Gmail’s soft sell gets me every time…

While doing a little research on what began as social media, ended (link after link later) at this AdWeek article – “Nielsen: Social Nets Overtake E-mail”. The subtext noted that advertisers need to find new ways to capitalize on social networking sites because the “push” mode is no longer successful. Ironically, Caster’s team was having a similar conversation on Monday as it relates to PR metrics and delivering measurable ROI to clients participating in social media efforts. We’re all working on it.

Professionaly, I get it. Now, more than ever, we all need to provide measurable results. Personally, I cringed reading the article thinking that my guilty pleasure of FB (for personal use only – yes, I am that person who ignores even my aunt’s friend request) would be infiltrated with advertisements. Then it occurred to me…

Do you know what site, that I visit daily, prompts me to buy most of my online purchases? My Gmail account. The GENIUS targeted ads of Gmail. I’m sure you’ve all seen the AdSense program at work on Google.com, but the ads within my inbox are really what get me. Have you seen them? It is as if even the trained eye that moves stealthy around banner ads cannot seem to skip over them without a second consideration to click.

If you do not have a Gmail account, the Gmail service scans individual messages for cues, interests and then displays relevant links from Google’s endless index of web pages. The links are only displayed within that particular message and are “selected solely for their helpfulness.” For the record, my shopping cart find them “helpful”, my bank account, on the other hand, not so much.

It’s a soft sell. So soft, in fact, that when I’ve asked other Gmail users about the targeted ad links displayed on the top of each message and at least half of them had not even noticed! I don’t know how that is possible and I do realize that sharing that respondents have not noticed Gmail ads is not proving my point, however, I find these FREE ads FAR more effective than any other internet advertising programs I have encountered and even look for them!

For the record Twitter and FB, I would welcome this advertising method in any of my personal or business accounts.

Would love to hear what others think of these ads. Also, I hear that kshort@castercomm.com is a “helpful” link for editors covering home theaters, flat panel displays and mounts, or projection screens. I kid. 🙂

Posted by: katie | find me on twitter

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