You recently launched your Shopify site.

You spent all night working on it.

Fueled by coffee and determination, you pressed the green button and it’s now LIVE!

A arm pointing at a rocket blasting out of a computer screen leaving a cloud of smoke behind.
Just launched Shopify site.

However, you look at your sales dashboard.

Your heart sinks into the floor.

0 sales.

A big, fat goose egg. 

People are flocking to the site, but they don’t seem to be ready to buy.

Believe it or not, people don’t always follow a straight path from visiting to purchase.

Sounds like you?

We’ll be guiding you step by step on how to create a world class remarketing strategy on Facebook.

Keep reading on for the exact steps on how to execute this!

Table Of Contents

Who is a retargeted customer?
How should our Facebook audiences look?
Ad creation for Retargeted Customers

Who is a retargeted customer?

Picture your customer, Beth.

However, Beth is a user who has NOT made the decision to buy and become a customer.

Beth stumbled upon one of your ads and engaged with it. She ended up on your website but never made a purchase. So close, yet so far…

There are a ton of users like Beth.

You must understand them in order to target them correctly.

Strategic marketers (like you) will target these users based on previous engagements with the goal of a conversion.

Let’s begin with the idea of a marketing funnel.

Steps to the marketing funnel for Remarketing Campaigns’s Marketing Funnel

You can see the steps a user needs to experience before converting.

The retargeted customer is in the third stage of the marketing funnel.

Users at this stage are most likely decided on a product but are worried about a few things.

Those things can be fear, uncertainty, doubt, etc.

Your job is to convince them to finish the purchase.

How should our Facebook audiences look?

When creating these audiences on Facebook, you will separate them into different audiences.

As an example, you will be creating audiences for 1 Day, 7 Day, 14 Day, and 30 Day retargeting. This allows you to retarget audiences based on the time they engaged.

With segments based on when they engaged, you can convince users with a different messages based on where they are in the marketing funnel – and get on site and make a purchase.

The categories for making the retargeted customer audiences will include:

  • All Page Visitors
  • All Product Page Visitors
  • All Add to Cart Visitors
  • All Checkout Visitors
  • Top 10% Time On Site
  • PageViews – Frequency 2+

This categorizes the users by their actions.

Targeting by action will optimize the user experience, ultimately reaching a conversion.

Why will this optimize your user’s experience?

Each category depends on the user’s actions and journey down the funnel.

Remember how each stage in the funnel reflects their interaction on site.

The message sent to your user who abandoned a page 30 days ago will be slightly different from the user who was on site only one day ago.

You want to make sure your message covers components like urgency, ad goal, tone of voice, audience relevancy, and more.

4 stages of a customer's interaction with a business.

For example, what is the difference in messaging for a 1 day cart abandoner vs. a 30 day product view abandoner?

Let’s compare Johnny and Jenny’s individual shopping experiences.

Johnny and Jenny are both interested in buying new yoga clothes from the same brand.

Johnny recently discovered this brand and was on site one day ago. He added a few things to his shopping cart, but didn’t make it to checkout. This made him a 1 day cart abandoner.

The ad sent to Johnny should be relevant to the items in his cart and his placement in the “commitment” stage of the funnel.

On the other hand, Jenny is familiar with this brand, but never committed to a purchase. However, the last time she was on site was 30 days ago. She viewed a few products but never added them to her cart. This made her a 30 day product view abandoner.

The ad sent to Jenny should be relevant to the items she viewed along with her being in the “interest” stage in the funnel. Because she took a lower value action, she is less committed and will likely need more convincing to trust the brand and its products.

Ad Creation for Retargeted Customers

Your audiences are set, now you’re ready to send them ads.

Since these users engaged with your brand before, they already know the basics. They’ve been hit with previous ads, so it’s time to get creative.

You want to create ads that are different for each audience day period (1 Day, 7 Day, etc.)

1 Day retargeting should have a different ad copy and creative than 7 Day, 14 Day, and 30 Day.

Why? Imagine if you were getting retargeting ads for a candy bar company.

The same ad appearing 30 days straight would not convince you to buy a candy bar.

If anything, it gets annoying and turns you away.

You want to send a variety of quality ads over time, so the customer will be eased into converting.

Alright, you know the overview, now let’s build it: step by step.

Step 1: Create the audiences on Facebook

  • Log onto
  • On the top left, click the 3 horizontal dashes
  • Select Audiences under Asset
Selecting the Audiences category in Facebook Business Manager.

Here are the step by step instructions on building out each category of audiences for retargeted customers.

All Page Visitors (1 Day)

  1. Click Create Audience
Selecting custom audience from Facebook Business Manager.
  • Select Custom Audience
  • Select Website Traffic
  • Make sure the company’s Pixel is selected
  • In the dropdown menu, select All Website Visitors
  • Enter 1 when it says in the past __ days
Selecting audience targeting in the categories "All website visitors" in the past 1 day.
  • Type in Audience Name – Company Name 1 Day RT (Pixel)
  • Click Show description
  • In Description, type – pixel – Your Initials
  • Repeat Steps 1-9 and change 1 day to 7 days.
  • Repeat Steps 1-9 and change 1 day to 14 days.
  • Repeat Steps 1-9 and change 1 day to 30 days.

All Product Page Visitors (1 Day) – The URL depends on the company

  1. Click Create Audience
  2. Select Custom Audience
  3. Select Website Traffic
  4. Make sure the company’s Pixel is selected
  5. In the dropdown menu, select People who visited specific web page
  6. Enter 1 when it says in the past __ days
  7. In URL Contains, type “/product”
Targeting URL that contains "product" in Facebook Business Manager.
  • Type in Audience Name – Company Name Product Page 1 Day RT (URL)
  • Click Show description
  • In Description, type – product – Your Initials
  • Repeat Steps 1-9 and change 1 day to 7 days.
  • Repeat Steps 1-9 and change 1 day to 14 days.
  • Repeat Steps 1-9 and change 1 day to 30 days.

All Add to Cart Visitors (1 Day)

  1. Click Create Audience
  2. Select Custom Audience
  3. Select Website Traffic
  4. Make sure the company’s Pixel is selected
  5. In the dropdown menu, select AddToCart
Selecting "AddToCart" option on Facebook Business Manager.
  • Enter 1 when it says in the past __ days
  • Type in Audience Name – Company Name Add To Cart 1 Day RT (Pixel)
  • Click Show description
  • In Description, type – pixel – Your Initials
  • Repeat Steps 1-9 and change 1 day to 7 days.
  • Repeat Steps 1-9 and change 1 day to 14 days. Repeat Steps 1-9 and change 1 day to 30 days.

All Checkout Visitors (1 Day)

  1. Click Create Audience
  2. Select Custom Audience
  3. Select Website Traffic
  4. Make sure the company’s Pixel is selected
  5. In the dropdown menu, select InitiateCheckout
InitiateCheckOut option selected on Facebook Business Manager.
  • Enter 1 when it says in the past __ days
  • Type in Audience Name – Company Name Checkout 1 Day RT (Pixel)
  • Click Show description
  • In Description, type – pixel – Your Initials
  • Repeat Steps 1-9 and change 1 day to 7 days.
  • Repeat Steps 1-9 and change 1 day to 14 days.
  • Steps 1-9 and change 1 day to 30 days.

Top 10% Time On Site (1 Day)

  1. Click Create Audience
  2. Select Custom Audience
  3. Select Website Traffic
  4. Make sure the company’s Pixel is selected
  5. In the dropdown menu, select Visitors by time spent
  6. Enter 1 when it says in the past __ days and choose the Top 10% in dropdown
Selecting the option to target audience based on their time spent on Facebook Business Manager.
  • Type in Audience Name – Company Name Top 10% Time On Site 1 Day RT (Pixel)
  • Click Show description
  • In Description, type – pixel – Your Initials
  • Repeat Steps 1-9 and change 1 day to 7 days.
  • Repeat Steps 1-9 and change 1 day to 14 days.
  • Steps 1-9 and change 1 day to 30 days.

PageView Frequency 2+ (1 Day)

  1. Click Create Audience
  2. Select Custom Audience
  3. Select Website Traffic
  4. Make sure the company’s Pixel is selected
  5. In the dropdown menu, select PageView
  6. Enter 1 when it says in the past __ days and refine by Frequency
  7. Choose frequency to be greater than or equal to “2”
Selecting audience targeting on Facebook Business Manager based on page view for users that have visited 2 or more times.
  • Type in Audience Name – Company Name PageView Freq 2+ 1 Day RT (Pixel)
  • Click Show description
  • In Description, type – pixel – Your Initials
  • Repeat Steps 1-10 and change 1 day to 7 days.
  • Repeat Steps 1-10 and change 1 day to 14 days.
  • Steps 1-10 and change 1 day to 30 days.

Boom. Now you know how to create all the different audiences needed for retargeted customers. On to the next one.

Step 2: Create the campaign

If you’re new to Facebook marketing, here’s an overview on what a campaign is.

A campaign tells Facebook what you’re trying to accomplish, like “conversions.”

There are various buying types and the most common is “auction.” This type tells Facebook to send your ad based on how much you spend.

So if your budget is high, Facebook uses their algorithm to send your ads to the best performing audiences.

Moving forward, we have two different options for our ads: DPA or non-DPA.

A visitor's journey from how they left your website and received a Facebook ad that redirects them back to your website.

What is DPA? It stands for Dynamic Product Ads.

DPA allows Facebook to use data and dynamically display products your user would most likely purchase.

This is effective for retargeted customers since they already browsed on-site, giving useful data.

Has this ever happened to you?

You’re online shopping on your favorite clothing store and end up with a few items in your cart. You’re not ready to purchase so you exit the site.

Few days later, you see the items in your abandoned cart pop up in a Facebook ad.

Yup, that’s the magic of DPA.

However, there have been cases where retargeted customers react better to ads without DPA, so it’s best to test both.

Here’s a quick tip: When creating Dynamic Ads, you want to consider audience exclusions. With audience exclusions, you can set up targeting rules to avoid showing some products in your dynamic ads. This allows you to be very specific with who sees the ad and what they see.

Why is this important?

Exclusions are based on products in your catalog, allowing you to get specific with your audience.

For example, an audience exclusion can be made to target users who viewed products on your website but didn’t purchase anything within the past 30 days.

Learn more about audience exclusions here:

Here are the steps to creating a DPA and non-DPA campaign.

DPA campaign:

  1. Click on the green “+ Create” button
Selecting the Create button from Facebook Business Manager to create a new campaign.
  • Enter Campaign Name as something similar “Initials – Retargeted Customer – DPA – Initials”
  • Keep buying type as “Auction” and change Campaign Objective to “Catalog Sales”
Selecting the option "Catalog sales" for the campaign objective on Facebook Business Manager.
  • Update the Catalog to whichever product feed you would like to be pulled

Non-DPA Campaign:

  1. Click on the green “+ Create” button
  2. Enter Campaign Name as something similar “Retargeted Customer – NonDPA – Initials”
  3. Keep buying type as “Auction” and change Campaign Objective to “Conversions”

All steps are same as a DPA campaign, except for the Campaign Objective being “conversions.”

Step 3: Set up your Ad Sets

An Ad Set tells Facebook who and what you want to target.

It’s where you can set the spending amount and where the ad goes. This is where your audiences will be placed.

A person pointing at a tablet that they are holding with different clothing options like shoes, purse, and glasses.

For our retargeted customer campaigns, our Ad Sets will include the different audiences like All Page Visitors, All Checkout Visitors, etc.

Remember, you want to create ad sets for DPA and non-DPA.

DPA Ad Sets:

  1. Go to the Ad Set level and click on the green “+ Create” button
  2. Make sure that your ad set will be made in the Retargeted Customer campaign that you are building from.
  3. Create a new ad set with each of the audiences that were made in Step 1: Create the Audiences on Facebook.
  4. Input the following structure for the name of the ad set: “[Placement Initial] Audience X Day RT + [18-65+] + M/F”
    1. Placement Initials are the following [D] for Desktop // [M] for Mobile // [I-St] for Instagram Stories // [R] for Right Desktop // [I] for Instagram
    1. “X Day RT” would be for 1 Day, 7 Day, 14 Day, or even 30 Day RT
    1. 18-65+ is for the different age targeting – you want to start with 18-65+ and then narrow down by what the data shows
    1. “M/F” is for Male and Female targeting – again you want to start with both unless we know that the brand is 100% sure that only one will “work”
  5. Once Step 4 is finished, you may “Skip Ad” and “Save to Draft”
  6. Make sure that the Promoted Products have the correct Product Set that you want pulled from for your dynamic ads.
  7. Add in the custom audience from Step 1: Create the Audiences on Facebook. An audience can be “Company Name Checkout 1 Day RT (Pixel)” audience. You will need to create ad sets for the remaining time durations such as 7 Day, 14 Day, and 30 Day before the campaign is complete.
  8. Choose the placement you would like to be targeted. The main placements are Desktop only, Mobile only, Instagram only, and Instagram Story only.
  9. For optimization and delivery, make sure that the ad delivery is based off “Conversion Events.” The event type is “Purchase.” The conversion window is 1 Day Click and the bid strategy for now is Lowest Cost.
  10. Once updated, you may publish.
  11. Repeat Step 1-10 and create for the rest of the audiences in Step 1: Create the Audiences on Facebook.

Non-DPA Ad Sets:

When creating a Non-DPA ad set, you may follow steps 1-5 for DPA ad sets.

You will then continue with step 6: Make sure the Conversion Event Location is under “Website > Purchase”

7. Add in the custom audience from Step 1: Create the Audiences on Facebook. You will need to create ad sets for the remaining time durations such as 7 Day, 14 Day, and 30 Day in the future.

8: Choose the placement that you would like to be targeted. The main placements are Desktop only, Mobile only, Instagram only, and Instagram Story only.

9: For optimization and delivery, make sure that the ad delivery is based off “Conversions.” The conversion window is 1 Day Click or View and the bid strategy for now is Lowest Cost.

10. Once updated, you may publish.

11: Repeat Step 1-10 and create for the rest of the audiences.

Step 4: Create the Ads

We’re almost done building our Facebook retargeting campaign.

It’s time to create your ads.

Steps for creating ads:

  1. Go to the Ad level and click on the green “+ Create” button
  2. Make sure that the ad you’re creating is set to the correct campaign and ad set
  3. You may create the ad with the following naming structure → “Ad_1”
  4. You may “save to draft”
  5. Now that you have made the outline of the ad, you may start to edit the ad.
  6. Look at the following for directions for the “Creative” section.
    1. You can continue to create the type of ad that is needed for the type of audience as well as the RT time period.

Remember, all time period retargeting should have different ads!

This means that 1 Day retargeting ads should be different from 7 Day, 14 Day, and 30 Day.

Here is an example of variations in retargeting ads.

  • 1 Day = Carousel Video Ad
    • 7 Day = Single Image Ad
    • 14 Day = Carousel Ad
    • 30 Day = Collection Ad

Why should you do this?

This is important because if a user is hit with all the different day retargeting sections (1 Day, 7 Day, etc.), they will not see the same ad repeatedly. Each time they are hit with an ad, it should be increasing in information and hold more value in helping them convert.

While creating your ads, keep this checklist in mind to have the best quality ad possible.

Subsection Checklist for Ad Creation:

  1. Is there value in the text, headline, and description? Think value props, discount, offers, branding, and more.
    1. Is the URL correct?
    1. Did you input URL parameters in the tracking section? (utm_source, utm_medium, utm_campaign, utm_content)
  2. Once you’ve gone over the checklist you may publish and start running your ads for retargeted customers.
A cape wearing super hero flying upwards over a sales related bar graph trending upwards.

You’ve done it! You created all the components needed to run a world class remarketing campaign on Facebook.

Updated: April 14, 2019

Ding! You’ve got mail.

As you fire up your inbox, your heart is racing with excitement.

“It’s my Coachella ticket delivery confirmation, I just know it!!!,” you scream to yourself.

But wait. The headline reads…

“Calling all marketers. The Answer to EVERY Gmail Ad Question You’ll Ever Have.”

A person looking at their phone that they are holding in their hand.
You’ve got mail.

Hold up. Gmail Ads? You’re intrigued.

Why should you read on? We attempt to answer every question that a marketer can ever think of when it comes to Gmail Ads. Whether you have one question or a million, read on to find out everything you’ll ever want to know!

We are adding new questions and answers all the time, so subscribe to get updates to this article to your inbox or browser.

Gmail Ads: EVERY Question and Answer (Updated August 16, 2018)

Q: Why should I care about Gmail Ads?

A: First of all, nearly 205 billion emails are sent per day throughout the world.


That’s a lot of emails in your inbox. This equates to plenty of impressions.

However, not a lot of marketers view Gmail Ads as a profitable channel.

Gmail ads are often neglected because it is poorly understood.

Don’t worry – once you read on, you’ll be able to master Gmail Ads and get this cheap and efficient channel working for you.

Q: What are Gmail ads?

A: Gmail ads are a sub-type of display ads on Google AdWords.

Unlike AdWords, it focuses on audience and customer lists over keywords.

When targeting users for Gmail ads, it’s not about what you’re looking for – it’s who you are.

When a user is searching up a keyword on Google, they are looking for a specific solution to a problem.

Let’s say you search “plumber.” You are specifically looking for a plumber to fix a leak because your toilet exploded and is leaking an ominous brown liquid everywhere.

Now let’s see the other side of the equation: when targeting a user through an audience list, it is based on who they are and how they behave.

This means your goal is to capture their attention to interact with your ad, even if they weren’t searching for it.

For example, an audience list of high income earners might react well to an ad selling top of the line bathroom fixtures (such as as a golden toilet, which actually exists).

Q: Do Gmail Ads really work?

A: You’re jaded. We get it.

Everyone is trying to sell inventory of low quality display ads that don’t drive results.

Gmail ads have the power to drive results: marketers need to do the below steps:

    • Have a strong testing plan in place. It may take you 18 tries to crack profitability, so it takes perseverance.
    • Create a plethora of targeted audience lists to test
  • Create multiple ad creatives specifically targeted to each audience

Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP) ads have the potential to be better than traditional display ads.

They are housed in the “Promotions” folder, so users who are looking there are likely already in the mood to be looking for something that interests them.

A phone screen displaying a Gmail ad.
Example of a Gmail Sponsored Ad.

Gmail Ads have a slick visual presentation – they closely mimic the native look of emails and allow for flexible graphical and HTML based ad units.

Also, you don’t have to worry about a banner popping and irritating the hell out of the user as they are a rare combination of appearing top of the fold while remaining low key.

Q: Who do I target for Gmail Ads?

A: Gmail ads are all about audience targeting with customer lists.

You’ll get better results when you strategically segment your audiences vs. letting Gmail Ads target large, unfocused audiences

How do you this? Follow the below steps:

    • Create audiences from existing customers
    • Create audiences from people who have not converted yet but who have heard of your brand
  • Identify and create specific personas based on audience and affinity interest research

Here’s an example.

If you’re selling cosmetic brushes, one of your best customers might be “Jane.”

A profile of your desired customer with a description of their age, interest, occupation, and favorite store.
Create customers like Jane

Who is Jane? She is age 25, works as a social media manager, highly interested in cosmetics, and her favorite stores include Sephora and Ulta.

Your Gmail ad should be shown to the audience list Jane belongs to:

A person's audience description based on topics and their demographics.
Utilize tools to find data for audience lists.

Q: What are Google’s custom audience?

A: Custom audiences allow anyone to target audiences based on who they are, their interests, how they interacted with your business, and what they are searching for on Google. This is a feature that enables marketers with another opportunity to create low-cost conversions. Sometimes even at a fraction of an ordinary keyword campaign. 

Now let’s get into it. There are 2 ways to create your custom audience.

The first method is the auto-generated method. You allow Google’s algorithm to create the audience. This is definitely great for anyone that is new to Adwords and for those that need to set up their campaign in a hurry.

Then there is the do it yourself (DIY) method. You would use keywords and URLs to create an audience. The DIY method allows for more customization but requires a greater knowledge of Adwords.

Q: What are Gmail’s targeting options?

A: It goes without saying that Google collects an astounding amount of information on its users. To the marketer’s advantage, these data points are fed into algorithms to predict how likely someone is to purchase and track specific user details such as search history and life events. 

That’s cool and all, but how does that help you?

With Adwords, you can take advantage of  Google’s stored information and run Gmail ads that highly relevant to your customers based on their purchase intent as determined by Google. 

Who doesn’t want more tools to generate more conversions? The answer is obviously everyone.

Here is what you need. These are 6 options that you can utilize:

Affinity Audience

Affinity audiences are preset audiences that Google provides for you. They are created by various personas and interests that Google categorizes a customer. For example, a person searching “local coffee shop” every week will most likely be placed in the affinity audience ” Coffee Shop Regulars.” 

This would be the perfect target for let’s say, a subscription based DTC coffee company.

 In-Market Audience

Google allows marketers to target customers that are actively searching for your brand. In-market audiences are typically customers that are browsing similar products from different companies.  These are warm customers with a high chance of purchasing.  

Custom Intent

You can now target audiences based on their Chrome history, YouTube search history, and app install data. Marketers choose URLs and keywords that your customers are interested in and Google will do the rest. 

Life Events

People know how important certain life events are — such as weddings. They are not afraid to spend a lot of money to make these events perfect.

But why are life events important to marketers?

There are businesses that can perfectly complement these life events. Which wedding doesn’t have flowers and food? Every wedding definitely needs florists and caterers. 

 Life event customer targeting allows marketers to help these business find the perfect audience that are celebrating these life events. Google’s algorithm tries to advertise to customers they believe are going through these specific life events.

Similar Audiences

Similar audience targeting is exactly what it sounds like. Just like its name, Google will help you find more people who are similar to your current customer list. This audience targeting technique is great if you already have a high converting customer base.

Demographic Targeting

Demographic targeting allows marketers to choose their audiences’ age group, gender, parental status, education, homeownership, marital status, occupation, and household income. 

Q: How do you feel about expanded targeting?

A: Google is constantly trying to promote its automated ad features in order to make Adwords easy to use for everyone, but this is not always a good thing. Be careful when you use this setting because you’re essentially loosening the reins on your targeting. 

Of course, the use case will vary whether you’re utilizing a prospecting audience and a remarketing list.

For example, if you’re targeting a remarketing list and allow for expanded targeting, keep in mind that the expanded targeting WILL generate top of the funnel prospecting traffic. This dirties your retargeting data. 

It is definitely a great place to start out but use it sparingly.

Q: What tools can I use for Gmail Ad audience research?

A: While building out audience lists can be difficult, there are tools to help make things easier.

One of our favorite, free tools is to utilize Facebook’s Audience Insights tool: its algorithm can really simplify the process.

Facebook will create audience lists based on their interests, shopping habits, and others.

Useful, right?

Selecting Audience Insights from Facebook Business Manager.

You can find the useful tool in Facebook’s Business Manager.

Utilize the data shown on the “demographics”  page:

Demographics page of Facebook Business Manager with the categories age and gender, relationship status, and education level highlighted.

This allows you to create powerful audiences with data from people who have interacted with your page.

Dive deeper with the tool and you can retrieve extremely useful information.

Another tool is our trusty friend, Google Analytics.

You can’t go wrong with digging up critical information like demographics of your customers and what SKUs are hot.

Handy data from Google Analytics would be demographics and interests to help build customer lists.

Demographics and interests can be found under the Audience tab.

Demographic overview with a bar graph of age and pie chart of gender from Facebook Business Manager.
Demographics found on Google Analytics.
Percentage of the audiences' interests separated by affinity category and in-market segment on Facebook Business Manager.
Interests found on Google Analytics.

Q: What are some ideas for building out audiences?

A: Another method to build more audience lists is creating your own.

One tip is to think of your target demographic. If your target is male, age 20-35, located in Southern California, think about what their interests might be. They could be interested in beach activities, hiking trails, running, etc. By targeting activities that are relatable to that target demo, you might be able to expand your reach that way!

Another example can be to build out retargeting audiences. Customers might visit your website, take a look, and then leave without ever purchasing. These are the customers who are more likely to purchase – they should be your first approach.

There are multiple angles to build your audiences, don’t be afraid to explore and get creative. 

After building out your effective audience lists, start testing with various GSP ad types.

Q: How do I know what works best?

A: Good question. Only one way to find out is with lots of testing!

You can try creating different subject lines, preview texts, teaser copy, creatives, catalog images, and I could keep going on. Every industry will be different and the “best” in one industry, might not work as well in another.

A/B testing is extremely important here.

Q: How do I know if my ad is working efficiently?

A: A crucial step for GSP ads is to A/B test each ad, as mentioned above.

This allows you to see which subject line and description is hitting the jackpot.

You want the winning combo of ad type, copy, and creative.

You can monitor the success of all combinations through “gmail clicks to website” column in AdWords.

The first metric you’ll need to look at is your “open rate.” This is shown as the CTR % in the Adwords interface. You’ll want open rates that are comparable to high quality emails (10%+). If this is low, then you’ll want to continually A/B test the subject lines and make sure they cater to your target audience.

Secondly, you’ll want to examine your actual creative “CTR %.” You can monitor the success of this via the “Gmail clicks to website” column in AdWords. Here’s a screenshot of where you can add it:

Adwords metric with Gmail clicks to website section highlighted.
Add “Gmail Clicks to Website” column like this

You’ll then want to figure out the CTR % of your ad creative w/ the following formula: “Gmail Clicks to Website / Clicks.” This will inform you about how effective your ad creative is. If this is not at least 1% (as a baseline), you’ll need to make your ads stronger either in presentation, copy or design.

Lastly, once those metrics are healthy you’ll want to optimize for your ultimate goal whether it be CPA or ROAS.

Q: What is Gmail Ads “clicks to website” and why does it matter?

A: Gmail “clicks to website” indicates how many times users expanded the ad.

There is conversion rate and also “true” conversion rate.

“True” conversion rate is the key to finding your A+ ads.

To find your true conv. Rate, you need to divide gmail “clicks to website” by regular clicks (collapsed ad/subject line).

This informs you of the actual traffic landing on your website.

Q: What copy is needed for great Gmail Ads?

A: Gmail ads are made of two parts for copy.

Subject line and Description.

All Gmail ads appear in “collapsed” format on the top of user’s inbox.

The subject line needs to hit hard being the first thing users see.

After convincing the user to click the email, it will launch the “expanded” format.

“Expanded” format displays the entire ad including graphics and strong description copy.

Q: How should the copy sound when writing Gmail text?

A: Gmail ads copy should be parallel to AdWords ads.

Put value propositions in the beginning, again A/B testing to see which works best.

One tip is to use value props like shipping and price for better results.

Don’t forget good ad copy skills like emotional triggers, strong hooks, etc.

Also, always add a call to action button at the end.

If you’re looking for more help on how to write killer ad copy, check out this guide:

You should mix up different tones and emotions to see which work better with your audience.

If the ad is not getting the results you want, switch up the product you’re testing.

Some products might do better than others.

Consistently test your ads to find the best combo with strong results.

Q: How do I write good headlines for Gmail Ads?

A: Avoid extreme and out of proportion headlines.

You don’t want your user to expand the ad expecting an outrageous offer and not find it.

This will lead to disappointment.

For example, if the headline reads “70% Off Boots, Shop Now,” the user will expect a huge discount.

If the ad is not mirroring the headline offer, the user will have a negative experience and exit.

When something like this occurs, it will ruin your ROAS as Gmail Ads are technically charged by impressions.

This is because the moment they click to expand your ad, your account is charged.

Be wise with what you say and don’t throw away money with useless impressions.

Q: What are Gmail Ad examples of strong ad copy?

A: Instead of a headline like “70% Off Boots,” a better ad would be “$50 boots, now $15.”

This allows the user to understand that the boots are on sale for a specific price. Clear and exact, it avoids disappointment and false hope.

Here’s a different example:

Gmail ad for Blue Apron with a promise of a discount.
Example of strong ad copy.

The headline specifically reads “$50 Offer,” which gives the exact promotion offer. A Gmail Ad setup like this ensures that the user will not be led into confusion or false promotion after expanding the GSP ad.

Q: How do I keep track of all my Gmail Ad performance?

A: Quite simple, document everything!

Keep all the results tidy and documented.

Track all ad builds including ad types, copy, creatives, etc.

This will allow you to analyze each result based on conversion rate and “true” conversion rate.

Use this documentation to understand how well each test is performing and compare results of each round.

Every piece of data matters when finding your successful ad combos.

Use this template to efficiently organize your results: Gmail Results Template.

Q: How can I improve Gmail Ad performance?

A: Never stop refining.

You’ll see improvement in ad performance by consistently maintaining your ads.

Be on track of trends that are evolving.

You want to stay relevant with your audience.

Your target audiences can change so you need to constantly check who you’re targeting.

Don’t lose momentum by sending irrelevant ads.

Be adaptive and remain present.

Q: What is Target CPA and how/when would you use it?

A: Target CPA is the desired CPA you set so Google does everything it can to reach it.

This can be used in the method of target CPA bidding if needed.

I would suggest utilizing target CPA to make incremental gains and test out Google’s algorithm once you have a decent volume of conversions.

You can then make custom improvements from those target CPA biddings to reach your desired results.

Q: How do you make money on Gmail Ads??

A: Make your Gmail ads spectacular with the backing of superb analytics.

Take what you learned from all the questions asked above and put them into action.

Practice makes perfect.

Start with building out strong audience lists, devise killer ad copy, test, test, test, analyze results, and do a celebratory dance for reaching your target ROAS!

A screen with the Gmail logo with a man in a suit jumping over a stack of coins while holding onto a briefcase and balloons.
Make bank with Gmail Ads!

Q: Okay, great! How do I set up a Gmail Sponsored Ad in Google AdWords?

A: Head on over to Google AdWords.

    1. Click on campaigns and press the “+” button to create a new campaign.
Campaign button highlighted on Adwords.
Add new campaign.
  1. Click “New Campaign” and choose “Sales.”
Sales goal option selected on Adwords.
Select “sales” as the goal.
  • Then choose “Display” for campaign type and “Gmail campaign” for sub-type.
  • Display ad option and Gmail campaign selected on Adwords.
    Select campaign type and subtype.
    • Now that you have a campaign set up for Gmail ads, you can create a gmail ad.
    • Click on “Ads & Extensions” on the left column.
    • Click on the “+” button to create a new add and choose “Gmail Ad.”
    Gmail ad option highlighted in the category ads and extensions on Adwords.
    Create Gmail ad in campaign.
  • Fill in these boxes and you have successfully set up a Gmail Ad!
  • A form to fill out to create a Gmail ad on Adwords.

    You are preparing for the biggest meeting of your life.

    Your boss is demanding ad copy.

    Not just any ad copy.

    It needs to amaze. Inspire. SELL!

    Suddenly, sweat drips down your face.

    You’re slamming your keyboard now, desperately searching for help online.

    You are suddenly feeling very small.

    Don’t worry.

    We got your back.

    We’re here to help (no sweat).

    So why is ad copy such a vital part of online marketing?

    Google is a blood strewn battleground of competitors –  you’ll need the right strategies to make it on top.

    Your job as a marketer is to crush those competitors.

    How do you knock your competitors out of the way, you might ask?

    You’ll need to be equipped with the right techniques to devise eye-catching ad copy that will stand out from the rest.

    You’re not simply going to write great copy – you need to get into the shoes of your customers and understand everything
    that motivates them, drives them, and ultimately triggers them to make a purchase.

    Let’s take a look at these steps that will act as your ad copy bible.

    Table Of Contents


    STEP ONE: Find and target your user’s objectives for Google Adwords ads
    STEP TWO: Nail the Headline
    STEP THREE: Wow them with your description/body
    STEP FOUR: Utilize emotional triggers
    STEP FIVE: Importance of display URLs

    STEP ONE: Find and target your user’s objectives for Google Adwords ads.

    Understand your user inside and out.

    There are multiple types of people or personas.
    Let’s go into detail here.

    How do you figure out your user personas?

    1. Do some market research.

    You can gauge details of your user by using tools like surveys, interviews, and polls on social media channels.

    Another way to find out details of your user is scoping out your competitors. How are they talking and interacting with
    their consumers?

    2. Check your website’s analytics.

    There is valuable data inside your site’s analytics. It reveals essential information for creating your personas like
    search terms that led them to your ad and what device they are used to get there.

    Now that you found some pieces to your persona puzzle, let’s build them out.

    P.I.P.: Persona Identification Process.
    Let’s engrave this process into your head, so whenever you need to understand your audience, the P.I.P. will easily guide
    you through it. The P.I.P. will include these components:

    Name your persona

    This will help you differentiate your multiple personas and build unique ad copy to fit each one.


    • What is their job title?
    • What is their company like? (size, industry, etc.)


    • Age
    • Gender
    • Income
    • Location
    • Level of Education
    • Family Size


    • Primary and secondary goals
    • How will you help them reach their goals
    • Problems
    • How will you solve these problems
    • Interests
    • Dislikes

    Here’s an example persona for someone searching for “sell car.”

    Template for an audience persona.
    P.I.P. Template


    Assistant Project Manager at a mid-size apparel company.


    • 35 years old
    • Male
    • $65,000 Annual Income
    • Southern California, Suburban Region
    • Bachelor’s Degree
    • Married, Two young children


    • Goals: Sell a car in the most effective and profitable way
    • Problems: Find the easiest and quickest way to sell a car for cash
    • How can we help: Give instant estimate, Pick up the car, Give cash quick.

    Now that you have this template for creating your personas, it will be much easier for your ad copy to cater to their
    exact needs.

    Moving forward, let’s think of the five W’s (who, what, where, when, why) when analyzing this person.

    “Who”- Who is this person? Think of their possible occupation, interests, dislikes, and so on. Drew is a 35-year-old
    man with hair quickly turning white due to his chaotic days with two young children. He’s a full-time worker and
    a full-time family man, facing various situations from day to day. His new big problem, sell his car.

    “What” – What is their goal? Tap into what they are trying to achieve in the end.

    Drew’s day usually includes work, taking care of the children, and spending time with the family, with no time to waste.
    His goal is to sell his car in the most immediate and profitable way.

    “Where and When” – What device are they using when searching and where are they geographically located?

    For Drew, he is searching for solutions mainly through his mobile device since he is always on the go, whether he’s at
    his son’s soccer practice or out for lunch with his co-workers. His geographic location is California, USA. You can
    now modify your ad copy to appeal to these aspects.

    “Why” – This can be parallel to their goal, but let’s pinpoint why they are looking for a solution.

    In Drew’s case, he is unfamiliar with the car selling process and doesn’t know which service is the best. Therefore,
    he is searching for trustworthy guidance and a helpful hand (you.)

    With the solid knowledge of your personas, let’s process that information into a personable ad copy.

    Here’s an example of ad copy for “sell car.”

    An example of a Google search ad copy about selling cars.
    Examples of effective ad copy for specific personas.

    These two ads give the user easy-to-follow solutions to their problem of selling a car. The first ad gives concise answers

    “Get An Instant Estimate, Pick Up Your Car, Get A Check.”

    Then guide the user into understanding how each persona has different 5x Ws and the ad copy should reflect that.

    It simply tells the user that their company’s services will bring them to the end goal (get a check/money.)

    These companies have a clear image of their user.

    They are utilizing specific benefits like

    “Get An Instant Estimate Now,”

    “Sell Car Quick,”


    “Highest Payout.”

    Each benefit is fitting the mold to the persona who wants to sell their car fast, hassle-free, and for good money.

    STEP TWO: Nail the Headline.

    Now let’s get into the greeter of our ad copy; the headline.

    More people simply read the headline more than the body.

    It is the first thing people see – make it memorable!

    text bubbles with examples of hook words.
    Example of different hook words.

    Hooks– Snatch the user’s attention with enticing hooks.

    • What exactly is a hook? It’s something that grabs someone’s attention.
    • The hook should explain the value of your offer, to make the user read on.
    • You can learn more about hooks here:
      How to write copywriting hooks for AdWords
    • Use grabbers like “Who else wants…” (implies an already existing desire) or “The secret of…” (instills that you
      are sharing insider knowledge)

    Statistics & Numbers– Integrate this into your headline to differentiate yourself from other ads.

    • This acts as strong, factual motivators to help your user believe what you’re selling.
    • Numbers and statistics make users believe that your service is better than the competitors. Check this example
    • A user is searching “photo prints” and multiple companies include stats in their headline.
    Google search ad copy about photo prints with the percentage off in their headlines.
    Examples of utilizing statistics and numbers in headline to increase engagement.

    Snapfish strategically inserts “Up to 70% Off” to trigger the user to feel like they are getting a big discount.

    Walgreens’ ad also states “40% Off Photo Prints,” implying that there is a special sale.

    The majority of users comparing these four different services would easily pick Snapfish and Walgreens over the other two
    because of the simple inserts of percentages.

    Wouldn’t you go for the ad with a sale going on?

    Keywords– Incorporate your top keywords.

    • Utilize your top performing keywords in the headline so it appears in the searches.
    • Be cautious and don’t spam the ad with these keywords.

    Two words: Scent. Trail.

    • What is this? When we use search engines, there’s typically a specific direction we’re looking to go. Users
      then tend to engage most with ads that easily take you on the right path.
    • You want the headline to smoothly lead them to your description. Then the description should be the final push to
      have them click through.

    Let me guide you through this example:

    An example of a bad ad copy with Cox offering to win a trip to Scotland.
    Example of showcasing scent trail gone wrong.

    When you first look at the headline “Enter to win a trip to Scotland from Cox!,” you expect the body to be about how
    you can win a trip to Scotland, right?

    Well… Clearly, there is no correlation in the body content with the headline.

    This has no clear scent trail.

    At this point, your user is confused and will immediately disengage.

    Now let’s look at an ad with good scent trail.

    Google search ad from Sephora.
    Example utilizing effective scent trail to enhance user’s experience.

    Here’s an ad for “makeup brush.” The headline clearly states what we are looking for, “makeup brushes & cosmetic
    brushes.” Now the user will want to continue reading.

    This description is spot on with the topic and provides the user with the information they want, leading them to click through
    and continue shopping.

    Learn more about the scent trail concept here:

    STEP THREE: Wow them with your description/body.

    Now that the headline is settled, let’s focus on the meat of the ad copy; the description.

    A quick way to vamp up the first description line is ending with a punctuation mark.

    • This grants the ad extra pulling power.
    • If you use punctuation, it can elongate your headline when your ad places in the top three spots.

    Next, promote readability.

    • Utilize easy to comprehend, short, and broken sentences.

    Check this out, what ad is easier on the eyes?

    Google search ad from
    Example of ad with easy to read copy.


    Google search ad from Expedia.
    Example of ad with clustered text.

    The first ad has short, simple sentences like “Price Guarantee. No Cancellation Fee.”

    It’s quick to read and straight to the point.

    The second ad looks a little more clustered and makes it harder on the eyes since it looks like a big chunk of text.

    With that said, try to stay away from chunking up your text.

    Next, focus on your benefits.

    step by step process to increase performance in  ad copy.
    Steps to increase performance in ad copy.

    Tell them how your brand/product will improve their lives.

    • The user only cares about how you can make their lives easier.
    • Again, apply stats and #s when possible.
    • Be specific on how you will help them, don’t be too vague.

    Be personal; use “you”

    • You are talking directly to the user.
    • This gives off a friendly and intimate attitude.
    • Make them feel like they have a relationship with you and can trust you.

    Include converting keywords in text

    • Just like in the headline, target those high performing keywords and integrate them in the text.
    • Again, be aware of spamming the text with keywords.

    The order of the text matters as well.

    • The most important information should be at the front and the least important should be at the end.
    Google search ad copy from Elf Cosmetics.
    Example of ad with efficiently structured text.
    • In the example above, this ad description is structured well since the first sentence captures the user’s
      attention with clear information about makeup brushes they offer.
    • The next sentence is a call to action which should be at the end.

    STEP FOUR: Utilize emotional triggers

    Emotions are vital components to making strong ad copy.

    Use anger, disgust, excitement, fear, etc. to get a powerful response.

    A person changing to different emotions such as sad, happy, and angry.

    We have to understand that most consumers are driven by emotion, not just logic.

    • The use of emotions like belonging should make them feel like they are part of something bigger.
    • The emotional trigger of fear should instill a sense of danger if they do not take action.

    Overall, make the user feel something, allowing them to connect with you.

    Triggers- Research what triggers your targeted user.

    • Think about the specific details of your personas.
    • Envision what emotions will work best with them, based on their personalities.
    • Considering what service or product you’re offering, you can choose emotions based on that as well.
    • Remember what you include in your ad can trigger them to feel a specific way.
    • The trigger will lead to them to have an emotional reaction and click through.

    Here’s an example: These two ads are both for “Hydroflask.”

    2 examples of Hydroflask Google search ad.
    Examples of ineffective and effective ad copy regarding emotional effects.

     The first ad copy is extremely bland and no emotional connection, whatsoever.

    However, the second copy uses strong emotions with punch words like “tough as hell” and keeps it personal by using “your.”
    The ad leaves a lasting impression unlike the other.

    This makes the ad copy highly compelling.

    An important emotional trigger you need to know: FOMO

    A person in front of his computer worried because a sale is ending in 19 hours 30 minutes and 12 seconds.
    Example of FOMO is online sale countdown.

    FOMO = fear of missing out

    This emotion causes a sense of feeling left out or missing out on something important.

    The result of this emotion is the act of them engaging in your ad.

    • This is a type of loss aversion to persuade users to convert

    A simple way to implement FOMO is a countdown timer; run in real time.

    • The timer provides a sense of panic and time running out.
    • By instilling time limits, the user thinks they will lose out if they don’t act now.

    Other tactics include copy like: “Sale is almost ending, only one hour left”

    • Creates fear of missing out on opportunity
    • Adding text like “low on stock” or “almost sold out” relays powerful emotional reactions.

    STEP FIVE: Importance of display URLs

    You want unique, keyword-rich display urls.

    What are display URLs?

    • The display URL is the URL shown in your ad.

    This URL obviously shows the user that they will be sent to a landing page on hotels.

    The display URL can be different from the destination URL.

    When utilized correctly, it can improve click through rates.

    Display URLs serve two purposes: Be something more related to the ad copy subject AND contain your top keywords.

    You can include top keywords in display URLs even if it’s not included in your destination URL.

    If the URL is specific to the user’s desire, it will make them believe the landing page will take them to what they’re
    looking for.

    It also adds a sense of organization and assurance.

    Here’s an example of a display URL:

    This tells the user they will be directly led to a landing page for dog food categorized under beef.

    You made it.

    We reached the end of the learning process, but you’re not done yet.

    What should you do now?

    The best way to engrave these killer steps would be through practice.

    After practice, we need to TEST, TEST, TEST!

    The most important thing to do now is to test your ads. You’re now ready to write compelling and strategic ad copy, but
    now we need to figure out which is working.

    • Ad copy takes multiple tries to get it right and the only way to hit the jackpot is by testing them.
    • Take this to the A/B testing stage.
    • A/B testing various ads will allow you to determine which tactics are successfully working for your campaign.

    Now, the next time you’re asked to take on an ad copy task, relax and tap into your brain. Use these valuable steps to
    help navigate your way and you’ll be deemed as the next ad copy king/queen.

    A person reading a book about "How to Write An Effective Ad Copy." and is inspired.

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      with these steps. Testing your ads will be much easier after you find out what to exactly test.

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