Come and Make It

Should Marketers Be Able To Read Your Emails?

Last month, Google announced they are changing a long standing policy with their Gmail Sponsored Promotion ads.

“Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change.”

Up until the actual change goes into effect later this year, advertisers were able to target ad placement in Gmail based on subject matter and sender of users individual emails.

For us in the political industry, we’ve used it heavily to target opposition lists or friendly group email subscribers. During the Iran Deal agreement debate in 2015, we targeted those who received emails from leading Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer about his support for the deal and turning his back on Israel. This was powerful because the people receiving his emails are often times his constituents or those closest to him. This was our perfect time to insert our message. We did this for several members of the Senate in 2015 with great success.

With our campaign of over 1 million impressions we had just under a 9% click-through rate (CTR). That’s 18 times the average display campaign CTR and 6 times the average search campaign CTR.


Gmail Sponsored Promotions were also the perfect balance between search and display. The first impression was a simple text ad at the top of your inbox. Looking just like any other email (except clearly identified as an advertisement), it contained explanatory text and a call to action. Upon clicking, it opened like any other to a full email that were were capable of putting multiple HTML elements, optional dynamic fields and other content.

For us, this change signifies a near death on niche targeting and a return to broad, widespread targeting methods. We’ll continue to use interest targeting as the ad unit is superior in some types of campaigns.

Worthy of note is Google’s Customer Matching and the ability to target your first-party email list with Gmail Sponsored Promotions. This gives us the ability to place an advertisement in the specific inbox of anyone whom we have their email address. A powerful way to reach them twice on a powerful platform (after millions of dollars of testing, we’ve seen email be the most cost effective way to drive legislator contact).