If you’re one of the 1.5 billion people using Gmail on a regular basis, you’ve likely seen at least a few of these ads pop up in your inbox:
Reader, meet Gmail ads.
What are Gmail ads?
Simply put, Gmail ads are Google Ads that are designed to look like fully-developed emails. These ads start as just a subject line and preheader, like this:
If a user clicks or taps on this ad to learn more, the ad will expand, usually presenting a longer block of copy with a call to action and a clickable button. For example, the expanded version of the ad above looks like this:
Gmail ads also have the same flexible targeting as any other type of Google Ad, allowing you to find your audience by looking at search terms, online behavior, and potential interests.
What can Gmail Ads do for me?
Remember those 1.5 billion people who use Gmail every single day? They’re all potential audience members for your next Gmail ad (well, maybe not all of them). Ads on Gmail are easy to put together, infinitely customizable, and attention grabbing, making them the perfect way to reach people where they already are – in their own inboxes.
Gmail ads are also less competitive (and less expensive) than many other ad placements, making them a great way to cultivate some serious brand awareness without spending quite as much money. Gmail ads also allow you to collect information about user interactions (CTR, open rate, saves, and forwards) at a fraction of the cost of an email campaign that could collect the same data.
BUILDING EFFECTIVE GMAIL ADS
Starting with the subject/headline
Like any great email, the key to high engagement and high clickthrough rates is an attention-grabbing subject line. Subject lines are the first thing users will see when they come across your ad, so it’s imperative to make them eye-catching. You only get 25 characters to make an impression, so make sure to draft a few different options while you’re putting your ad together.
Struggling to think of new headlines for your Gmail ads? Try throwing in a carefully-placed emoji for a potential boost in open rate.
Don’t forget the preheader/description
See the grey-ed out, non-bolded text to the right of the headline/subject? That space is just as valuable as the headline. With only 25 bolded characters at your disposal, it’s crucial to make smart use of the 90 characters at your disposal in the description. Make an effort to include a compelling call to action in this portion of your ad: After all, with only 115 total characters to get someone to act, every word matters.
Another point to consider is what your copy will look like if someone taps your ad to expand it. You don’t get any additional characters once the ad has been expanded, so your copy should make sense in the truncated, collapsed version and in the fully expanded version.
Once your ad has been tapped and expanded, the user will be exposed to the body of your ad. Google requires you to include at least one image in the body of your ad, but you’re free to insert multiple images as long as it makes sense for the ad you’re writing. For the more technologically inclined agents out there, you can even implement custom HTML within the body of your ad for more flexibility and customizability.
The best advice we can give when it comes to selecting images is to select something that you know will grab a reader’s attention. Include some text overtop of your image too: With character count so limited throughout the rest of the ad, this is your chance to call out any major points you want to call attention to.
The Call to Action
Arguably the most important part of your expanded Gmail ad, the call to action button at the bottom of your ad should be the thing that ties your ad together. If you’ve spent some time and effort putting your ad together, the call to action should be the logical next step for anyone who’s engaged with your ad. Calls to action in Google Ads are capped at 20 characters, so feel free to experiment with different CTA text to discover what works for you.
For example, If you’re using your Gmail Ads for awareness, you could set your CTA text to “LEARN MORE,” with the button linking to your website.
Going for more lead generation? Change your CTA text to “CALL TODAY!” as a way to entice interested readers into taking action.