Have you ever come across ads in Gmail? Do you know that sponsored ads in Gmail are changing?
In December 2020, an item was added to the Google Ads support page on Gmail ads. Google announced that Gmail-related campaigns will become Read Only on July 1, 2021. After this date, advertisers will no longer be able to create campaigns linked to Gmail. Also, advertisers cannot edit any of their current Gmail campaigns.
If advertisers still want to place ads in Gmail, they should run Discovery campaigns instead of the previous methods. This is the only way to create Gmail campaigns from July 1, 2021 onwards. This update can be a good way to increase the reach of advertisers and they can also test a new campaign model. The problem is that there are stark differences between how Gmail ads work with the current dedicated format versus how Gmail formats Discovery campaigns. We’ll show you the differences and tell you what to expect to lose when Gmail campaigns go away in July.
Table of Contents
What are ads in Gmail?
Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP) use the email marketing method by targeting target users and displaying the advertisement in their Gmail inbox. Until now, you have noticed the small yellow rectangle next to some emails in Gmail. This is a sign of an advertising email, not a regular email.
Say goodbye to Gmail ads
Say goodbye to manual bidding
Discovery campaigns in Google Ads do not support manual bidding strategies. Currently, we can use manual bidding and CPC with Gmail-only campaigns. In the image below, we’ve selected a Discovery campaign goal from “Create a campaign that’s untargeted.” Even with this option, the only bidding strategy we can choose is CPA targeting.
Of course, most of us are not people who only believe in manual bidding. We love testing automated bidding strategies. The only annoying issue is when the option to test different bidding strategies is lost. Manual bidding doesn’t always work best. The same applies to automatic bidding. So now that we don’t have an opt-in option for Gmail campaigns, it’s a bit disappointing. We just have to deal with automated bidding strategies from July 2021.
Say goodbye to device targeting too
Since Gmail campaigns are now part of the Google Display Network, we can control which devices can see our Gmail ads. In our current Gmail campaigns, we consistently see the best performance on the desktop. We’re seeing a lot more people save the ad to their inbox than desktop, and that’s just one of the metrics we use to optimize performance. Of course, starting July 2021, we will lose control of a large part of our Gmail.
You can probably sense a pattern in this image. Yes, device targeting is completely out of the advertiser’s hands with Discovery campaigns. When you are in the campaign settings section of a Discovery campaign, you will not see an option to update the settings. (You can still categorize performance data by device in the main interface.)
Ad rotation settings are gone
In your other display ads, you probably test different ad variations to see which ones perform best. With standalone Gmail campaigns, we can do the same. Depending on the size of the audience group, we try to create three to four different ads for each. If we were to run Gmail ads for an account for the first time, our preference would be to select equal rotation in the ad rotation settings. This way we can give each different ad model an amount of exposure to better judge performance metrics.
Now you can add ad rotation to the list of settings that are not available in Discovery campaigns. With the automated strategy in this campaign model, advertisers cannot set up an ad rotation system regardless of how many variables they want to test. A hands-off solution doesn’t help us test our ads, but that’s another thing we have to deal with with this automation transition.
Biggest change: The ad format isn’t the same
Just because Discovery campaigns are in Gmail doesn’t mean we can easily recreate our ads. Many differences can change your decision on how to use Gmail in your strategies. These differences are the biggest reason we are upset about these changes. We feel this way because Ad Creative is the most important part of a Gmail campaign in our opinion, and the components that are being changed are giving us ads that are less attractive in our opinion.
The textual components of your Gmail ads are different
There are two main ad formats in Discovery campaigns. There is a standard Discovery ad and a Carousel ad. It doesn’t matter which option you choose, your title can have a maximum of 40 characters. In Gmail campaigns, the number of characters in the headline reaches 25 characters. Because of this difference, we constantly see Gmail headlines getting cut off on mobile devices if we don’t intentionally truncate the text to make sure the message is fully viewable on all devices.
Where are our videos?
One of the main things we liked about Gmail campaigns was how video was integrated with Ad Creative when a user opened a Gmail ad. We always feel that a video can better communicate what your brand is and what your product stands for than a single photo. If it makes sense, we always try to include a video in some variable of our clients’ Gmail ads to increase engagement and clicks to the website. Advertisers also have the option in Gmail Ads to only use the videos they choose. In current Gmail campaigns, you don’t have to use a photo if you don’t want to. All you have to do is search for a video and find it on YouTube. You can then add as many videos as you want to your ad.
Gmail Custom HTML ads will be removed
We don’t want to pretend we’ve used this ad format before, so this section won’t be long. Advertisers can go beyond the default Gmail ad and create their own custom HTML Gmail ad to improve user experience beyond the simple format. The advertiser can almost upload a ZIP file containing all the files of the failed and opened versions of the Gmail ad. Granted, we’ve never been lucky enough to create one of these ad models for our clients, so we can’t talk too much about it, but if you’re using a custom HTML Gmail ad in any of your campaigns, Know that this feature will also disappear in July.
Gmail advertising changes are coming
We really can’t be surprised at the direction Google is taking with Gmail campaigns. The constant pressure to automate and adapt to the product has put us at a disadvantage for years. Bidding strategies are being automated. Advertising models are being automated. Even entire campaigns are trying to get automated. It was only a matter of time for Gmail to suffer this fate. We hope to still be able to use Gmail-specific columns in Google Ads, but this has not been confirmed at this time.