Marriott Drove 18 Percent Increase In Pageviews With Native Gmail Ads

Agency partner Beeby Clark + Meyler attributed the success to an effective combination of specific targeting and rich media.

Amy McClain

In the month since Google began making native Gmail ads available for all advertisers directly in AdWords, agency Beeby Clark + Meyler appears to already have the proof of their efficacy: A recent Gmail ads campaign for client Marriott International yielded 25 percent longer time spent on the site, an 18 percent increase in page views on, and a marked increase in hotel visits.

The key, according to BCM’s Amy McClain, is the combination of effective targeting — ads are directed only at users who have showed an interest in content that marks them as a current or prospective Marriott customer — and rich media, as the larger native ad units make it possible to feature videos and imagery that highlight the hotel experience.

“I think that the best thing about Gmail ads is the ability to try to generate traction from users who are very engaged with the site,” McClain said. “We found that the users who come through Gmail ads are much more engaged.”

GeoMarketing: What made the native Gmail ads so successful for Marriott?

Amy McClain: We found that the users who come through Gmail ads are much more engaged because they viewed all of this really rich content, they viewed a video, they viewed this really rich HTML image ad, and that made them decide to click through the site rather than something like maybe a text ad where they have much less information on the brand.

In general, users are likely to bounce or not to spend as much time on the site, so that’s been the most valuable thing for us about Gmail ads — just really making sure that the people we are directing there actually use it, that the users we are getting to the site through these ads are very engaged, they really want to learn more about the brand.

How did you build the right audience to target in the Marriott campaign? And how can brands ensure that they’re targeting the right consumers?

We are definitely looking at this as a form contextual advertising, of targeting exactly the user that would be interested in our brand. For example, for Renaissance Hotels, we use data to build an audience that would be users who are have shown an interest in lifestyle sites — like cooking sites, or something similar. For another brand, we targeted users who were interested in extended stay travel or relocation.

It is all based on each individual brand’s needs, and it pays to get [specific.] We found that for each of the different campaigns that we are running, targeting exactly what that brand is about or exactly the user that wants to stay at that brand has performed much better than just targeting users who were, say, interested in travel, in general.

How did boosting ad clicks ultimately lead to more visitors to Marriott’s physical locations?

It was really all about getting those engaged users to the site, and that’s really what the Gmail ads did. It really is just that classic maxim getting the right person, at the right place, at the right time.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.