About Gmail ads

Gmail ads are interactive ads that show in the Promotions and Social tabs of your inbox. Some of these ads are expandable. When you click one of these ads, it may 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, please see Create Gmail ads.

How it works

A Gmail ad shows first in its collapsed form. When someone clicks on the ad, it either launches an advertiser’s landing page, or expands 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

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. Your expanded ads can also be forwarded as an email message.

Mobile friendly

Google Ads 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, such as click-to-call and app promotion.

How targeting works

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

Here are some 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 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. 
  • Audience keywords: Enter words or phrases related to your product or services so that your ads may appear to customers interested in those terms. We don’t recommend entering website URLs.
  • Automated targeting: Automatic targeting helps optimise your targeting across Gmail, letting you reach people that 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, such as 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 at key life moments such as moving, marriage or graduation from university.
  • 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 or videos, or your own lists. Remarketing lists targeting Gmail ads must have a minimum of 1,000 active visitors or users within the last 30 days for your ads to show. 
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