Home  › Email › Email Marketing
gmail-display-story

Google Tests Displays Ads in Gmail: Will CTRs Suffer?

  |  March 11, 2011   |  Comments

Marketers react to image-based promotions on the right-hand side of opened e-mail messages.

gmailGoogle has been testing a display unit in opened Gmail messages since Jan. 21. ClickZ has observed a handful of these ads atop text-based Adsense promotions in the right-hand column of the inbox view. The display ad renders in the message every time the Gmail user opens it until the e-mail is deleted.

Brands seen in the image-based promotional spot include daily deals firms LivingSocial, KGB Deals, and Zulily, as well as CPG brand Nature's Bounty and electronics company Wacom. (See images left and below.)

"We're always trying out new ad formats and placements in Gmail," Victoria Katsarou, Google spokesperson, told ClickZ. "And we recently started experimenting with image ads on messages with heavy image content."

Rob Shilkin, another rep for the Mountain View, CA-based company, briefly detailed how the Gmail display ads are served. "They run like any ad running across the Google Display Network," he said. "These ads are contextually matched, based on the words in the e-mail, or in recent e-mails, like any other ad in Gmail."

Google's test begs a question for e-mail marketers: If the display ads become a mainstay in messages, will they negatively affect click-through rates?

"I think initially users will be a little distracted by it because they are not used to seeing the images in the text [ad] space," said Kara Trivunovic, senior director of strategic services for StrongMail. "But in a long-term perspective, I really don't think it's going to [affect] a message's performance. I still believe results go back to the content of the e-mail itself."

Chad White, research director at marketing services firm Responsys, suggested that Gmail's user numbers weren't big enough to get e-mail marketers truly worried about visually competing with display units. "While image ads are more intrusive than the text ads that were already present," he said, "Gmail users are currently a relatively small percentage on most marketers' e-mail lists, especially among B2B companies. And on the plus side, this change opens up better opportunities for remarketing campaigns within Gmail, allowing brands to reinforce their e-mail messages with display ads."

gmail-display-story

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Email newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.

WEBINARS

Jobs

    • Internet Marketing Campaign Manager
      Internet Marketing Campaign Manager (Straight North, LLC) - Downers GroveWe are looking for a talented Internet Marketing Campaign Manager...
    • Internet Marketing Specialist
      Internet Marketing Specialist (InteractRV) - DallasInternet Marketing Specialist InteractRV - Anywhere Telecommute, USA SEM | SEO | Content Creator...
    • Tier 1 Support Specialist
      Tier 1 Support Specialist (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreThis position requires a highly motivated and multifaceted individual to contribute to and be...