Adding Gmail to Google Search: A marketing dream or disaster?

What exactly will the integration of Gmail into Google Search results mean for the marketing world?

It’s way too early to tell just yet, since Google only announced atrial of this integration recently. The company will allow about amillion Gmail users to test this new function first and give theirfeedback before it gets widely rolled out later.

Here’s how it works: when a Gmail user is looking up something onGoogle Search, emails within their personal Gmail account will also beincluded in that search. So for example, if you type “Air Canada” intoGoogle Search, any email content about the Canadian airline that’s inyour Gmail account will also be included in your search results.

It could be useful in sort of synching up relevant content from the twosources. For example, the above search for “Air Canada” would bring upe-ticket information for an Air Canada flight you’ve booked, plus thelatest flight delay or labour unrest alerts at Air Canada that mayaffect whether your flight gets cancelled or leaves on time.

The inclusion of Gmail content in Google searchesmeans companies willprobably place a renewed emphasis on using email campaigns for directmarketing, said Adam Bunn, director of SEO at Greenlight, anindependent digital marketing agency in London, England.

“It’s pretty obvious that email marketing can jump on this as anopportunity,” Bunn said in a news release.

He added, however, that the effectiveness of using Gmail as a marketingtool may fizzle over time once companies realize they have no controlover whether their outgoing messages end up in Gmail users’ trashfolders. Since most people delete or mark marketing emails as spam,this may not be a more effective tool for corporate messaging afterall, Bunn said.

Gmail as an SEO traffic sucker
There’s also a chance that Gmail could end up drawing SEO traffic awayfrom marketing campaigns posted on Google. How? If you do a GoogleSearch on “Lady Gaga” and end up reading an old personal email aboutthe singer instead of clicking on Lady Gaga marketing content locatedon Google Search, your Gmail content will actually compete with similarpaid SEO content on Google.

“This will swell the number of visits to sites that can’t be tracked tothe keyword level due to logged in users appearing as ‘not provided’ orsimilar in Google analystics,” Bunn said.

Marketers can deploy certain big data technology such as Hydra’s OnePlatform to override that type of SEO glitch, however, he said.

The Gmail Google Search game is just getting started. Should beinteresting to see how it affects the worlds of marketing and SEO.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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