Gmail Advertising


What is Gmail Advertising?

Gmail Ads lets you show ads to people in their Gmail inbox. The targeting can be based on location, demographic, but most interestingly, the contents of their emails. Creepy, yes – but extremely powerful.

For example, if someone is emailing back and forth about heating, they will see a higher number of ads about home heating or heating units.

What Does a Gmail Ad Look Like?

If you use Gmail, there’s a good chance you’ve already seen one! There are a few different forms of Gmail ads depending on the type or template being used or whether you’re on mobile or desktop.

Here is an example of a collapsed Gmail ad on desktop:


And here it is when clicked (expanded) in your inbox:


If you click the ad, it will expand to show its full content, the same way as any other email in Gmail. The content will often be an image, text, or links. It will also show a mobile friendly version when you’re on your phone.

Important – Gmail ads are only shown to free Gmail users, not Google Business Apps users.

Setting Up a New Ad:

  1. Create or login to your Google Adwords account.
  2. Select or create your display campaign you want to create the ad for.
  3. Click the +Ad tab.
  4. Select the type of ad you want from the drop down (text, image, or select from the gallery). Select Ad Gallery > Gmail Ads for the quickest route to Gmail ads.
  5. Now you can get creative and make a click-worthy ad! Or if you’re short on time, select a predefined template. Use the HTML builder to have a create a more customizable experience.
  6. Enter the ad info. A wizard will run when you create a new ad. Keep in mind – there is one mandatory thing you have to do right off the hop to get your Gmail ad to function properly. Under Display Network Placements, you must add otherwise your ad will not show up in Gmail. You can be as specific as you need to be in terms of targeting and keywords to get the best results from your ad (more on this below).
  7. Save and preview your ad.


A few ways to boost your ads is to focus on targeting and keywords.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 4.32.54 PMFor targeting, you can adjust the settings under Display Network > Targeting.

A good place to start is under the Settings tab for your campaign. Adding a location and a language can greatly specify your target audience so your ads will be placed in more relevant (read: better) places.

If you want to get more in depth, you can refine your target audience based on gender, age, topics, interests, and even getting as specific as affinity audiences.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 4.26.39 PM

To set up keywords, you can get there through Display Network > Keywords. To get started with keywords: your company is Home HVAC Inc. Some of your keywords might include: air conditioning, furnace, heating & air. When people type “furnace” in their email, your ad might appear because it’s more relevant to them.Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 4.43.26 PM

You can also use a competitor’s brand names to target emails from your competitor. For instance, if a user receives emails about Other HVAC Company, your heating company might make also show up as an ad. If you want to get really specific, try targeting a competitor domain name.

Another note on targeting: direct in-market audience targeting and remarketing are a no-go with Gmail ads.


Once your ad has been published and some data has been collected on it, you can measure your ad’s metrics to check how it’s performing. You can view different metrics on a single dashboard by using columns. Columns let you choose which metrics to view – but there are quite a few choices.

You can specify your column views under the Gmail Metrics section. If you decide to use custom columns, here are some of the columns we recommend using and what they measure:col-views

  • Gmail forwards – someone forwards the ad
  • Gmail saves – someone saves it to view later
  • Gmail clicks to website – someone clicks on a link in the ad and goes to your site
  • Clicks – someone clicks on the ad to expand it (this is not a click to your website, unlike other types of Adwords ads)
  • Impressions – someone sees your collapsed ad

Individually, these reports can give you some great information about your ad. But when you measure elements together or compare them (for example Clicks and Impressions), you can get more a detailed analysis on how your ad is doing.

More on Gmail Marketing

Now you’re set up with the basics to start your Gmail Ad Campaign! We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to Gmail advertising, so try starting a campaign and see where it takes you.

We help customers set up and optimize Gmail ads as well as other advertising campaigns. If you want more information on this service or our PPC Management Service, feel free to reach out to me at

font preload