When you launch a Gmail Ads campaign, you should be aware that it likely will not deliver the same direct ROI or conversion rates as standard Search campaigns. You’re showing ads to an audience that is not actively looking for your products or services (at the time they see your ads), so the likelihood of an instantaneous conversion is much lower. Gmail Ads are all about expanding your audience (growing the top of the funnel) and driving interactions with your brand. These ads should be evaluated differently than Search campaigns.

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Gmail Ads are a great way to deliver more sales to your inbox. Image via Pixabay.

Create Your Metrics

You should start by looking at Gmail Ads Metrics: Forwards, Saves, & Clicks to Site. These metrics are the best way to identify which targeting methods are most successfully driving brand or website interactions.

Forwards: How many people forwarded your Gmail ad on to a friend?

Saves: How many people saved your Gmail ad to their inbox?

Clicks to Site: The traditional “Clicks” column is a little misleading when it comes to Gmail Ads. “Clicks” refers to a click to expand your Gmail ad. Clicks to Site are what you actually want to evaluate to see how many people clicked through your Gmail ad to visit your website.

From there, you should create custom metrics to evaluate which targeting methods are producing the best engagement rates:

Forward Rate (Forwards/Clicks): This metric tells you how likely an ad viewer is to forward the ad to a friend. You should also evaluate Save Rate and Click to Site Rate.

You should also look at metrics that demonstrate where you are getting the biggest bang for your buck:

Cost/Forward, Cost/Save and Cost/Click to Site will tell you which targeting is most efficiently producing interactions.

Evaluate Your Data

In the examples below, we see the value of adding these metrics.

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This example demonstrates one of our favorite Gmail Ads targeting methods: using Display Keywords to show ads in the inboxes of Gmail users who are already receiving messages from a client’s competitors and resellers. Looking at just the sheer volume of Saves, Nordstrom and Ulta are clear winners. However, the superior Save Rate for Bloomingdales demonstrates the strongest level of engagement. We would increase bids there.

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You can also layer additional targeting for different demographic factors, such as age range. If you compare the 25-34 year bracket to the 55-64 year bracket, you see that we spent slightly more on the 55-64 age range, but we received nearly 4x more engagements for that ad spend. With the higher forward rate, and the more efficient Cost/Forward, we would reduce our budget for the 25-34 year age group to reallocate it to the more engaged 55-64 demo.

You should never ignore your primary KPIs — which are typically revenue and ROI, or conversions and CPA. But by working these additional metrics into your Gmail campaign analyses, you can measure the added benefits that come from a growth-focused, top of funnel effort like Gmail Ads.