Life Style Sports connect on Black Friday with Gmail Ads

October 2016

Life Style Sports use Gmail Ads and Customer Match to re-engage existing customers and to identify new prospects during the crucial Black Friday retail period.

Founded in 1979, Life Style Sports has since grown to become Ireland’s largest sporting goods retailer, with outlets spread across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Despite being nearly 40 years old, the brand’s three pillars of social connection, inspiration, and fearlessness have kept Life Style Sports ahead of the curve in everything from spotting the latest fashion trends to launching and marketing their online store.

Working with their agency, NMPi, Life Style Sports utilise a range of approaches to drive customers to their website, and make full use of Google’s suite of marketing tools to give them a true picture of user activity across multiple channels. “Using these tools, we can monitor and allocate budget to the most effective areas whilst deduping channels,” says Craig Brown, Account Director at NMPi London. “It truly gives us insightful and complete data.”

Analysis of this data identified email as a particularly effective way to reach Life Style Sports’ customers, so NMPi began using Gmail Ads almost as soon as the product launched in 2014. More recently, the launch of Customer Match for Gmail Ads has led to renewed use of the format, starting with a campaign push during the 2015 ‘Black Friday’ weekend. Customer Match allows advertisers to target ads based on their own customer data, which they share with Google as a list of email addresses. Once this data is uploaded, ads can be shown to both existing customers for the purposes of re-engagement, but also to a ‘look-alike’ audience of potential new customers who share similarities with the existing group.

“During the Black Friday period we targeted lapsed customers using Customer Match to reach consumers who had purchased from Life Style Sports during the previous years’ Christmas period,” explains Craig Brown, expanding on the specifics of the Black Friday campaign’s targeting method. “Furthermore, we also used Customer Match to target look-alikes to expand our targeting reach.”

The Results

The ability to speak directly to an audience who were already engaged with the brand, and to a new group of highly qualified potential customers, helped the Black Friday Gmail Ads campaign achieve excellent results. Cost-of-sale was 75% below Life Style Sports’ target figure, with 40% of purchases coming from new customers identified by Customer Match’s look-alike targeting. For Niamh McGarry, Life Style Sports’ Performance Marketing Manager, Gmail Ads open up a rich new avenue of customer contact, in an environment that is ‘more personal’ than traditional search. In fact, she sees Gmail Ads becoming an important additional channel for the brand. ”Due to the success of the Black Friday campaign we have expanded Gmail Ads to all major campaigns at Life Style Sports,” she says, “and we’re also using it when we launch new products to drive awareness of the new lines.”


  • Driving sales by making the most out of search traffic generated by the Black Friday phenomenon
  • Reconnecting with existing customers
  • Finding new customers


  • Ran a Gmail Sponsored Promotion campaign over the 2015 ‘Black Friday’ period
  • Targeted lapsed customers and lookalikes using Customer Match across Ireland


  • 75% lower cost of sales than client target
  • 40% of sales came from new customers, thanks to lookalike targeting technology
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