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Advertising in customers’ inboxes

Millions of people use Google’s email service, GMail, including an increasing number of small and even medium sized business. It is brilliant, and I’ve been using it for over five years, so I have tens of thousands of emails all stored safely “in the cloud”, and all instantly searchable from anywhere in the world. Have you ever tried to transfer an Outlook Express mail database to a new PC? You’re welcome to that task. What’s more, my GMail account is the recipient of more than one email address which I own, all neatly gathered up into one inbox. Google also has a (paid-for) version for businesses, and we use that successfully across the company here at BMON.

But enough of that. What I want to draw to your attention today is the way in which Google pays for the GMail service, and that’s by running fairly unobtrusive ads next to the email. These are contextual ads, which means that yes, Google chooses them to be relevant to the content of the email. And it works surprisingly well. If you don’t have a GMail account, but know somebody who does, send them an email about your company’s products, and then take a look at the email (and the ads next to it) on the recipient’s PC.

The ads are AdWords ads, which the advertiser has placed on what Google calls the “Display Network”. From an advertiser’s point of view, I was never that sure what the volume and quality of the response to these ads would be like, but having run AdWords campaigns for clients on the “Display Network” for a couple of years now, I can vouch that the response is usually excellent. I think I’m right in saying that we’re running ads on GMail for every one of our AdWords management clients at the moment. If you’re doing your own thing, it’s worth looking into. Have a read of How To Target Gmail As a Place To Display Your Ads on Search Engine People for starters.

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