Google has an option for their PPC ads that allows you to turn on or off the ability for your ads to show when email in Gmail uses words that correspond to the keywords the advertiser is targeting. 


How are ads placed on Gmail?

Gmail is part of Googles Content Network (Display Network as its now called) and as such, Google will match your ad, based on the keywords youve chosen for your Content campaign, with the content of the email.  If Googles algorithm senses that the email is sensitive in nature, no ads will appear.  IF however youre bragging about the wicked good shape youre going to be getting in for the summer, then theres a good chance youll see ads for fitness, weight loss and nutritional products.

Some people will be surprised to hear Google matches an ad to the content of an email, but theyve been doing this for quite some time. Its all based on an algorithm (not someone manually reading emails J) and the results that come out of Gmail can be pretty good!

So, Gmail is in part of the Content Network and not Googles Search Partners, which is a separate network that includes partners such as AOL, and where Google powers their search results, both organic and paid.

How do I target Gmail as a Placement for my Ad To Appear?

When running a Content campaign you have the ability to target any number of specific sites.  Gmail is one of those sites: simply add as a placement to target.

If you find Gmail to provide a great return by targeting Gmail as a specific placement, you can bid more aggressively to ensure visibility, or bid less aggressively if you want to advertise on Gmail, but not necessarily in the #1 spot.

How do I ensure my ad DOES NOT appear on Gmail?

Similar to above, but rather than add as a placement to target, add as an exclusion, which tells Google to never show your ad on the specific placement, which in this case would be Gmail.

Actionable Follow-up

When you do a Content campaign, regularly run a Placement report, which lists all the sites our ads have appeared. 

Take those sites that are performing well and add as Managed Placements, so you can better optimize and manage them. 

For those placements that arent performing well, add them as Exclusions.