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Gmail Ads Made Easy: The Perfect Guide To Getting Started


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.


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.


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.


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.



Google ska betala $391,5 miljoner för uppgörelse över platsspårning, säger statliga AG:er


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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