It has been possible to place AdWords ads in people’s Gmail accounts for some time now. These ads are targeted contextually, i.e. ads are shown which are relevant to the content of the emails within the Gmail account. Gmail ads are available in both mobile and desktop versions.

The ad is shown initially at the top of the Gmail page, in a compressed form Рclicking on it expands the ad to a larger version, as per the mobile example below:


A Gmail Ad, As It Appears On A Smartphone


The same ad, once clicked on, in its expanded form.

What Is The Value of These Ads in Terms of Marketing?

When you choose to run your ads in this way you are able to select the criteria that will be used for deciding where they are shown. In particlar, there is the option to show ads by relevance to a particular topic, or interest. So, if your potential customer regularly receives emails about golf, and you sell golf accessories or services, then it would be nice for him/her to see your products whilst you would not want to waste time and money showing golf clubs to someone who is heavily into chess, for example.

I know that’s a sweeping statement and some golfers will also be chess players but you get the point? Put your products and services in front of those who a most likely to be interested. If budget is not an issue then certainly you could widen your scope, but relevance is key here and the more relevant your ads are to your audience, the better your conversion ratio will be.

So What’s New?

The new option, which is now available, extends the above options still further by enabling advertisers with an e-mailing list to upload that list into their AdWords account and target that list with carefully selected ads.

What this does is enables you ads to be show to those people on your emailing list, provided that they have a GMail account. Furthermore, a later enhancement will enable you to target “similar audiences” thereby increasing your audience many times over in some cases.

Once your list is uploaded, Google matches those on the list with data they have about those people. In particular, it looks to see if they have a Gmail account. If they do then they become part of a custom audience for your ads. Once this process is complete, Google actually delete the original mailing list to protect the individual’s private data, (their copy, not yours!).

Does It Work?

There isn’t enough empirical data out there upon which to base an opinion except to say that Google will have piloted it extensively before rolling it out so you can be sure that is does, but to what extent and for which type of advertiser we don’t yet know for sure. One thing’s for certain though – if you have a mailing list and you want a fresh way of targeting it, this would certainly be worth a trial.




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