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About Gmail ads

Gmail ads are interactive ads that show at the top of your inbox tabs. Some of these ads are expandable. When you click one of these ads, it can expand just like an email. The expanded ad can include images, video or embedded forms. Gmail ads help you connect with potential customers in a more personal format.

This article gives an overview of Gmail ads. For an instructional article, jump to Create Gmail ads.

How it works

A Gmail ad shows first in its collapsed form. When someone clicks the ad, it would either launch an advertiser’s landing page or expand to the size of an email that can be used to meet a variety of advertising goals and can include, for example, embedded forms or video.

People can interact with your expanded ad in different ways, depending on your ad’s layout. They can play video, fill in a form, click to go to your website or (when they’re on mobile) click to call or to go to an app marketplace.

You aren’t charged when people interact with your expanded ad. You’re only charged once – for the click that expands your ad in the first place.

Email ready

Many people who expand your ad can save it by clicking the star icon, or by clicking the blue Save button at the bottom of the message. Many people can also forward your expanded ads to someone else as an email message.

Mobile friendly

AdWords optimises ads to help make sure that they look great wherever they're shown – be it on a computer, mobile device or the Gmail app. Your ad's layout automatically optimises for the mobile experience. To add even more impact, you can select from dedicated mobile options, like click-to-call and app promotion.

How targeting works

You can use most of the display targeting options that you’re already familiar with – like audience keywords, affinity audiences, in-market audiences and demographics. 

Here are different ways that you can reach specific audiences with your ads:

  • Affinity audiences: Select from these audiences to reach potential customers and make them aware of your business. For example, a sports apparel advertiser could select relevant topics like 'Fitness' and 'Sporting Goods' or reach people in the 'Health & Fitness Buffs' or 'Running Enthusiasts' affinity audiences. 
  • Audience keywords: Choose words or phrases relevant to your product or service so your ads appear to customers who are interested in those terms. 
  • Automated targeting: Automatic targeting helps optimise your targeting across Gmail, letting you reach people who your targeting wouldn't otherwise reach, at around the same cost per person, automatically. 
  • Customer match: Lets you show ads to customers based on data about those customers that you share with Google. Learn more about customer match
  • Demographics: Lets you reach people on the Display Network who are associated with certain demographic categories, like gender, age range or household income. 
  • In-market audiences: Select from these audiences to find customers who are in the market, which means that they're researching products and are actively considering buying a service or product like yours. 
  • Life Events: Reach customers in key life moments like moving, marriage or college graduation.
  • Remarketing: You can also reach people who've already engaged with your company's products and services, including past visitors to a website, mobile app, videos or your own lists. 
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