To engage with new audiences, flash sale site HushHush.com added Gmail ads to its marketing mix. Part of the Google Display Network, these ads look like regular emails but appear in the Promotions tab of the user's inbox. Robust targeting capabilities make it easy to maximise relevance by segmenting ads according to user interests. The one-month campaign included several variations in imagery and text that clicked through to a full-page ad within the user's Gmail window.

Goals

  • Drive new customer registrations
  • Extend reach beyond existing PPC advertising activity

Approach

  • Created one-month campaign using Gmail ads on the Google Display Network
  • Targeted users by perceived interest area
  • Optimised by refreshing messages and imagery

Results

  • Positive return on ad spend
  • Conversion rates compared favourably to average GDN placements
Published
February 2014
Topics

HushHush.com is a flash sale website offering customers up to 75% off top brands in homeware, garden, fashion, beauty, kids and gifts. HushHush works with leading retailers to offer customers a wide choice of products with great discounts. Founded in September 2012, the company places an emphasis on new customer acquisition in its marketing activity.

Tapping a new audience

"We're always open to experimenting with new products to add to the marketing mix, which enables us to engage with and acquire new customers best suited to our product offering," says Nadejda Tatarciuc Birca, Head of Paid Search for the brand. "We look to serve our ads to most relevant audience base, but before being advertisers we're consumers ourselves, so we try to avoid interrupting the user's browsing experience. Instead, we prefer enriching their experience with products they might be interested in."

In terms of return on ad spend, our Gmail ads proved profitable as soon as the first set of historic data became available, which we then used to optimise our targeting.

Gmail ads seemed a perfect fit for this approach. These ads look like regular emails but appear in the Promotions tab of the Gmail inbox. In the same way that Gmail users can forward emails to a friend, Gmail ads can be shared via email. Because this format is part of the Google Display Network (GDN), robust targeting capabilities made it possible for HushHush to maximise relevance. "We segmented our product ads by product categories and set the targeting according to users' interests," Nadejda explains.

Implementation was straightforward. "This ad format replicated the usual banner ad sizes so the idea was to keep the layout consistent with our branding imagery. It worked as reinforcement for our image ads running on the Google Display Network," Nadejda says. The one-month campaign included several variations of ads with different imagery and offer text, all of which clicked through to a full-page ad about the site that opened within the user's Gmail window.

Take a look at this

"We're pleased with the initial results," says Nadejda. "In terms of return on ad spend, it proved profitable as soon as the first set of historic data became available, which we then used to optimise our targeting. And I was surprised to see that Gmail ads can exhibit encouraging conversion rates slightly faster than the average GDN placements."

She reports that the activity "proved an effective exercise showing that there are additional sources for locating a new audience base". What's her advice to other advertisers interested in taking advantage of the format? "We've found that to maintain an acceptable CPA the imagery should be refreshed along with the messaging to help avoid unnecessary overexposure. Keep the content relevant and compelling enough to extend the user's path to conversion."