Google seems to be testing display ads in Gmail. I’ve not spoken to anyone but found the following image ad in my personal Gmail account this morning.
Image ads have created their way into paid search on Google.com and numerous other properties on Google. But this was truly jarring for me to encounter. It is the only such ad I saw (subsequent to an e-mail from a clothing retailer in my inbox) following purposely searching for other people.
I’m certain it is a test to determine how users react and what the response rates are. Gmail is formally a component of the “Google Display Network“:
Your text, image, wealthy media, and video ads can seem across YouTube, Google properties like Google Finance, Gmail, Google Maps, Blogger, also as more than one million Internet, video, gaming, and mobile display partners.
I’m not certain how lengthy this test has been running; it is the initial time I’ve observed it and I use Gmail as my main e-mail address.
Postscript: A Google spokesperson supplied the following comment:
We’re usually attempting out new ad formats and placements in Gmail, and we lately began experimenting with image ads on messages with heavy image content.
They also stated the ads started running final Friday.