Google no longer scans emails to sell targeted ads, raising questions for online advertising

In a recent announcement through Google’s blog “The Keyword,” the company plans to abandon scanning user emails through Gmail, which helps serve targeted advertisements.This change is planned to occur before the end of the year.

As the largest entity in the market, Google’s decisions set industry standards and affect millions of businesses. Online advertising is a huge marketing focus, with more money invested online than in television, the previous giant of the advertising industry.

The initiative initially began when Google decided to no longer scan the emails of paying customers of their G Suite program. G Suite adjusts Google’s platforms to be more business-orientated by providing services such as unlimited cloud storage, shared calendars and other potential add-ons. Google has made a conscious effort to appeal to businesses in recent years and, according to Seth Schoen of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, many current or prospective business customers were uncomfortable paying for G Suite under the notion that their emails might be scanned.

Google Suite


“Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change. This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products.” — Diane Greene, SVP, Google Cloud, 2017

With 1.2 billion users, Gmail continues to be a powerful marketing tool for online advertisers. The initiative won’t end ads within Gmail, but they ads will be targeted based on information collected from other Google services such as search of YouTube. While Google’s decision is an effort to achieve consistency across all products, it also addresses some long-standing questions on Internet privacy, especially within emails. According to an article published by the New York Times, users are generally less receptive and more bothered by targeted ads within emails as opposed to ads based on browsing history and other Internet activity. 

Complications and the ever-changing online advertising industry has led many businesses to focus on driving traffic to their sites organically. Through SEO and focusing their website content on a few high-traffic keywords, e-commerce businesses have been able to retain some control of their website traffic. Dirxion online catalogs offer SEO guide pages that involves a process of indexing every page of the printed catalog. This practice helps boost the overall SEO of the online catalogs site, as well as increase the likelihood of someone finding a catalog page when searching for specific products.

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