Use Gmail Ads before Google removes it in July 2021

Bhanuka Harischandra

Chief Growth Officer

Email has been one of the most important and effective ways of communicating with your potential customers. Email marketing however, is tricky.

Over the years, businesses have seen open rates, click-through rates and engagement tanking as people opt out of spammy subscriptions while email providers get smarter with filters—moving unwanted (and sometimes important) conversations to “social” & “promotions” tabs.

Back in 2015, Google saw an opportunity to monetize their 1.5 Billion user base on their email client, Gmail. By connecting Gmail as a distribution channel of the Google Ads Network, they were able to connect advertisers with content that’s literally in your inbox.

That’s right, Gmail Ads allow you to target specific keywords that are picked from your “account activity”. This targeting criteria does get a little messy, with the latest changes to privacy laws, where managing and storing that information becomes even more complicated.

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Creating a Gmail Campaign

Creating a Gmail campaign is simple, but the opportunity is now fleeting. As of the First of July 2021, Google is removing your ability to target users purely on the Gmail platform through keywords, and combining it together with Google’s Discovery campaigns.

Discovery campaigns, unlike Display Campaigns allow you the advertiser far less control around the situation.

According to Google, Discovery campaigns use machine learning to distribute content across multiple Google products; such as YouTube, Gmail & Discover, to be able to understand in-market audiences.

Right now, Gmail campaigns allow you to target people on multiple different criteria.

Besides primary targeting metrics such as location, Gmail audiences currently allow you to identify detailed demographics, affinity, in-market events, life events, remarketing audiences as well as custom audiences you may configure.

The more insight you have around your prospective audience, the more powerful the custom audiences tools can become. We typically don’t recommend mixing prospecting and remarketing audience groups in the same campaign.

The combination of these demographics, audiences overlaid with keywords allows you to create a compelling offer suited to the platform of communication, in this situation; Gmail.

Unfortunately however, with the changes to discovery ads coming in July of 2021, this becomes a bit more challenging.

Discovery ads are about engaging with your audiences when they’re looking to try something new. This includes content distribution across YouTube, Gmail and Discover. Google claims that the machine learning involved in the process will be able to help Google identify the users better, on an account level, to understand audiences and help distribute messaging.

While there may be merit to the discovery campaigns in terms of broader impressions, visibility as well as potential conversions. It becomes difficult to run campaigns that convert to an audience through a mode of communication that we know works.

July is a few months away, if you haven’t set up Gmail ads for your brand, it may be time to give it a try. Especially in industries that are hard to convert but easy to profile, such as Niche B2B. We’re working together with our clients to launch Gmail campaigns over the coming weeks, in parallel with Google Discovery campaigns, to build a new channel to get their messaging across and drive profitable growth.

The Surge Blueprints have now also started including detailed analysis around discovery campaigns as well as how to structure digital marketing roadmaps with the coming changes.

To learn more about how we work together with brands, schedule a call with one of our marketing experts.

Bhanuka Harischandra

Chief Growth Officer
Bhanuka is a self taught marketer and the founder of Surge Global. Despite his parents displeasure of him not becoming a doctor, Bhanuka has led digital strategies for multi-billion dollar organizations across the world, raised numerous rounds of funding, built multiple successful ventures and currently sits on the prestigious Forbes 30 under 30 list.

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