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Google Ads to Retire Gmail Ad Campaigns

Google Ads to Retire Gmail Ad Campaigns


If you are currently running Gmail ads, get prepared to make changes to your account next year as Gmail ad campaigns will be retired on July 1, 2021. As of this date, Gmail ad campaigns will become “read-only”. This means after this date, you will not be able to create new Gmail campaigns or make changes to existing Gmail campaigns, including edits to existing Gmail ads.

You can still run Gmail ads, but now you will have to do so using a Discovery campaign. Discovery campaigns allow you to show ads on Gmail as well as other Google-owned surfaces, including YouTube and Google Discover.

What Are Discovery Campaigns?

If you plan to continue running Gmail ads after July 1, 2021 you should start getting familiar with Discovery campaigns. The main benefit touted by Google of this campaign type is that you can reach over 3 billion users on their platforms within one campaign. Unsurprisingly, this campaign type uses more automated features and limits setting options for advertisers to make management more “streamlined.”

For example, you can’t use manual bidding in Discovery campaigns. You are limited to either Maximize Conversions or Target CPA bidding. Here are some additional settings that can’t be adjusted with this campaign type:

  • Delivery method
  • Device targeting
  • Placement targeting (including exclusions)
  • Frequency capping
  • Ad rotation
  • Contextual targeting

I know this isn’t ideal for most campaign managers, but if you want to continue running Gmail ads this will be the only option going forward. We plan to start testing Discovery campaigns at the beginning of the year for clients using Gmail ads to get an idea of performance and how to best manage this campaign before Gmail ad campaigns are officially retired.

Have you tried running Discovery campaigns in Google Ads? If so, let us know your experience in the comments below!



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