Buzz, which Google is rolling out now to Gmail inboxes, incorporates status updates and shared content such as photos, video and links from people on the user's contact list into the inbox.
Buzz: Game-Changer or the Next Wave?
In its first few days, Buzz has generated plenty of, well, buzz, ranging from game-changer predictions to jaded shrugs.
It won't change the email game immediately, the way Gmail itself did since its 2004 launch. But it could have Gmail-like growth, grabbing market share slowly and surely, giving it a huge base of regular users in three to four years. (Gmail email addresses now likely account for about 10% to 15% of a typical B-to-C list and up to 25% for newer lists.)
Buzz likely has greater adoption potential than other Google initiatives such as Wave, which generated a lot of initial buzz but limited adoption. Among Buzz's plusses:
Rising to the Challenge of Inboxes Gone Social
Although it's too early in the game to predict how Google Buzz will affect Gmail use, this broader encroachment of social conversations into the email stream is clearly the future, with the following implications for email marketers:
How to respond to the Buzz factor:
1. Work harder to get your sending email address added to recipients' contact lists or address books.
2. Brand your "from" and subject lines. This helps your messages stand out from the onslaught of Buzz message alerts.
3. One-to-one messaging must replace one-to-many broadcasts. Personalization that reflects preferences and buying history, triggered emails and value-added transactional emails will compete better with Buzz's highly relevant message alerts.
It's your turn now. Do you think Buzz is more likely to gain traction than Wave because it leverages an existing inbox, contact list and Google services that millions of consumers already know about?
Until next time, take it up a notch!