My Social Marketing Experiment aka Gmail Customizable Time April Fools

Gmail customizable time and how I decided to do a little social marketing experiment. Did it work?

I have always theorized that if you caught a unique online media event early enough you could generate some good traffic off the event. Just by word of mouth, search engine listings, posts, blog readers and of course your email list. Here’s what happened.

As I was going to work at my machine, CNN was playing in the background and I heard their report of the Gmail Custom Time April fool’s joke.

I took a look at it on Gmail and quickly wrote a post on my blog about it. I used the exact name from the Google page and added “New!” to the beginning of the headline in WordPress for emphasis. WordPress uses the headline of the blog post in the title tag for blog item.

I used the exact name of Gmail’s joke that is in the Gmail page’s title bar because that tells me it is in the title tag of Gmail’s page.

Knowing that I could not get any incoming links I added my blog post to my social network bookmark sites like Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon and Propeller. The bad news here is alot of people beat me to this because they caught on to the Gmail joke at midnight, the night before.

Even though there were other posted news items I added mine just looking for the link juice. Most of the posts that beat me though did not optimize the title of their post with what I thought would be the most searched term “Gmail customizable time.”

Then I sent my April fools joke to my list. Maybe not a good idea here as a few did not appreciate the pun. However, quite a few said “you got me good” and went on to tell others of the post, adding them to the April fools.

What was the result of my social marketing experiment?

By midnight I had almost 300 visits to my blog post. But here’s the cool thing. Most of the traffic was from searches on Google!

Since there were no sites using the term “Gmail customizable time” in their prime keyword locations I was #1 for the search most of the day. Also I used a blog to create the webpage so it pinged all the search engines and I got a quick one page spider visit and was immediately added to the results.

If I had used video I think I would have lasted even longer in the search results. Google tends to keep video in results longer than webpages.

Of course this did me no good as far as monetary conversion since the post had nothing to do with my site’s theme. It did prove my theory that if you get up early enough you can hit it big on a news event.

If you don’t understand what keywords are, where they go, headline, link text and title tags and how they all effect your search engine rankings and social marketing pages then you need my Social Marketing and Search Engine Tactics.


  1. Posted April 2, 2008 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Nice! Other than getting scooped by several others who stayed up late, a perfect implementation of scoop and buzz. Good job.

  2. Posted April 2, 2008 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Jack! Looking forward to seeing you on Social Marketing Central…

  3. Posted April 3, 2008 at 6:56 am | Permalink


    Thanks for the experiment.

    You’ve laid out the formula to buzz breaking news in your niche.