Gmail Ads are interactive ads that take part in the Google Display Network. They appear on the top section of the tabs in a reduced format, as it was an actual email, and they’re expandable ads. Today, we show you everything you need to know about Gmail Ads.


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SOURCE: Patel, Neil. (2019). The Beginner’s Guide to Gmail Ads. Accessed in:: March, 20, 2019, at:


What are Gmail Ads?

What distinguishes them from the real e-mails is the little yellow boxes with the inscription “Ad”. This way, the user can tell which are the real emails and what is just an ad that popped up in their email inbox.

And the advantage of this kind of ads is the fact that the user can “treat” them as real email. This means that he can forward the ad to a contact and also save ads to check later with more attention, for example.

Although this is an interesting format, since email is widely used (especially Gmail, that, according to a study, in October 2018 detained 1.5 billion users), it is also a little bit intrusive format.

Google’s way to fight their users’ complaints about the ad inclusion in their inboxes “masked” as real emails, was to provide an option to not receive Gmail Ads.

Content type and interaction

The content of this type of ads is variable. It can go from text to image, video and even forms.

Google Ads optimizes their ads to the several devices the user can use to access them, like desktop, smartphone or Gmail app.

This optimization allows an ad personalization to mobile that, other than that, wouldn’t be possible.

In case it is a mobile device the user is using, we can (and should!) adapt the ad. Add a number to which the user can call or a button to download an app are some options.

How can we measure it?

There are several ways to measure the performance of Gmail Ads, but we highlight the top four:

  • Save rate – How many people save our ad;
  • Forward rate – How many people forward our ad to other contacts;
  • Open rate – How many people opened our ad;
  • Engagement rate – How many people engaged with our ad after they opened it.

And what about Gmail Ads targeting?

There are several ways to target Gmail ads, but we highlight four of them. And they are: demographic, life events and affinity with our product targeting, and remarketing.

Demographic targeting

We can choose who we want to show our Gmail ads through demographic targeting. What this means is: we can choose the audience by gender, age, income, marital status, household and also geographic location. However, in Portugal, we will hardly have all of these targeting segments available to choose from. These are the main ways to demographic targeting, but there are many more, which allows us to tap our target as much as we want.

Be present in life events

One of the biggest digital marketing trends is to be present in the most important life events of our target. Those life events could be the graduation from college, the engagement and marriage, the birth of children and their first steps, the first day of school/college, taking the driving and many others. If it is beneficial to associate our product to some life event, this would be a good targeting option.

Align with the target’s affinities

With this kind of targeting, our Gmail ads will be presented to people who may identify themselves with our product. For example, if we are a brand who sells sound products, it would be a good idea to associate our ads with terms like “sound products”, “lapel microphones”, “interior sound amplifiers”, or people with affinities like “sound treatment enthusiast” and even “aspiring musician”.


A well-known marketing technique. Remarketing consists in, very briefly, impacting people that already have had any kind of contact with our product, such as a purchase, a website visit or even a download of an app. This marketing action has, as the main objective, to avoid the consumers to forget about our brand and be close to them. It is only possible to do remarketing with Gmail ads if we have a list of, at least, 100 returning visitors.

What is the cost of a Gmail Ad?

Last, but not least, the cost of Gmail ads. What’s the payment process of a Gmail ad? Like every other online ad, the cost is negotiated in many ways. It can be negotiated in, cost per click, cost per impression, cost per thousand impressions, cost per acquisition, among others. With Gmail ads, the cost is negotiated by opening. What this means is that nothing is charged beyond the click for opening our ad. The user can interact with our ad by clicking on some links that may be there, save the ad, send it to other people, and nothing is charged beyond the click for opening the ad.


In conclusion, Gmail ads can be interesting to use in our digital marketing strategy, depending on our target and our objectives. But nothing like testing to determine if it is something that our target responds according to our expectations or not.