Last week Google announced that all images from emails would be cached on Google servers and displayed automatically in emails. This move means more privacy for Gmail users. Emails would also load faster, because all email images are cached on Google’s server and Google’s servers are always faster. Google can even preload all images and make loading of emails even faster.
E-Mails on Gmail would look visually much better. Photos and images are increasingly getting important, the redesign of Facebook news feed and Google+ put images more in focus and there is also the rise of photo centric apps like Instagram. Displaying images in email is just the next natural step.
Marketers on the other hand don’t like the idea of email images being cached, because they cannot get much data about the receiver of an email. Previous to this move by Google email marketers could get much more data about the receiver of the emails. They could get IP address, referrer and user agent of reader of an email, just to mention a few types of data. Marketers can still measure the unique opens of emails, but they don’t get the precious data about users any more.
There are also many concerns that Google just wants to kill email marketing or at least make email marketing less measurable, because Google has no share in email marketing market and they want marketers to spend more on Adwords and less on email marketing.
Google exists because of advertising dollars, but they don’t do e-mail marketing. They’ve just made a competitive form of advertising much less appealing and informative to advertisers. No doubt Google hopes this move pushes marketers to spend less on e-mail and more on Adsense.
I have a completely different Idea, what the real intent of Google behind this move could be.
Sponsored E-Mails – Facebook News Feed style ads on Gmail
I have very bold prognosis. Google could bring native Facebook news feed style ads to Gmail. Imagine an email displaying always above the fold in your Gmail inbox, even if they are from last week.
Promoted or sponsored emails could be highlighted and users would see those emails, even if they are days older, until they read it or delete it. Gmail has over 500 million users and email marketers would pay for those ads.
How could the promoted emails look like?
I made this image to show you how a promoted or sponsored emails would look like, but off course it would look much better.
I know it is a very bold prognosis, but it would be the logical step for Google to monetize Gmail. Gmail has over 5000 users and Google could build the largest platform for email marketing.
If my prognosis becomes reality, Google could boost email marketing and also change the face of email marketing toward a content driven and visually appealing form.
Follow me on @wrahim