Drive sales with Gmail Ads

Show your Gmail ads to the right people


So you’re looking for new opportunities to drive sales and nurture your email initiatives. Consider this: Gmail reaches over 1 billion users globally.2

By using Gmail ads, you can reach the right audiences and grow your business. Gmail ads let you show relevant offers at the top of the Promotions or Social tabs in Gmail. That’s prime real estate against the 25, 50 or 100 emails trying to share the spotlight in people’s inboxes.

This guide covers how to create and set-up an effective Gmail ad strategy and make the most of your Gmail ad campaigns. Learn how to Create Gmail ads


You can only create Gmail ads in the new Google Ads experience. Ads created in previous version of Google Ads will still be functional, but since it's read only, they can't be edited. Learn more about Gmail ad policies.

Once you create a separate Gmail ad campaign, consider your audiences and how you can use Google’s targeting tools to reach them. Gmail ads share many of the targeting dimensions available in the Google Display Network such as affinity, in-market, topics and more.

How do you put this all together? Let’s say you’re a running shoe company called Acme Running Shoes.

What's your brand? Acme Running Shoes
Who are your ideal customers? Avid runners
How can you reach them with Gmail ads? New customers: Drive awareness
  • Keywords
  • Other types (affinity, parental status, etc)
New customers: Drive purchases
  • In-market audiences
Existing customers: Drive up-sells
  • Customer Match
  • Similar Audiences
  • Remarketing lists
How should I think about bidding? Target CPA

Use keyword and purchase intent targeting to reach new customers

Define your audience with keywords. Remember that keyword targeting in Gmail uses broad match. You’ll want to start out with a few concepts or themes before refining your keywords. In the Acme Running Shoes example, you could focus on generic terms like “running shoes”, “hiking shoes” or “marathons.” 

Use in-market audiences to reach people that are likely ready to convert. Remember to avoid layering with other targeting types or you won’t get enough traffic. Add the segment that makes the most sense for your business. In the Acme Running Shoes example, you can add lists like “Apparel & Accessories > Shoes > Athletic Shoes” or “Sports & Fitness.”



If you have a remarketing list or Customer Match list uploaded, you can use the Audience Insights Report to help you understand the audience you’re reaching. Use those insights to further refine your ads, bids or campaign settings.

Use Remarketing lists to re-engage customers

With remarketing, you can show ads to people who've already visited your website or used your mobile app. If people leave your website without making a purchase, for example, remarketing can help you reconnect with them by showing relevant ads across their different devices.

Use email lists to re-engage customers

Customer Match puts your ads in front of highly qualified customers who have already engaged with your brand. That could mean customers who have signed up for your loyalty program, newsletter or special offers.

If you have an email list, you can upload it to Google Ads for audience targeting. Think about segmenting your audience lists by position in the purchase journey and tailoring your bids to fit the value of each list. You can send discounts to loyalty program members, recommend related products for past purchasers or target seasonal customers. For example, a flower shop could reach last year’s Mother’s Day flower buyers with discounts for the upcoming holiday.

You can also use Customer Match to exclude existing clients. For example, it might be a good idea for a fitness center to exclude existing customers.


Case Study

The Motley Fool, a multimedia financial services company, used Customer Match and Similar Audiences with Gmail Ads to convert current users to paid newsletter subscribers. The result? They saw a 170% increase in sales, compared to their original Customer Match list, alongside a 21% lower cost-per-lead.



Pay close attention to what’s compatible for Gmail ads. Learn more about common Gmail ads violations.


Use similar audiences with Gmail to reach prospects who are similar to your most valuable customers

Similar Audiences combined with Gmail ads will optimize for performance and expand your reach by 2x to users who are most likely to click on your ads. You can start out with your best performing audience lists for Similar Audiences. Be sure to create a separate ad group. Lastly, remember that CPAs will typically be higher than your Customer Match lists since you’ll be reaching new customers via Similar Audiences.


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2Source: Google Q4 2015 Earnings Call.

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