Introduction of Gmail Ads sees a 181% increase in registration conversion rate

World First enables individuals and businesses to transfer money internationally at rates far better than traditional banks can offer. World First has been on a massive growth path for the last ten years and Search has always played a strong part in this expansion. Having worked together since 2011, our strong client relationship is a key factor in the success we have seen, as well as our integrated global approach.

World First screenshot


As one of our longest standing clients working across our Search, Programmatic and Analytics departments, we wanted to branch out into a new Google product: Gmail Ads (formerly known as Gmail Sponsored Promotions).

Gmail Ads are served within the Promotions tab of the Gmail inbox, allowing advertisers to target users based on their recent email content.

Our main objectives prior to launch were as follows:

  • To increase brand awareness and engagement.
  • To tie in with World First’s other marketing activity involving Mr First. We wanted to demonstrate a cross-channel approach combining Search, Programmatic, YouTube and OOH messaging.
  • To connect to a wider audience that may not be aware of their available services.


As one of the first clients internally to use this beta, we were very excited to see how this would perform, especially given the niche business area. For our account team, the first port of call was vision and strategy creation. We came up with a tiered approach of topic, interest and keyword-based targeting, stretching from wider interests to targeting specific domains.

We targeted specific domains of interest to World First to ensure our ads were served to a relevant audience. These included sites aligned to World First’s audiences and related content around currency exchange.

We knew that using the UK as the initial test ground would help to inform strategy across our global campaigns. Therefore, we wanted a scalable approach where we could take learnings from the UK and apply them globally in order to maximise volume, efficiency and growth through 2015 and beyond.


When first exploring this beta, we naturally aligned this campaign type much more closely to traditional Display activity, rather than Search. Once we started collecting data, we were pleasantly surprised by how well Gmail Ads performed in terms of direct conversions as well as demonstrating strong brand engagement. It seems that they can bridge the gap between Search and Display, helping to improve direct conversions and brand awareness at the same time.

We experienced a 20% uplift in conversion rate from our Gmail Ads campaign alone. This clearly demonstrates the quality of user targeted through our Gmail Ads campaign and the increased propensity to convert when exposed to one of our Gmail Ads:

Mr First Gmail ad

Between June and August 2015, when compared to All Session data, visitors from the Gmail Ads campaign:

  • spent 41% more time on site.
  • were 24% more likely to be new users to site.
  • viewed 29% more pages per session.
  • had a 39% lower bounce rate.

And, most importantly, saw a 181% increase in registration conversion rate!

Alongside such strong results in terms of user engagement and conversion rate, we wanted to integrate Gmail Ads into our cross-department strategy. By remarketing to users that have engaged with our Gmail Ads but not converted, we have been able to see that remarketing to this audience bucket is most effective for users at the start of the consideration phase, pushing them to complete micro conversions on site.

New Steps

As we do love a “Test and Learn” approach here at Periscopix, we have a lot of things in the pipeline for our Gmail Ad campaigns:

  • Given the strong performance we have seen since launch and regular updates to the product from Google’s side, we’re keen to keep expanding our Gmail Ads campaign as we move into Q4, continuing our focus on various product offerings and even more tailored targeting.
  • Trialling various ad types and formats is next on the list for our UK campaigns to make our campaigns even more dynamic.
  • We now have localised Gmail Ads campaigns live in the USA, Singapore and France, as well as more international expansion planned!

Download Case Study

Click on the image below to download the World First - Gmail Ads case study.