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How To Combine the Power of Email Marketing and Online Advertising

The digital practices of online advertising and email marketing can be leveraged together for an extensive reach. Read on for some practical tips ...

Marketers spend most of their time, efforts, and money on two things: advertising and promotion/communication. 

According to one report, digital advertising spends clocked more than 350 billion USD in 2020. These avenues have shown significant ROI, with the latest projections forecasting digital advertising revenue of 460 billion USD by 2024. In the digital spectrum of promotion, email marketing continues to rule the roost, with the global number of email users bounding year on year. In 2020, that number stood at 4 billion, projected to reach 4.6 billion users in 2025.

The Power of Two

But have you ever considered harnessing the power of both together? Email marketing and online advertising can be executed with a mutually beneficial feedback loop in place. Several elements in these two kinds of campaigns often overlap, and the focus areas are similar, too.

Let’s look at how some of the common and current types of online advertising can be leveraged in combination with email marketing.

Display Advertising and Email Marketing

Display or banner ads continue to stay top of the mind for marketers even amid these unprecedented market conditions. A display ad is a distinct banner or box on a website advertising a product and the brand with simple static images, videos, or animations of different kinds. When clicked on, the CTA leads the user back to the brand’s website or a dedicated landing page to promote sales through various actions.

Display banners are intrinsically linked to your email campaigns at all points. It is important to align them in terms of their timing. For instance, if you’re sending out reminder emails for abandoned carts, it’s also important to promote the browsed products with dynamic ads on relevant sites to persuade the potential customer.

Some other points to keep in mind are:

  • Customers’ preferences with clickthroughs on digital ads can also inform the timing of an email drip campaign and vice-versa.
  • You can retarget display ads based on insights gathered by your email marketing platform on an individual customer’s sales funnel position.
  • You can conduct the A/B testing for your display ads based on your different email segments.
  • Your email marketing content can be based on the display ads recording the highest engagement.

Search Engine Marketing and Email Marketing

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is essentially all about promoting your products and services through paid ads that appear as the top search results on Google and other search engines. Done correctly, they help to combat increasingly falling results with organic promotions. CTR is a crucial metric with Search Engine Marketing, and the results are often measured in Pay-Per-Click (PPC). 

Again, the content formulation that goes into your SEM efforts can be leveraged for your email marketing and vice-versa. For example, the average clickthrough rate on an AdWords campaign for new launches can drive your email template’s design and content. While your keyword research for SEM can and should drive your email content, remember not to ‘stuff’ it. Every single email campaign has to come off as organic and engaging.

A few important points to keep in mind here: 

  • You can use your segmented email lists to segment the audience for your SEM. These custom lists on Google, Bing, Facebook, etc., can ensure your paid ads are displayed to the right audience. For example, you can use ‘exclusion’ lists for ads intended to target leads and not existing customers.
  • Your email subject lines, specifically, can be based on what has worked in your SEM campaigns. You will have to run A/B tests to identify the best results. The advantage is that paid search ads can be automated and changed with ease to test efficacy.
  • Your email marketing lists can be precisely segmented based on the geographical and seasonal results of your paid ads.
  • You can experiment with Google Sponsored Promotions, a literal merger of email marketing and search results.

Mobile Advertising and Email Marketing

Mobile advertising has been rapidly growing over the past few years. In 2019, global mobile advertising spend was pegged at 189 billion USD, expected to cross 240 billion dollars by 2022. Whether it is text-based SMS promotions or in-app displays, mobile ads have shown high effectiveness in grabbing eyeballs. New product information, reminders to customers, customized content offers, among other kinds of messages, are sent to subscribers’ mobile devices, including tablets, often targeted based on personalized location services.

In a market where consumers are more often on their mobile gadgets, browsing sites, and applications, mobile ads have to supplement email marketing initiatives. Product information, offers, brand promotion—all of these can be broadcast for a wider reach with mobile banner ads, in-app videos, or even text with links.

We have a few pointers for you here:

  • Geographical data and other customer preferences and patterns, tracked with the unique mobile ID, can inform the segmentation for your email marketing.
  • Your mobile ads can drive campaigns to grow your email list base. This could be to garner more subscribers or to drive the customer ‘down’ the sales funnel.
  • If you’re going to leverage more ads embedded in a mobile website, make sure their templates are completely optimized for mobile viewing and aligned with the site’s overall purpose, content, and design.

Content Advertising and Email Marketing

Let’s be honest: content advertising is a bit of a misnomer—while any content-based promotion would have to appear organic, content ads are, by definition, targeted through paid distribution channels. These can include PPC campaigns, paid social ads, placements that are sponsored, and any other paid promotional avenue. 

The promotional content you put out through your content ads will have to align with your email marketing campaigns broadly. But, the advantage is you don’t have to stress too much on the templates of these ads as they are going to reach your target audience in any case. You only have to make sure they are engaging and in line with your overall campaign vision.

Some points to keep in mind while leveraging the strengths of content ads and email marketing together: 

  • Content that is highly relevant and customer-driven will automatically increase engagement on email marketing campaigns, among other promotion channels.
  • You can promote a larger number of ad campaigns that invite subscriptions to your emails with organically framed content.
  • You can invite your customers to share their content preferences through email marketing forms and target them with appropriate and customized content.
  • The highly granular audience segmentation research that goes into the average content ad can also inform your email marketing segmentation.

Social Media Advertising and Email Marketing

Social media ads are all the rage these days. Their efficacy in customer reach and conversions, vis-à-vis the relatively low acquisition costs, is almost unparalleled. Though many social media networks and platforms are cropping up every day, you’d be best served to target the most established and popular platform for these ads. Some of them can be organically promoted through your owned pages, and others would have to be sponsored.

Any offer emails that you send out (limited-time offers, discount coupons, giveaways) can all be amplified and replicated with more visual and engaging ads on social media. You can also promote brand-related content such as whitepapers and ebooks. There are essentially four different kinds of social media advertising you can consider: social networking, microblogging, photo sharing, and video sharing.

A couple of things to note while you are aligning your social media ads and email marketing campaigns:

  • This is quite obvious but has to be noted—your customers’ social media use patterns can be tracked with your email marketing platforms, and you can then target your ads accordingly. The larger the overlap between the specific platform’s user profile and your target audience, the higher the chances of conversions.
  • Do promote and track social shares through your email marketing campaigns. This will improve overall customer engagement with your brand on social media platforms and improve digital advertisements’ metrics. 

Wrapping Up

So, there you have it—a few tips you can implement to effortlessly and effectively combine the power of your email marketing initiatives and online advertising campaigns. For the latter, whatever the avenue or platform, remember to align the templates with your overall brand and campaign voice to ensure the most significant and best reach. Of course, every piece of content and design element, apart from being standardized across channels, has to target that ultimate lodestar for all marketing efforts, the customer.

Want to successfully align your strategy and actions across your email marketing campaigns in your CRM? Let our experts guide you.

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Kevin George

Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing full-service email marketing companies. He is an email enthusiast at heart and loves to pen down email marketing content. You can reach him at or connect with him on LinkedIn.



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