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About Gmail ads

Gmail will update the way that it personalises ads later this year. Read this blog post and the Changes to Gmail ads section below for details.

Gmail ads are interactive ads at the top of people’s inboxes. When someone clicks a collapsed Gmail ad, it expands just like an email does. The expanded ad, which is the size of an email, can include images, video or embedded forms. Available in all countries Google reaches, Gmail ads are a way to connect with people in a more personal-feeling 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 on the ad, it expands to an email-sized space 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 you’re already familiar with, such as keywords, affinity audiences, in-market audiences, demographics and topics. For example, a sports clothing advertiser could select relevant topics such as “Fitness” and “Sporting Goods” or reach people in the “Health & Fitness Buffs” or “Running Enthusiasts” affinity audiences. You can also use Customer match to reach your customers and people who are similar to them.

Gmail ads use automatic targeting to identify people’s interests. Say, for example, you run a photography shop. If a Gmail user has recently received a lot of emails about photography or cameras, a deal from your shop might show to them. But it wouldn’t show if the user reported those emails as spam.

The example above is an example of keyword targeting. You can also direct your targeting based on emails from specific websites, which is called domain targeting. For example, instead of targeting the keywords “photography” or “camera”, you might choose instead to direct your ads towards people who receive emails from particular photography websites. For both keyword and domain targeting methods, the system automatically scans the body/subject of the last few hundred non-spam emails, including deleted and archived messages.

Changes to Gmail ads

Beginning later this year, Gmail ads will no longer be using consumer Gmail content for ads personalisation. As a result, starting on 28 September, you may see a change in your campaign reach, clicks and conversions. If your Gmail campaigns use domain targeting, replace domains with keyword targeting before 28 Sept. 2017 to ensure that your ads continue to show. Learn how to choose keywords for Display Network campaigns

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