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Aug 30th 2004

Can Gmail Kill Email Marketing?

Read an interesting article yesterday about how Gmail poses a huge threat to traditional email marketing (those annoying, yet legitimate emails, from companies that you have given your email address to).

For example, lets say I enter a contest on American Airlines’ web site. Now they have me email address. Before long they start sending me emails with travel deals.

BUT, here’s the catch. If I signed up with my Gmail account, then when I open up American’s email, three ads appear to the right of the message also advertising travel deals. Why? Because Gmail looks at your email message and displays ads that may be relevant to what the email content is.

So what’s the big deal?

Well, American Airlines is spending money to send me their promotional emails offering their products. But now Gmail could also be showing me ads for competing products.

This is a big drawback to email marketers. Imagine if Coke had to give Pepsi 20% of the TV screen when they ran ads…

If other webmail services start to implement Gmail’s contextual advertising model, this will seriously cramp the style of most email marketers. Hoora! 🙂

One Response to “Can Gmail Kill Email Marketing?”

  1. travis

    i don’t see gmail’s targeted ads killing email advertising for a couple of reasons.

    one, the other advertisers pay a small amount per click, as i understand it. admittedly, this is just a few cents, but these can surely add up to equal or surpass the cost of producing an email advertisement. and in many cases, as in travel and many consumer goods, we’re trying to get the best deal available. i welcome gmail’s ads because, if anything, they’re increasing the competitiveness of the market, which will hopefully lower my costs.

    the other reason gmail ads won’t kill email advertising is because no one looks at them. i have used gmail all summer, and i’m yet to so much as glance at one of the ads.

    so overall, while we may not be able to predict how they’ll affect email marketing, i agree that gmail ads are a good thing.