I’ve written about this before, but I continue to be amazed at one particular ad location inside of Gmail. It’s the single text ad that appears just above the inbox or the message you’re reading. The combination of a super-prominent, uncluttered location and astoundingly good contextual targeting makes the ads almost impossible not to read. Google even mixes interesting non-ad content in to this ad location to keep it fresh.
I very rarely click on display ads (maybe 1 out of 500 or so), but I bet I click on this particular one 5 to 10% of the time. Check out the example above — I got an email from a local bike shop about a part for my bike trailer and there’s an ad for the new Zigo baby carrier (worth checking out, by the way). Not only was this not annoying, it was genuinely useful information. The advertiser wins, I win, and Google wins.
This is how online advertising is supposed to work and it’s why Google is in a very powerful position.