1. SEJ
  2.  ⋅ 
  3. PPC

Gmail Ads Absorbing Into Discovery Campaigns

Standalone Gmail ads will be sunset on July 1 of 2021. This targeting type will now be rolled into Discovery Ads, with no option to target them separately.

How to Use Google Ads Keyword Forecast Tool for Predictive Keyword Research

Advertisers who are fans of Google’s Gmail Ads may be frustrated to learn they will no longer be a standalone ad type as of July.

This morning, Google issued the following email to advertisers who have standalone Gmail campaigns in their accounts. Instead, Gmail ad targeting will solely be available as one of the places to appear in the Discovery campaign type.

What Are Gmail Ads?

These ads appear in Gmail accounts, specifically in the “Promotions” or “Social” tabs.

They appear in a collapsed state, with a subject line just like an email. When clicked, expandable versions have things like videos, photos, or forms. It can also take the user to the advertiser’s landing page.

There are currently two types of Gmail ads: single businesses ads or multi-retailer versions. The single business ads are what they sound like, with only one business featured.

Multi-retailer versions is more of a Shopping-like format, with multiple products by various retailers appearing. They. highlight pricing, images, ratings and other information, with a click delivering the user to the product page on the retailer’s site.

These emails can be starred by the user to save it, or they can be forwarded on.

Migrating Gmail Ads to Discovery Campaigns

Google notes you can recreate your current setups in the Discovery campaign type. The three main things to pay attention to are Budget, Bidding, and your Target selections.

Budget Recommendations

It’s recommended the budget for your Discovery campaign is greater than what your budget is for Gmail ads currently. Their specific recommendation is to double the budget you currently run to account for the additional reach of Discovery.

The thing to know here is your budget will be used for not just Gmail ads. So the recommendation is based on the whole of reach in the Discovery network, not solely Gmail ads.

This also means you should be prepared to see very different results than you may be used to when only running Gmail ads.


Discovery campaigns use the Conversion objective, using Target CPA (tCPA). You will set this in the bidding section:


There is usually a recommendation noted, but if there isn’t, Google is recommending you take the last 30 days of your Gmail Ads CPA average and add 20% as your target. This value can always be updated later as your campaign matures and optimizes.


The audiences available in Gmail ads are largely the same ones available to Discovery campaigns. The only difference is keyword targeting. If you’ve been using that method, create a Custom Audience based on the top-converting keywords from your Gmail ads setup. Apply these audiences to your Discovery campaign:

Discovery Campaigns vs. Gmail Ads Charges

The reporting in Discovery campaigns will not exactly align with what Gmail ad reporting has typically shown. The main difference is in how you’re charged.

In Single-Business Gmail ads, “clicks” represent when a user first clicks on your collapsed teaser that expands into a full ad.

In Multi-Retailer ads, “clicks” are counted when a user clicks out of the email to the product page. In this case, you are not charged for clicks to the collapsed ad teaser.

With Discovery campaigns, the definition is more like in the Single Business Gmail ad setup. A “click” is counted when a user goes to your website from an expanded ad. However, you are charged based on the initial interaction with the collapsed teaser.

Timing of the Change

Google doesn’t state why it’s changing this, but it could be many reasons. Perhaps Gmail ads aren’t a large enough piece of their pie to deal with separately anymore. Maybe they are consolidating behind the Discovery campaign type to continue their march into trying to create demand higher in the funnel.

Either way, advertisers who rely on Gmail ads should start experimenting with Discovery sooner rather than later so they know what to expect.

Google’s help article on this change can be found here.

Category PPC
Susan Wenograd Consultant

Susan is the Paid Media Reporter for Search Engine Journal. A marketing veteran of almost 20 years, she has managed ...

Gmail Ads Absorbing Into Discovery Campaigns

Subscribe To Our Newsletter.

Conquer your day with daily search marketing news.