If you’ve converted to the new Gmail inbox, you may have noticed in-line ads that resemble regular emails at the top of your Promotions tab. These new native-style ads function as paid-for-placement email messages, and essentially circumvent standard email marketing practices. The ads do have a shaded background and ad symbol to differentiate them from the other promotional emails and newsletters users have to actually opt-in to (theoretically, at least).
This ad placement at the top of the Promotions tab is new, but it’s an iteration of the Gmail Sponsored Promotion ad type. Those are the ads that appear at the top and in the right sidebar that look like regular emails when clicked and are part of an on-going beta that pre-dates the new Gmail inbox. They are sometimes tagged with a dollar sign symbol to distinguish them from the AdSense text ads that are still running in Gmail.
When you click on any of the Sponsored Promotion ads, it opens like a typical email message and includes an option to forward it or dismiss it. If you opt to dismiss the ad, you won’t see it again. However, the only way to opt-out of seeing these new ads in the Promotions tab is to disable the tab itself.
The pricing model for these ads is likely to be very attractive to advertisers.
They are priced on a CPC model. An advertiser is charged just one click per user when the user clicks on the “teaser” message and opens the ad. Users can click on the ad multiple times, take an action like completing a form, watch an embedded video or click-through to a landing page, forward it, etc., and advertisers are only charged for that initial click.
It’s too soon to know how popular the new tabbed inbox will be with users or what kind of performance these new in-line ads are having. Of course, it’s also not clear what impact the tabs and ads will have on email marketing campaigns overall.
The Gmail Sponsored Promotion ads are currently in limited beta. Advertisers can request access through their Google reps.