Last week, Google announced that they will test incorporating Gmail into their search results. It is part of their initiative, detailed in their recent blog post, to make search even more intelligent and personalized through a series of “baby steps”. They are offering a limited trial in which you can sign up to get information from your Gmail right from the search box.

I signed up for the free trial, and here are the results of my first search using the word “airfare”. The default display is your results are hidden, but there is an option to expand the results. It gives me access to personalized information regarding my keyword.

 I searched other keyword terms and found the following:

• One to Five results are typically displayed.

• Newer emails take are ranked before older messages.

• There must be an exact keyword match.

What does this mean for email marketers?

It’s hard to predict how many people will actually opt into this new feature if it is expanded beyond the trial phase. Many are voicing a variety of privacy concerns, and there are questions as to whether or not this is truly a useful feature.

While it may not be widely adopted if and when it’s available to all of Gmail’s 400 million users, you can take a couple of simple steps now towards better preparedness:

1. Be sure you’re including keywords in your from, subject line, body, alt text and anchor text. This is one more reason not to rely on images to convey your calls to action. Plain text is key.

2. Send offers that are highly relevant to your audience. Google may favor senders with high deliverability rates, high open rates, and high clickthroughs. You want to be sure the right message is reaching the right subscriber at the right time so that they engage with your email instead of ignoring it.

Provided that a subscriber doesn’t delete messages immediately after reading them, this could breathe new life into your email campaigns. It gives the subscriber an opportunity to take another look at an email they may have forgotten about.

We’ll keep an eye on future developments with this feature and will provide updates as it progresses.

By Stacy Carlson, Senior Email Marketing Consultant