Facebook have done it, Twitter have done it and new evidence suggests Gmail is now also looking to monetize its mobile presence by incorporating adverts into its smartphone apps.
Users of the desktop Gmail client will be quite used to advertising, which has been visible (albeit, admittedly, not particularly intrusive) for quite some time. The mobile Gmail experience, however, has been bereft of adverts which has in turn enabled Google’s designers to play with limited screen real estate to their heart’s content, and purely for the benefit of user experience.
Experts have been digging into the latest release of Gmail for Android, which hit the Google Play store last week. Inside, they’ve found evidence that mobile adverts are likely to start making an appearance sooner rather than later. They’ve even managed to figure out how they will work.
As we know, desktop Gmail adverts are pretty subtle; they are delivered as though they are emails. If you know no better, you’re likely to miss them altogether, mistaking them for spam. Apparently, hidden deep in the code for Gmail mobile 4.6 is a clear indication that Google will use the exact same tactic on smartphones.
The code suggests that adverts can be easily dismissed or, if they take your fancy, added to your inbox, just like regular emails. It is also likely that the adverts will appear within the header and footer of the app, keeping their way out of the main area of the screen – a real boon for users.
So far, the discovery has only been made in the Android variant of the app and is clearly still in a preliminary, testing phase, but it is likely it will make its way to iOS in the not too distant future, too.
While it is comforting to hear that Google seem to be intent on keeping advertising as low key as possible, as email marketers, we’ll need to make sure our messages compete well with such content. With so many people turning to their mobile devices for email first, this is one to watch.