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Gmail Ads Made Easy: The Perfect Guide To Getting Started

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A beginner’s guide to breaking out of simple Display campaigns and exploring Gmail ads.

Google offers a vast variety of campaign types and is continuously developing new features for advertisers to use. Sometimes it can be overwhelming deciding which campaigns and placements are right for your business, especially when considering budgets and creative asset limitations.

Google Search is a clear staple of the digital marketing game. Without a doubt, Search should always be part of your digital marketing strategy, regardless of budget size. However, if you have a greater budget and the ability to create captivating imagery for display campaigns, your horizons are broadened tenfold. With this, you have the ability to expand into Display, Gmail, Discovery, and Shopping campaigns – not to mention social.

Today, I will look at one of the lesser utilized channels for marketing – Gmail campaigns. I will walk through the Gmail campaign set up and provide tips on how to use the various targeting options that Gmail offers for your company to break into the email scene.

Ad Specs

Before you even begin building your Gmail campaign, you need to ensure you have adequate imagery to use in your ads. Gmail ads specs are similar to all those needed in all GDN campaigns:

  • Logo Image: Min. size 144px x 144px with a max. size of 150KB –  aspect ratio 1:1
  • Marketing Image: Min. size 300px x 300px and aspect ratio of 1:1
  • File Formats: JPEG, JPG, PNG, GIF (non-animated)

Images for Gmail ads can contain text, though this should be limited, as Headlines and Descriptions will be used.

Campaign Build

Once you’ve established the images you want to use for your Gmail ads, now it is time to build your campaign. To get started, go to the Campaigns tab of your Google Ads Account. Once there, find the Blue “+” button to start a new campaign.

At this point, you will be presented with a list of goals you would like to achieve with your new campaign. Based on your selection, Google will suggest various campaign types to use. However, because I know I want to run Gmail ads, I am going to select “Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance.”

Next, you will be shown the list of possible campaigns to run within the Google Ads platform. Gmail ads fall into the Google Display Network, so we will select Display campaigns.

There are several types of Display campaigns we are able to run from this selection. However, we will select “Gmail Campaign.”

At this point, we are ready to build. At first glance, the setup looks very similar to your Display and Search campaign builds. Google makes this process easy for even the newest of marketers by walking us through step-by-step. Here you will go through the basic settings for naming, location targets, language targets, and bidding.

From there you are able to adjust more advanced setting options such as ad rotation, time of day you would like your ads to run, start and end dates, and device targeting.

Targeting Options

Google offers 3 types of targeting options for Gmail Ads: Keywords, Audience, and Demographic. To best determine the performance of these targeting types, create different ad groups of each targeting type you want to utilize.

Keywords

By providing a list of keywords, Google will target individuals who are interested in those terms. This means anyone who has previously searched for those phrases in Google or YouTube will be targeted in their Gmail inbox.

Keyword targeting is great for lower-funnel Gmail targeting. By targeting your branded keywords, product terms, or even competitors, you will reach individuals who are researching similar items and have a higher intent to purchase.

Audience Targeting

With audience targeting, you have the option to add the same audiences that are available in Display and Search. These fall into 3 major categories: Affinity Audiences, In-Market Audiences, and Remarketing Audiences.

Gmail campaigns are a great place to utilize remarketing strategies. By targeting individuals that have already visited your website and viewed your product, you can create a sense of urgency and entice them to purchase by providing exclusive offers directly to their inbox. Nothing is more likely to drive a customer to purchase an item they have been considering than a 20% off promo code!

Demographic Targeting

Demographic targeting is another layer of targeting that can be added to your strategy. Just like all other campaign types, you have the options for Gender, Age Range, Parental Status, and Household income.

Demographic targeting is great in refining your best-performing audiences when you already know who your most likely to convert user is. However, if you don’t know this, restricting demographic targeting may limit your conversion volume and cause you to lose out on some high-performing groups. Before refining your Gmail targeting by demographics, run your campaigns for a few weeks and analyze your historical converter demographic data – this will provide insight on where to start trimming the fat.

Automated Targeting

Google loves automation, so it’s no surprise that Gmail offers expanded automated targeting utilizing Google’s internal algorithms. For Gmail ads, you have three options: no automation, conservative automation, and aggressive automation. By turning on automation, you give Google the green light to go out and find new customers outside of the specific targets you have just set by expanding placements in the Google Display Network, outside of Gmail. This is a good option for companies trying to reach new groups of people or gather enough data to determine their best-performing audiences.

Conservative automation and aggressive automation is simply how much you want Google to widen your current settings. In conservative targeting, Google will seek out users similar to those you are targeting in Gmail, only on other websites. With aggressive automation, Google will open to the flood gates on targeting and go after anyone they believe is likely to convert at your desired CPA.

Ads

Now that your targeting has all been set. You are ready to build your ad! This is a very similar process to your typical Responsive Display Ad builds, but for these ads, you only need to input 1 Headline of 25 characters and 1 Description of 90 characters, along with your business name and desired landing page. With this, Google will show you previews for both mobile and desktop formats.

Once your ad is built, you are ready to go! From here, just click “Create Campaign” and your ads will be sent for approval and launched.

Google’s Display Network and its various types of campaigns do not have to be difficult to navigate, typically they operate in much the same way. So if you know the basics and settings of one, you can easily find your way through another. To find out more about GDN campaigns and how to optimize them, check out Aaron Child’s Guide to Smart Display Campaigns.

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Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

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Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

Google has agreed to pay a $391.5 million settlement to 40 states to resolve accusations that it tracked people’s locations in violation of state laws, including snooping on consumers’ whereabouts even after they told the tech behemoth to bug off.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said it is time for Big Tech to recognize state laws that limit data collection efforts.

“I have been ringing the alarm bell on big tech for years, and this is why,” Mr. Landry, a Republican, said in a statement Monday. “Citizens must be able to make informed decisions about what information they release to big tech.”

The attorneys general said the investigation resulted in the largest-ever multistate privacy settlement. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said Google’s penalty is a “historic win for consumers.”

“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt out of tracking,” Mr. Tong said. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”

Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. It’s another tool in a data-gathering toolkit that generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.2 trillion.

The settlement is part of a series of legal challenges to Big Tech in the U.S. and around the world, which include consumer protection and antitrust lawsuits.

Though Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it fixed the problems several years ago, the company’s critics remained skeptical. State attorneys general who also have tussled with Google have questioned whether the tech company will follow through on its commitments.

The states aren’t dialing back their scrutiny of Google’s empire.

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was filing a lawsuit over reports that Google unlawfully collected millions of Texans’ biometric data such as “voiceprints and records of face geometry.”

The states began investigating Google’s location tracking after The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Android devices and iPhones were storing location data despite the activation of privacy settings intended to prevent the company from following along.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich went after the company in May 2020. The state’s lawsuit charged that the company had defrauded its users by misleading them into believing they could keep their whereabouts private by turning off location tracking in the settings of their software.

Arizona settled its case with Google for $85 million last month. By then, attorneys general in several other states and the District of Columbia had pounced with their own lawsuits seeking to hold Google accountable.

Along with the hefty penalty, the state attorneys general said, Google must not hide key information about location tracking, must give users detailed information about the types of location tracking information Google collects, and must show additional information to people when users turn location-related account settings to “off.”

States will receive differing sums from the settlement. Mr. Landry’s office said Louisiana would receive more than $12.7 million, and Mr. Tong’s office said Connecticut would collect more than $6.5 million.

The financial penalty will not cripple Google’s business. The company raked in $69 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022, according to reports, yielding about $13.9 billion in profit.

Google downplayed its location-tracking tools Monday and said it changed the products at issue long ago.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.

Google product managers Marlo McGriff and David Monsees defended their company’s Search and Maps products’ usage of location information.

“Location information lets us offer you a more helpful experience when you use our products,” the two men wrote on Google’s blog. “From Google Maps’ driving directions that show you how to avoid traffic to Google Search surfacing local restaurants and letting you know how busy they are, location information helps connect experiences across Google to what’s most relevant and useful.”

The blog post touted transparency tools and auto-delete controls that Google has developed in recent years and said the private browsing Incognito mode prevents Google Maps from saving an account’s search history.

Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees said Google would make changes to its products as part of the settlement. The changes include simplifying the process for deleting location data, updating the method to set up an account and revamping information hubs.

“We’ll provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow,” Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees wrote. “We’ll also continue deleting Location History data for users who have not recently contributed new Location History data to their account.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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5 Tips to Boost Your Holiday Search Strategy

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With the global economic downturn, inflation, ongoing supply chain challenges, and uncertainty due to the Ukraine war, this year’s holiday shopping season promises to be very challenging. Will people be in the mood to spend despite the gloom? Or will they rein in their enthusiasm and save for the year ahead?

With these issues in mind, here are five considerations to support your search engine optimization strategy this holiday shopping season:

1. Start early.

Rising prices are likely to mean shoppers will start researching their holiday spending earlier than ever to nab the best bargains. Therefore, retailers must roll out their holiday product and category pages — and launch any promotions — sooner to ensure their pages get crawled and indexed by search engines in good time.

Some e-commerce stores manage to get their pages ranking early by updating and reusing the same section of the website for holiday content and promotions, rotating between content for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine gifts, Fourth of July sales, etc. This approach can help you retain the momentum, links and authority you build up with Google and get your holiday pages visible and ranking quickly.

2. Make research an even bigger priority.

With all the uncertainty this year, it’s vital to use SEO research to identify the trending seasonal keywords and search phrases in your retail vertical — and then optimize content accordingly.

With tools such as Google Trends you can extract helpful insights based on the types of searches people are making. For example, with many fashion retailers now charging for product returns, will prioritizing keywords such as “free returns” get more search traction? And with money being tighter, will consumers stick with brands they trust rather than anything new — meaning brand searches might be higher?

3. Make greater use of Google Shopping.

To get the most out of their holiday spending, consumers are more likely to turn to online marketplaces such as Google Shopping as they make it easier to compare products, features and prices, as well as to identify the best deals both online and in nearby stores.

Therefore, take a combined approach which includes listing in Google Shopping and at the same time optimizing product detail pages on your e-commerce site to ensure they’re unique and provide more value than competitors’ pages. Be precise with product names on Google Shopping (e.g., do the names contain the words people are searching for?); ensure you provide all the must-have information Google requires; and set a price that’s not too far from the competition. 

4. Give other search sources the attention they deserve.

Earlier this year Google itself acknowledged that consumers — especially younger consumers — are starting to use TikTok, Instagram and other social media sites for search. In fact, research suggests 11 percent of product searches now start on TikTok and 15 percent on Instagram. Younger consumers in particular are more engaged by visual content, which may explain why they’re embracing visually focused social sites for search. So, as part of your search strategy, create and share content on popular social media sites that your target customers visit.

Similarly, with people starting their shopping searches on marketplaces such as Amazon.com, optimizing any listings you have on the site should be part of your strategy. And thankfully, the better optimized your product detail pages are for Amazon (with unique, useful content), the better they will rank on Google as well!

5. Hold paid budget for late opportunities.

The greater uncertainty and volatility this holiday season mean you must keep a close eye on shopper behavior and be ready to embrace opportunities that emerge later on. Getting high organic rankings for late promotions is always more challenging, so hold some paid search budget back to help drive traffic to those pages — via Google Ads, for example. Important keywords to include in late season search ad campaigns include “delivery before Christmas” and “same-day-delivery.” For locally targeted search ads, consider “pick up any time before Christmas.”

The prospect of a tough, unpredictable holiday shopping season means search teams must roll out seasonal SEO plans early, closely track shoppers’ behavior, and be ready to adapt as things change.

Marcus Pentzek is chief SEO consultant at Searchmetrics, the global provider of search data, software and consulting solutions.

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Google Home App Gets an Overhaul, Rolling Out Soon

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Google Home app

Google refreshes its Home app with a slew of new features after launching a new Nest gear. This makes it faster and easier to pair smart devices with Matter, adds customization and personalization options, an enhanced Nest camera experience, and better intercommunication between devices.

This revamped Home app utilizes Google’s Matter smart home standard – launching later this year – especially the Fast Pair functionality. On an Android phone, it will instantly recognize a Matter device and allow you to easily set it up, bypassing the current procedure that is often slow and difficult. Google is also updating its Nest speakers, displays, and routers – to control Matter devices better.

Google Home App New Features

  • Spaces: This feature allows you to control multiple devices in different rooms. Google has listed a few things by room: kitchen, bedroom, living room, etc., although it’s pretty limited right now. Spaces let you organize devices how you see fit. For instance, you can set up a baby monitor in one room and set a different room’s camera to focus on an area the baby often plays. With Spaces, you can categorize these two devices into one Space category called ‘Baby.’

Google Home app Spaces

  • Favorites: This one is pretty self-explanatory. It allows you to make certain gears as a favorite that you frequently use. Doing so will bring those devices into the limelight within the Google Home app for easier access. 

Google Home app

  • Media: Google adds a new media widget at the bottom of your Home feed. This will automatically determine what media is playing in your home and provide you with the appropriate controls as and when needed. There will be song controls if you listen to music on your speakers. There will be television remote controls if you’re watching TV. 

Google probably won’t roll out this Home app makeover anytime soon. But you can try it for yourself in the coming week by enrolling in the public preview, available in select areas.

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