Friday, January 29, 2010

Gmail launches personalized ads

Google's popular mail service, GMail, has launched advertising targeted not just to the particular e-mail message you are reading, but to other e-mails you might have read recently. An excerpt:
Sometimes, there aren't any good ads to match to a particular message. From now on, you'll sometimes see ads matched to another recent email instead.

For example, let's say you're looking at a message from a friend wishing you a happy birthday. If there aren't any good ads for birthdays, you might see the Chicago flight ads related to your last email instead.
It is a significant move toward personalized advertising and, as the Google post notes, is a big change for Google, as they previously "had specified that ads alongside an email were related only to the text of the current message." For example, here, Google says, "Ads and links to related pages only appear alongside the message that they are targeted to, and are only shown when the Google Mail user ... is viewing that particular message."

For more on personalized ads that target not only the current content, but also to previously viewed content that has strong purchase intent, please see my July 2007 post, "What to advertise when there is no commercial intent?"


Jeff Kubina said...

As I read this I wondered how often I clicked a Gmail ad compared to a Search ad, but my Google history does not distinguish between ads I click via a web search or Gmail; still, I don't remember clicking many Gmail ads. Even so, I would be surprised if this added relevancy generated a significant increase in clicks to Gmail ads . My attention when using Gmail is on the message, not the ad. Hence, I wonder if it would be better to create an option to allow a user to forgo the ads next to the email and instead receive an email once a week from Google advertising a few things that are of more potential value to me; further allowing me to rate my interest in the advertised items would help significantly in providing relevant products. However, I think many users would find such advertising too intrusive.

Unknown said...

This is so creepy and annoying. It honestly has almost made me want to go back to hotmail because seeing ads directly related to the private conversation I was just having with a friend just screams, "we're spying on you." What's that you said? So and so is trying to adopt? Learn about overseas adoption here! I appreciate that gmail is a free service and you have to sell ads to provide that. I just with Google could do that without being so obvious about how close they're standing to us.

Quit creeping me out, Gmail. I email people to stay in touch, not buy stuff.

Anonymous said...

if you want to remove ads completely, try google extension called "better gmail" here: