How To Opt Out Of Gmail's Emailed Ads

Gmail users who have switched to the new tabbed interface are getting Google ads in their inboxes. Here are two quick ways to get rid of them.

Kristin Burnham, Senior Editor,

July 24, 2013

3 Min Read

Google Apps To Microsoft Office 365: 10 Lessons

Google Apps To Microsoft Office 365: 10 Lessons

Google Apps To Microsoft Office 365: 10 Lessons(click image for larger view and for slideshow)

Google first announced its new inbox design, which groups your email into categorized tabs such as "Primary," "Social" and "Promotions," two months ago. The new look, it said, would put "you back in control using simple, easy organization."

But Gmail users who've switched to this new layout have discovered a sneaky piece of mail appearing in their inbox: ads disguised as emails that appear above your email subscriptions. These paid messages, which land in your Promotions inbox, look just like any other email but are denoted by the small word "Ad" with an information icon just below the name of the sender.

When you click one of these messages, you're either sent to another website or shown a pop-up ad. It also gives you the option to forward it or dismiss it. Google says it does not share your contact information with advertisers; rather, this is a new placement for the ads that traditionally appeared in the margins of your inbox.

[ Nervous about the latest Gmail changes? Read Gmail Inbox Update: Hopes And Fears. ]

"Instead of ads always appearing at the top of your inbox, they've been relegated to a more appropriate place in your Promotions category. In addition, we've raised the quality of these ads and won't show you an ad unless it's relevant -- which means you may sometimes see no ads at all in your Promotions tab," Google said in a statement.

If you haven't yet switched to the new Gmail interface -- or you reverted to the old design -- you won't receive these advertisement emails. But if you have the new interface and aren't interested in receiving these messages, there are two easy ways to opt out. Here's how to do it.

1. How To Get Rid of Ads From A Specific Company.

A quick and easy solution if Google is sending you irrelevant ads is to click the X in each message to make it go away. You won't receive additional ads from that provider. Use this option if you don't mind receiving the emails and want to "teach" Google which ads are relevant to you. "We are always looking for more ways to deliver you the most useful and relevant ads -- for example, we may use your Google search queries on the Web, the sites you visit, Google Profile, +1's and other Google Account information to show you more relevant ads in Gmail," Google said. "Ad targeting in Gmail is fully automated, and no humans read your email or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements or related information."

2. How To Disable The "Promotions" Inbox.

Your second option is to remove the Promotions inbox tab from your view. If you do so, promotional emails from businesses such as Groupon or Macy's will appear in your Primary inbox, just like it did before you were switched to the new design.

To remove the Promotions inbox, navigate to your Settings page by clicking the gear icon on the top-right of your inbox. Choose the "Configure Inbox" option.

On the page that appears, uncheck the box next to Promotions and click Save. This will remove the Promotions tab from your Gmail view.

About the Author(s)

Kristin Burnham

Senior Editor,

Kristin Burnham currently serves as's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and, most recently as senior writer. Kristin's writing has earned an ASBPE Gold Award in 2010 for her Facebook coverage and a Min Editorial and Design Award in 2011 for "Single Online Article." She is a graduate of Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights