Gmail Ads: That Brings The Ad In The Mailbox

Advertising by email, which is not a newsletter: Gmail ads have their own place in Google’s display network. But what does the advertising bring directly to the inbox of Gmail users?

Where can I find Gmail Ads?

First of all, the Gmail Sponsored Promotion (GSP) is hidden in the mailbox behind the tabs “Social Networks” and “Advertising,” but they are also presented above or to the right of the inbox.

Possible formats for the Gmail ads after the teaser/mail subject in the mailbox:

  • Video
  • Image & text
  • Integrated forms / lead forms
gmail ads

Each Gmail Sponsored Promotion can be saved explicitly in the Gmail inbox or forwarded to other mail recipients. This opens up new forms of interaction measurement by evaluating Google Ads based on their forwarding.

The potential target group extends to around 1 billion Gmail users who check their inboxes for new messages several times a day.

Create a Gmail ad

Advertisers need an Adwords account to get started. The Gmail ads are accessed by selecting the display networks as the campaign type. Only in the next step can Gmail Ads be selected as the campaign type. The rest of the campaign creation is very similar to other advertising formats. Important difference: the possible targeting extends to

  • Target groups ready to buy,
  • Target groups with common interests,
  • Shopping cart abandoners,
  • Site visitors,
  • and other retargeting audiences.

In addition, “target groups for customer comparison” can be created by uploading existing customer email addresses. Appropriate consent for data protection is, of course, required. On the basis of the data, Google then creates statistically sufficiently similar “twin data sets” that serve as the basis for a “similar-to-remarketing list.”

Important: In the past, mailbox content and subject lines were scanned for better retargeting in order to sharpen the targeting of booked keywords. But this has been prevented for a number of years! As with other advertising formats, Google determines the right target audience via visited websites, searches carried out, etc.

Creating the Gmail ad in simple steps:

  1. Go to the Google Ad Dashboard
  2. Select the campaign type “Display Network.”
  3. Select the sub-campaign “Gmail Ad.”
  4. Define campaign name, destination, target language
  5. Decision: automatic or manual campaign control?
  6. Set the start and end date
  7. AdGallery: Create advertising material, including images, videos, forms, etc.
  8. Important: Check collapsed and extended ad views and adjust the headline, teaser, or image material if necessary
  9. Optimize targeting: customer match/target groups for customer comparison or freely defined targeting based on existing target group insights, display keyword targeting
  10. Start campaign

The headline/teaser view of the collapsed ad requires a lot of care:

  • Is it written activating?
  • Does it encourage you to click on the ad – without looking like spam or advertising?
  • Are images and teaser text coherent and optimally tailored to brand imagery and wording?

A/B tests, regular monitoring of the reports, and timely countermeasures in the event of unexpectedly weak campaigns must be planned in as with other Google display network campaigns.

Important KPI for Google Gmail Ads

As with regular newsletter mailings, the opening rate is a relevant value that can be influenced by appropriate targeting.

  1. Internal click rate / internal CTR: Click on the advertising material directly in the mailbox, for example, to play the video;
  2. External click rate / external CTR: Click on further links to stored landing pages etc.
  3. Interactions: Gmail saves, Gmail forwards, Gmail clicks to website

Gmail Sponsored Promotions are particularly useful when

  • the target group should save or forward the ads in the mailbox;
  • the target group is particularly mobile;
  • targeting should be done with GDN-typical tools.

Together with a comprehensive campaign strategy for brand awareness, Gmail Ads are a good means of reaching a broad base of potential users.

Google Gmail Ads or Discovery Ads?

Anyone who deals with Gmail ads automatically comes across Discovery Ads. Discovery Ads are even more diverse because they are preferably presented in the Discovery Feed, YouTube, and Gmail inbox. Accordingly, the potential target audience is even more extensive!

Gmail adsDiscovery Ads

Best use
Brand awareness, lead generationBrand awareness
advantagesLong range at relatively low cost; Targeted targeting using Google’s on-board toolsGreater reach than Gmail ads alone; parallel placement of the ad in various channels
disadvantageUnsolicited advertising material in the mailbox can lead to the brand being rejected by the userBroader distribution of the campaign budget across different channels instead of bundling it


Gmail ads are an option to address users directly from their Gmail inbox. The ad campaign can be set up easily and directly from the ads dashboard.