Just like the rest of Google, Gmail will soon be rolling out a new look-and-feel that will soon become the default for all Gmail users.
Before they roll out those changes, they have given us a sneak peak.
Lets have a look at 3 ways this new theme will affect your Gmail Center Top targeted ads…
Change #1: Single Line Gmail ads now appear at the bottom
In the current Gmail theme, single line gmail ads appear at the TOP – almost unavoidable to the eye:
The new Preview (Dense) Gmail theme now shows Single Line Gmail ads at the BOTTOM – almost invisible to the eye (especially with the pale yellow colour scheme):
Change #2: Single Line Gmail ads now scroll.
Previously, the Center Top ad would disappear once you scrolled below the fold.
Now, the new Center Bottom ad scrolls with you – meaning it is now persistent ie. always in view.
In addition, sidebar ads also disappear as you scroll down – being ‘eaten up’ by the relatively new ‘People’ Pane at the right of every opened email.
3. Single Line Gmail ads can now be seen twice, SIMULTANEOUSLY
Previously, because Center Top targeted Gmail ads would scroll away, an ad that was seen at the top would disappear once a user scrolled their email below the fold.
Now, because Center ads now scroll, they can be seen AT THE SAME TIME as the Center bottom ad once a user has scrolled to the end of the email!
This means that an adwords copywriter must now factor in that their Gmail Center targeted ad must make sense as BOTH a Single Line Gmail ad AND a Multi-Line Gmail ad.
The decision to move the Center ad from the top of the inbox to the bottom was a huge decision and I’m sure (that by itself) will result in a drop in CTR.
However, I also believe that this alone would result in a slightly higher Conversion Rate because those that do click on the ad won’t be clicking on it by accident (how many times have you done that?).
Further, I’m sure that the decision to have ad persistence through scrolling and two instances of the ad being shown simultaneously below the fold is Google’s way of compensating for loss of visibility at the top of the inbox.
As a takeaway, I recommend two actions for all Gmail Center::Top targeted ads:
1) Keep a close eye on CTR and Conversion Rate. (Unfortunately Google won’t show us the difference in CTR and Conversion Rate for users on the old gmail vs new – so data should be gathered from before Preview was available and compared with when Preview becomes default for all users), and
2) Ensure that ad copy now makes sense as both Single Line AND Multi Line Gmail ads.
I suspect that for the trained Adwords Sniper, the net result of these changes will be a flat (or lower) CTR and a slight increase in Conversion Rate – as a result of ‘accidental clicks’ now being removed from the equation.