About Gmail ads
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 out 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.
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.
AdWords optimizes ads to help make sure they look great wherever they're shown—be it on a computer, mobile device, or the Gmail app. Your ad's layout automatically optimizes 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—like keywords, affinity audiences, in-market audiences, demographics, and topics. 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. 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 store. If a Gmail user has recently received a lot of emails about photography or cameras, a deal from your store 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 toward 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.