May 19, 2011

Is Gmail stealing your clicks?

First of all I would like to have the chance to express how much I am fond of Gmail (and google services at large) that I use a lot.
However, since the beginning I have wondered what is the proportion of lost clicks on Gmail addresses.
Why would I suspect a lower click rate on Gmail? Simply because Google displays contextual ads on the right of each and every email received on Gmail.
The ad being contextual, I sometimes see ads for (supposedly) better deals than the one advertised in the email I just received.
I have of course investigated but it is quite hard to have consistent measures on this matter since the click rate on the ads will highly depend on the email itself and its content (I assume that an email with mainly text will be better scanned and the ads will be more precise and therefore will gram more clicks).
This must also depend on the kind of product you sell and how likely it is that competitors might buy related adwords.
As a matter of fact, if I haven't found absolute proof that the number of clicks is lower on Gmail, I have noticed that for most of my clients, image only (mainly I should say) artworks tend to have a higher click rate than the ones including a bigger amount of text information.
Again: I will not claim this to be a proof that Gmail is taking clicks away from email advertisers, my questioning will probably never be answered since it would need a full comparison of clicks on the creative and on the ads which is very unlikely to happen some day.

My biggest concern is more "philosophical": is it really fair that when advertisers pay for an email design, email addresses, data management, broadcast (even though it has been proven that email marketing is among the least expensive forms of marketing), knowing also that the "precedence: bulk" parameter in the header indicates that it is an email blast, Google would display ads there?

here is an example of email I received that illustrates my point (you can click on the image to see a bigger version):

As I said in introduction, I am really happy with my Gmail inbox and I am aware that in order for Google to make cash out of this service, they need to get a chance to advertise on the product.
I sometimes even find the contextual ads quite useful when planning a travel or a night out with friends (the ads sometimes give good ideas or help find good deals), my only concern is that these ads are displayed on advertising emails.
It feels to me as if the Tv ads were displayed with a banner for a competitor at the bottom of the screen.
Google announced recently that they were about to increase the quality of these ads in Gmail, for that matter, is it really a good news?

Feb 2, 2011

GoodMail to cease operations

Although there is still no official announcement on the GoodMail website, several legitimate sources have spread the word that the company will cease operations in a few days.

Here is the text which is being sent around:

It is with great regret that I must inform you that Goodmail will cease operations on Tuesday 2/8/11.  We will continue to provide CertifiedEmail tokens until Monday 2/8/11 5pm PST at which time our Token Generators will be taken offline.  Tokens provided between 2/1/11 and 2/7/11 will be free of charge.  All tokens provided during the month of January will be charged at regular rates.
We are working with our ISP partners to accommodate a transition period for your IP addresses so as to decrease the effort required for warm up.  In the meantime, please begin to transition your traffic off of CertifiedEmail.
Please contact customercare if you have any questions.

Since I've never been a very big certification fan (except in some specific cases), I wouldn't say this will rock my (email marketing) world. However, it will be interesting to see in the upcomming months how the former GoodMail clients (if the announcement is true and no one takes the followup) will handle their email strategy in the upcomming weeks.

More information available on the email expert website

Jan 30, 2011

Unsubscribe me !

It's been a long time since I last posted on this blog.
The main reason for this is that I didn't have much time, another  reason is I didn't have much to say.
However, this week I decided to unsubscribe to all the different Newsletters I was subscribed to in france (now living in Canada, these newsletter were not very interesting to me.

I thought unitl now that most of the best practices for unsubscribe processes were respected by all (or most) advertisers. I was wrong.

Out of the - more or less - 50 newsletter processes I had to unsubscribe from, a couple, had a direct unsubscrbe, landing on the confirmation page, most of the unsubscribe links landed on a pre-filled form where I just had to submit.
However, I found out quite a few newsletters where I had to type in my email (which is not too bad) but also 5 newsletters where I had to log in to an account (to which I of course lacked the credentials).
The title going to a couple of newsletters that didn't even have an unsubscribe link.

So, once and for all: Please always have a clear unsubscribe process, the unsubscribe link should ALWAYS be available in the footer of your emails, one should NEVER have to log in on your website to be able to change his email preferences.

If you fail to follow these - simple - advices, you take the risk to get spam complaints, unsatisfied users and geopardize your online reputation (both vs the email providers and the users).