We have all heard of Gmail Sponsored Promotions, however, mails ads are not exclusive to Google. Yahoo released their own version of mail ads for Yahoo Mail, called Sponsored Mail Ads. While there are many similarities, they deserve their own guide just like any other platform ad format does.

In this post, you will learn about what Yahoo Sponsored Mail Ads are, how to set them up, and optimizations. With them still being fairly new, we have a lot to learn before ultimately determining how successful they will be or could be.

What are Yahoo Sponsored Mail Ads?

Similar to Gmail Sponsored Promotions, Yahoo Sponsored Mail Ads are ads that are shown within a user’s Yahoo Mail inbox that look similar to that of a regular email. Each ad signifies that it is an ad but resembles an email with subject and description visible.

Below is an example of what a Sponsored Mail Ad looks like via mobile device.

Below is an example of what a Sponsored Mail Ad looks like via desktop.

Once a user clicks on the ad, similar to Gmail, the ad expands into a larger format to resemble that of an email. From that point, if the user would like more information, they can click on the call-to-action, at which point they will be directed to the site.

Below is an example of what the expanded ad looks like.

With Sponsored Mail Ads closely resembling regular emails, users also have the option to forward, save to inbox, or delete the ads.

The Set-Up

Once you know the logistics, you are now ready to create your own Sponsored Mail Ad campaign. Prior to creating the campaign, answer the following questions.

  • What is the goal of the campaign? CPA, traffic, etc.
  • Who is my audience?
  • What creative will best speak to my audience?

From that point, you will walk through the following steps.

1. From the campaign menu, select “New Campaign”

2. Select “Open my mail ad” as the objective for the campaign. This will ensure that the ads only show in Yahoo Mail.

3. Select campaign details. This includes; campaign name, locations to target, language to target, age to target, gender to target, interests to target (when clicked, it generates a drop-down list), custom audience (pulled from account audiences that have been created), and devices to target, budget, bid strategy, and conversion settings.

While selecting each targeting option, the estimated audience size will appear to the right, as well as, a summary of each selected option.

4. Select ad group settings: This includes; ad group name, schedule of when the ads will run, default bid or bid settings depending on the bid strategy that was chosen.

5. The final step is creating ad copy. You will select two images; a main and thumbnail. From that point, you will determine the text portion of the ad including headline, description, call-to-action


With every other paid search ad format, optimizations involve testing and determining what works best on an account-by-account basis. Something that works for one account or industry may not work for another, therefore, it’s always best to run a test to determine success. After launching a Sponsored Mail Ad campaign, the following optimizations are suggested;

  • Ad Creative Testing: Once the campaign launches, it’s important to follow the same rules you would for every other platform. Create 2 or more ads, with varying headlines, images, and descriptions. Once ads have ran for a significant period of time, pause the underperforming ads and create new variations to run against the ads that were performing the best.
  • Adjust bids and/or Utilize Enhanced Cost-Per-Click bidding: At the current time, the max bid for Sponsored Mail Ads is dependant on the budget. This is to ensure that with any budget, traffic can be generated at an efficient CPC. It’s important to bid higher or lower depending on performance. This may include testing various bidding strategies or manually changing bids.
  • Adjust Demographic Targeting: As mentioned above, there are several options when it comes to audience targeting and most likely more to come. When thinking about your key audience, ensure that campaign demographics fit your key audience which will allow for a more granular segment of users to reach that are more likely to convert.


Like every new ad format, what Yahoo Sponsored Mail Ads come down to is testing and determining what is best for the specific account. They aren’t “set it and forget it” ads but rather ads that will require adjustments as traffic fluctuates and competition increases. With the right technique, I believe success is achievable.