Google added a new feature to Gmail recently called priority inbox and Facebook today announced something similar with their social inbox. Google and Facebook are using algorithms to predict the messages you really care about from the ones you don’t and put them in different folders for you. You can further refine this yourself of course.
I’ve been using this feature in Gmail a lot. I love it. Because it separates the few emails I really need to respond to from the ones I don’t. The emails that don’t make the priority list include all enewsletters I’ve signed up for. I scan the non-priority emails once or twice a day to make sure there’s nothing important in there.
The implications for direct markers are that this feature is another barrier between your email message and a consumer’s attention. It’s not just about getting permission anymore, you better make the priority list as well.
Keep an eye on your open rates for gmail (and soon Facebook) users. Are they dropping below average? This means these features might be impacting your marketing and you should re-think your strategy. The key is to be relevant in the content you serve and in the frequency of communication, or people will ignore you.
Today Google announced instant previews in search results. You can hover over Google’s search results and you’ll see a small preview of the page.
For users this is a great feature because it eliminates some ‘pogo-sticking’ where people move back and forth between websites and the search results before they find the right page for them. Google claims people are 5% more satisfied when they’re using instant previews.
For website owners, the implication are that SEO all of a sudden also means making sure the preview of your web pages look relevant and appealing enough for somebody to want to click on it.
Keep an eye on your web analytics over the next few weeks. If your percentage of organic search engine traffic goes up and/or your bounce rate decreases, the feature could very well work in your favour. If not, you might have some work to do.
Google already put out webmaster guidelines for instant previews and SEO forums are buzzing.
You can test drive the new feature here.