GMail Changes Ad Display Rules – Now What?

Google is changing the game for email marketers – again. They’ve reconfigured their ad-delivery mechanism to bring GMail users fewer, better-targeted ads. That they’ve changed some code is not a big deal. That they’ve further honed their Priority Inbox technology to drive targeted content is.

Priority Inbox is already a turbocharged email engagement algorithm designed to funnel only the inbound emails that are most likely to be opened to the reader’s immediate attention. Everything else goes to the regular ole’ inbox. It’s not in the junk folder, but more like email purgatory.

Well, Google figures, if you can make a piece of code do that, you can certainly make it prioritize the ads that display while a reader uses GMail.

Now, as an email marketer, you may think, this changes nothing for your campaign strategy. You’re going to continue sending well-segmented, highly relevant emails to your best audiences. Right? And you’re going to run ads in Adwords that carry the same keywords so when your readers engage you, they also see your ads. Right?

Oh, wait a minute. That sounds like quite a coup. And some high-volume online marketers will probably get away with it. It’s also likely that your email will trigger your competitor’s ad, or something relevant but in a hilariously negative way. Fun.

The bottom line: There’s nothing you can do to change that, but just know that if your reader opened your email, it’s a step up from an ad impression. You can try to think a step ahead of your competition and stuff your email with new, trend-inducing keywords they can’t use. A lot of market-leaders have taken exactly that path, and transformed not only their companies but the industries they operate in.

When you ‘own’ a keyword, it means people automatically think of you when they see or hear that keyword. A nice spot to be in. Google’s recent changes to GMail should only encourage you to think a step ahead. Relevance is not enough to drive email engagement. Leadership is the new bar.

Watch Google’s video:

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