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Gmail Ads – The No Email, Email Marketing

Gmail Ads
6 minutes read

Whether or not you work in digital marketing, I’m pretty sure you are already familiar with the term email marketing, AdWords, and Gmail ads.

But just to make sure, let’s give email marketing a quick and brief definition.

Email marketing is:

  • A form of direct marketing used in the digital environment.
  • The operation of addressing to a person/group of people with a commercial purpose.

Email marketing usually consists of email campaigns and the strategies around them. But the most important thing you have to keep in mind when talking about this specific type of marketing is that it doesn’t exclusively refer to selling. It is also meant to aim for brand awareness and building a bond, between the brand and the customer.

Email Marketing – Back to the Future

Even though you might be tempted to think different, email marketing is here to stay! In a study conveyed by The Statistics Portal, it is showed that more than 85% of the adults living in the US, receive or send emails every day. If that doesn’t impress you, we can talk numbers too.

An Email Statistics Report study shows that more than 281 billion emails are being sent/received daily, by people all over the world. Moreover, 99% of people check their emails at least once, every day, says the DMA Insight.

The bottom line is, when coming up with your marketing campaign strategy, you should definitely consider email as part of your mix of marketing.


I know, that sounds like an odd statement, but due to Gmail Ads, it is now possible. Now that we’ve established that email marketing is an easy and effective way to reach a wide audience, we suggest you turn to a technique that is a little bit out of the traditional methods, Gmail Ads.

What is a Gmail Ad?

Gmail advertising consists of targeting Gmail users with promotional messages/ads, directly in their inbox. Since the odds are in their favor (see statistics above), and Gmail currently has more than 900 million users, the convenient circumstances can’t be denied.

Up until last year, Google used to showcase their ads under a “Missed Opportunities” division and they were formerly called Gmail Sponsored Promotions. Ever since Google decided to step up its game directly in the AdWords interface.

What Does a Gmail Ad Look Like?

Gmail sponsored ads can be a little tricky. Why? Because at first, they might look like an undercover regular email. They act just like a trial for a movie, presenting the information as a trigger, right in the user’s Gmail inbox.

However, Google email ads can be found only under the tab called “Promotions” and they are labeled with the tag “Ad” right in front of the sponsored promotion itself. When clicked on, the ad will expand to its fullest.

When talking about length, Google ads work with a 25 character headline to which they allow a 100 character body. As mentioned before, this is the part of the ad that people will see in their inbox, so make sure to take advantage of all of those characters. And since that number is limited, throw your persuasive copy into play.

Here are a few Gmail ads examples:

Gmail Ad Inbox

What Happens with Gmail Ads Once Clicked On?

Since I mentioned before that Gmail ads work like a teaser in the user’s inbox, this brings us to the “what happens once clicked on” topic.

Every time the ad gets clicked on, the full version of it will expand without sending the user to another third party page, at least not yet. This expanded ad version can take a diversity of forms. Here’s one, below.

As seen in the image below, Google email ads can take different forms, thus, meaning you can personalize the ad according to your brand.

Here, it is up to you whether you want an image-oriented ad or you want to go for an oldie but goldie one image classic ad.

Moreover, Gmail ads allow you to add videos as well, so the possibilities are endless.


As you can see in the table below there are some significant differences that are worth mentioning when comparing Responsive Display Ads with Gmail Ads. The first one refers to the assets you can add to your sponsored ad. Gmail ads allow you to add both video and photo files, while responsive ads only permit images.

For Business Name and Short Headline, the specifications are the same, 25 characters each. Moving forward, Gmail ads do not contain long headlines, while responsive ads allow you to write a 90 character limit long headline.

The Description and the final URL coincide, having 90 characters, respectively, no limit.

When it comes to customizations and personalization, Gmail sponsored promotions are more permissive. They not only allow you to display a variety of products in your ads (multiple photos), but you can further craft your call to action, custom your teaser and change colors, while responsive ads only allow you to add CTA text.  

Responsive Ads Gmail Ads
Images/Videos Images Images/Videos
Business Names 25 characters 25 characters
Short Headline 25 characters 25 characters
Long Headline 90 characters
Description  90 characters  90 characters
Final URL No limit No limit
Catalog Images Showcase a selection of your products in ads
Other Options CTA text Custom teaser, CTA, Color options


Gmail ads are a complex breed. Some Gmail ads features may or may not be compatible with Adwords, so there are certain things you should keep in mind.  

  • Objectives

Whether it’s sales, brand awareness, or leads, Gmail sponsored ad campaigns allow you to set your goals.

  • Incompatibilities

Gmail ads don’t always correspond with the targeting methods you were used to be using before. Take into account that targeting according to placement, topic, and a few more are not available.

  • URLs

As mentioned before, final URLs are in sync with Gmail ads, together with tracking templates.

Find out more about specific disapproved content, by checking this Gmail ad policy article about their requirements.



The first thing you need to do when creating a Gmail Campaign is to sign in, or up (depending on whether you already have an account or not) into your AdWords account. Select Campaigns, followed immediately by New Campaign.

Right after, you can choose to select the objective of your campaign ( see section 1 from above), but this section is not mandatory. Next, choose Display – as being the type of campaign, followed by Gmail campaign, and voilà!


After that has been done, the steps of creating Gmail ads are similar. Once logged into your AdWords account, go under Display Campaigns, followed by Ads & extensions. Now, you can either choose Upload Gmail ads or Upload display ads and then select your previously created Gmail Campaign (see point A).


As we already know, Customer Match is a very useful tool for driving conversions, that uses data that was already shared with you by your customers, and directly targets your users, together with other similar ones.

Luckily, Gmail ads and Gmail campaigns are compatible with this feature.

Step by Step Customer Match for Gmail Ads Targeting

    1. Upload your data file with the e-mail addresses of your customers.
    1. Create or update your campaign in order for your Customer Match to correspond with your audience/target (all of whom are Google users).
  1. Your Customer Match will see your ads once signed into their Google accounts, on Google Search, YouTube, and Gmail, of course.


Besides being so friendly with their target audiences, Gmail ads can be and are more appealing to people. They allow users to perform a variety of assignments such as: play a video, click to download/call/surf on a landing page or website, complete forms, and so on.

Moreover, similar to Yahoo mail ads, Gmail sponsored ads offer the chance of saving the ad in their inbox (with a simple click on the start button), for further beholding.

Besides, the ad itself can be forwarded to anybody, just like a regular email.  

Having said all this, any type of Display campaign is all about customization and continuous optimization. Always remember to make your Gmail ads as personal and interactive as possible.

Design your sponsored Gmail ads according to your brand’s personality.

Moreover, you should know that AdWords automatically optimizes and scales all Gmail ads, to make sure they are responsive on any device. So, there you go, that is off of your mind!

Hoping that you found these Gmail ads and Gmail campaign marketing insights helpful, I’m looking forward to hearing any tips and tricks regarding this topic, from you.

Happy Gmail advertising, everybody!  

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