line should not be clickbait, it should be interesting and ambiguous enough to pique users’ interests and get them to click on the ad.
If the primary goal of your Gmail campaign is to drive conversions instead of generating as much exposure as possible, it is important to use the ad copy in your Gmail ads to qualify your clicks. Instead of focusing on intrigue, you need to demonstrate to users what benefit they can receive from clicking on your ad. There are two ways to achieve this goal.
If your Gmail ads contain promotional content, put it in the subject lines. Consumers love seeing how much they can save on a product, and if you have relevant targeting, seeing a bargain is sometimes just the right incentive to drive people to convert. When we ran an ad with “Up to 60% Off Sale Items” in the subject line, we drove a conversion rate 131% higher during a one-week period compared to when we simply put the name of the sale in the headline.
If your Gmail ads do not contain promotional content, then another option is to highlight the benefits early in the descriptions. Google allows descriptions of up to 100 characters, but the majority of this content will not be shown. Typically, only around 40 to 45 characters will be shown when the email is displayed in a user’s inbox, so make sure you are demonstrating a reason for a user to click within that limited character space. Google provides a handy collapsed ad preview to show you how much of your description line will be shown. If you cannot see your reason to click in the preview, then users will not be able to see it in their inboxes either, giving them less of a reason to click and convert.
While these methods may seem simple, they can drive large improvements in performance. If you have seen less-than-impressive Gmail performance metrics, give these a try and see if you can better achieve your goals.