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How to create Gmail Ads to win low-CPA conversions

Thursday, May 19, 2016

After weeks of prep, months of waiting, and what felt like a countless number of PowerPoint edits, I spoke at SMX London yesterday about how to successfully implement Gmail Ads.

Speaking alongside the best minds in marketing, I was honoured to get to share what I’ve discovered with my friends and colleagues at the conference.

I got the idea for my presentation when I noticed the slow uptake of Gmail Ads across the industry, a combination of scepticism about their efficacy toward conversions and the creative burdens that come with designing the ads.

Gmail Ads have continually delivered strong results for a number of my clients, so I was keen to speak about their potential and encourage other advertisers to give them a go.

Although I wanted to convey that the creative development didn’t have to be a time sink, I was also keen to convince people to shift away from the standard Google templates, taking a step closer toward native advertising by presenting their Gmail Ad as an actual email.

After some trial and error (read: lots of hard work), I finally discovered the secrets of using Gmail Ads to win more conversions at a low CPA. Here’s how it works.

Read my pre-SMX interview for some background on the project.

Gmail Ads

Use MailChimp to Design Gmail Ads

Many marketers balk at the notion that you must have advanced design skills to successfully design a Gmail Ad to feel like an actual email, but there is simple solution that anyone can use: MailChimp.

MailChimp makes it quick and easy to build your email in full, allowing you to export it as an HTML file and upload it to AdWords.

With a simple drag-and-drop interface, MailChimp has free accounts that anyone can use.

Gmail Ads in MailChimp


Optimise Your Gmail Ad to Drive Conversions

In my presentation, I explain step-by-step how to select a template relevant to your content and navigate the user-friendly MailChimp interface. I then examine all the recommended components of the email and why including them will increase the likelihood of conversions.

  • High-quality header/hero image, with an optional text CTA
  • Business logo incorporated into the header
  • Engaging, informative, and descriptive ad copy, with headings as appropriate
  • Eye-catching images to break up blocks of text
  • A CTA button
Gmail Ad Example

My example Gmail Ad for “Colleen’s Capybara Emporium”

Create Gmail Ads to Win Low-CPA Conversions

In addition to providing a walk-through of how to build the ad in MailChimp and upload the necessary files to AdWords, I touched upon targeting settings and how to leverage keyword targeting, domain targeting, Customer Match lists, and Similar Audiences. All of these tactics are vital to reaching the right Gmail users with your ad.

I also shared some real-world data to demonstrate the successes I’ve had using Gmail Ads.

Gmail Ads can be extremely effective at driving large volumes of conversions at low CPAs, often outperforming other types of Display campaigns in the same account.

Finally, I brought things home by examining how advertisers can modify the Gmail ad itself, improving lead generation in the event that their targeting settings or certain aspects of the ad were under-performing.


So what’s stopping you? Creating simple, effective Gmail Ads is a great way to win low-CPA conversions.

  • Design expertise isn’t necessary
  • Data continually demonstrates their efficacy at driving conversions
  • MailChimp is a free, user-friendly tool that makes PPC-native advertising simple

It’s time to take Gmail Ads for a test drive in your own account. They may just become one of your top-performing campaigns.
Gmail Ad Logo
Want to view my full SMX slide deck on Gmail ads? Click here.

It features step-by-step instructions and examples with both visuals and text, meaning that you’ll have all the knowledge you need to successfully create and implement your own Gmail Ads.

If you have any further questions, get in touch to arrange a call. I’d love to sit down and discuss paid advertising solutions with you.

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