Marketing automation – not e-mail marketing, and yes, there is a difference – has been the backbone of successful recruiting campaigns for going on a decade. Marketing automation, when designed properly, drives leads through the sales funnel with the goal of nurturing, engaging and ultimately converting qualified leads into sales.
Marketing automation relies on collecting, sharing and displaying meaningful content in a timely manner to make an impact – and recruiting requires the same best practices for success, albeit with the process ending in a hire instead of a sale. As marketers become savvier with automation, e-mail providers have tried to become increasingly more restrictive – and protective – of their users inboxes.
But while filtering and flagging automated marketing messages have long been considered a security feature, the recent announcement by Google that they will now be displaying, by default, pre-loaded images directly in Gmail signifies a potential bellwether move for the industry – and, by extension, recruitment marketing.
It’s no secret that Google reaps most of its revenue through advertising, and their latest move could well be a signal of a seismic shift designed to maximize advertising dollars and marketing budgets. The battles for online advertising spend, until now fought primarily with keyword bidding, behavioral targeting, SEO and other marketing methods are now spilling over into your inbox.
This change by Google is, for many e-mail recipients, a good thing. There’s little compromise to security and prevents browsers from revealing online activities, user history and other personalized data. This is a change from the traditional Gmail display functionality – and unknown to most users, when you receive a promotional e-mail and click “Display All Images,” you’re triggering a lot of behind-the-scenes actions by authorizing this function:
Prior to this weekend’s announcement, this information allowed marketers to display meaningful content to the most targeted audience by making changes and optimizing campaigns for better conversion. In a B2C setting, increasing conversion means increasing sales; in recruiting, this means identifying the leads who have the most interest in your message – and, by extension, are likely the most open to exploring new career opportunities.
Google just announced that they are making marketing automation tactics off-limits by displaying and creating a cache for all images received by all Gmail users. This means that Gmail will save the images on their servers, modifying the original e-mail slightly to ensure the images are correctly displayed.
While this will increase Google’s ability to control – and potentially keep secure – more user information, it will also create a few issues for those of us reliant on Google for our inboxes. Here are four things users can do to regain and increase control over their messages:
We’re curious to see how this marketing play plays out, but for now, this change by Google signals that even in something as seemingly insignificant as displaying images, there’s a bigger picture – and bigger changes ahead in the bigger picture of online marketing and recruiting.