Google is using the signals it uses for its Priority Inbox filtering technology to improve the relevancy of ads in its Gmail product.
Google is applying the Priority Inbox technology it built
for Gmail to improve the relevancy of ads it serves in its messaging
The search engine last August launched
Priority Inbox, which automatically sorts incoming email. The
software uses a ranking algorithm to analyze and designate each message as
important, important and unread, starred items, and everything else.
Now Google is bucket testing those same signals to
improve the relevancy of ads it serves, which are automatically generated based
on a user's email messaging content.
A user who exchanges group emails with his softball
teammates about where to go for dinner after a game might see more ads for
deals or coupons from sporting goods stores and restaurants, and less ads from
credit score report purveyors and financial planners.
This is a big deal for many of Google's 150 million-plus
Gmail users. Ads in email applications are bad enough, but ads that hold no
meaning for users are worse.
"Bad ads tend to annoy people," the company acknowledged
in its Gmail support center. "We're trying to cut down on
these ads, and make the ones you do see much more useful."
That Google is including offers or coupons brings up an
interesting point. While it hasn't explicitly stated as much, it's entirely
possible Google will apply
its Google Offers local deals service to Gmail. That would be one way to
find a massive audience to target for Groupon-style coupons.
Only a few users will see the change in the early going,
but Google will roll it out to people more widely over the next month. Users
are opted in by default, but will also be able to turn off the use of relevancy
signals from their Gmail settings page.
How many users actually click on these Gmail ads, which
are tucked under the search bar and directly above the task bar, is another