I remember fondly the technology of 2003. Google Adwords didn't really exist yet, Facebook wasn't really a huge thing, MySpace kind of was, and there definitely was no Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat or LinkedIn.

I mean, I like things now, WAY BETTER, but having just graduated from college and needing a way for all 15 of my best friends and I to stay in touch, there clearly was only two options:

1. A cute forum/message board website that my friend Todd Herman built for our group of friends to communicate, called Panacea. I never used it, but about 5-6 of us did.


2. This new email platform that just launched by Google, called "Gmail."

All of us newly graduated college students gravitated to it because right before it launched, as we were all leaving school trying to figure out ways to stay in touch with our extended network, we'd say "yo, what's your (g)-mail?" you know, just 'cause it sounded cooler than saying "email."

Yep, we were those guys. Anyway, long story short, as all 15 of us entered into the professional world, we'd spend about 1-2 hours a day at work, just going back and forth on the real Gmail. Google's new email platform.

The conversation strings, and searchability, were the differentiators for us.

As a group of 15 dudes, we could remember something stupid or ridiculous someone else had said, then search for it, find it (better than in Yahoo or Hotmail), and send it back to them.

Then, after using it religiously in the first couple years, we started to notice that whatever we were talking about in our conversation strings, advertisements for those exact products and services would start to appear at the top and side bars of our email strings.

It was creepy/awesome.

I remember as a marketer thinking, THIS IS GENIUS. SO LEGIT.

Do you remember this?

Well, it's NOT that way anymore. Gmail Advertising has changed a ton since then. AdHawk, a well respected Google Adwords Management Company, has broken it down really well recently in a recent blog, and a recent downloadable whitepaper PDF.

To be honest, I skimmed the blog and didn't really read the whitepaper, but the fact that AdHawk seems to believe it this (2018 Email Advertising?) got me thinking, without looking at the data, and without trying it (weird for me, I know), does this even make sense.

I mean, SO MANY of us are simply reading emails on our phones, and while I've written before about how email marketing penetrates the Gmail Promotions Filter on native phone email apps, making it a great play, the Promotions Tab Ads (where Gmail Ads ONLY exist now), don't have a single presence on native mobile phone mail apps, sooooooo, where's the visibility?

Here's what AdHawk says in the piece linked to above:

Why are Gmail sponsored promotions effective?

Google’s greatest competitive advantage is its ability to target people with high purchase intent. On Google Search, more specific, long-tail keywords imply that a customer has done his or her research and is now evaluating what’s in the market. If you provide a sweet enough deal, you’re going to win that conversion – no problem.

In the same vein, users who explore the ‘Promotions’ tab are in an offensive mindset to spend some cash. The promotions tab is full of coupons and killer deals, so people who consciously make the decision to frequent this tab are ready to buy! buy! buy!

But whether or not you agree that this would be effective, one thing we can all agree on, we want to acquire new customers, and rather than debate about how to do it, you know what I always say - Data Over Opinions.

Try it. Get the Data. Compare it to the success of your other marketing efforts, then make decisions.

Hit me up with any questions anytime at

Thanks for reading, watching and listening, and have a great day!


Paul Hickey, Founder / CEO / Lead Strategist at Data Driven Design, LLC has created and grown businesses via digital strategy and internet marketing for more than 10 years. His sweet spot is using analytics to design and build websites and grow the audience and revenue of businesses via SEO/Blogging, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Social Media Content Marketing and Email Marketing. The part that he’s most passionate about is quantifying next marketing actions based on real data.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.