Battle of Privacy v. Relevancy

Consumers on one hand want relevant messages and offers yet have a concern about privacy. Currently Google faces a lawsuit dealing with this issue.  The lawsuit alleges Google reads and mines the content of private emails in violation of California's privacy laws and federal wiretapping laws for advertising purposes. In re Google Inc. Gmail Litigation, 13-md-02430, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

By using an automated system to scan emails for content, Google can serve relevant ads to Gmail users that highlight an advertiser's product or service that relates to specific content within the email.  Advertisers can use this technology to serve the right messages to the target audiences at the right time. 

Emails in conjunction with relevant contextual targeting provide advertisers with an opportunity to meet their objectives and objectives of consumers by targeting a relevant marketing message.  In a world where consumers are inundated with advertising it has become more important than ever for marketers to be smart about messaging to make sure the consumers are getting the most relevant messages. 

The issue of providing consumers with a certain level of privacy yet also ensuring relevancy of marketing messages will continue to present a struggle for marketers to achieve the right balance.  Time will tell how the courts end up treating this privacy concern and what impact it will have on email as well as other digital marketing channels. 


Michelle Wimmer, eec member