Google is testing advertising placements in the Google Feed that appears below the search bar in its Android and iOS mobile apps, per Android Police. The company confirmed the test while saying it didn’t have any specific announcements about Google Feed ads right now, per VentureBeat.
Google Feed consists of pushed content that Google users can customize based on their location and personal preferences. The service used to be called Google Now before it was renamed as “Feed” in late 2016.
The advertising cards look like other content, except that they have a green “Ad” badge in the bottom left-hand corner. It’s not clear how many advertisers are participating in the test or how many Google app users are seeing the ads in their feeds. Scattered reports on social media indicate that Applebee’s and Groupon are among the first brands to test the ads.
With consumers shifting their behavior from searching for information on its website to using apps that provide a feed of all kinds of information, Google needs to adapt its mobile strategy to enhance the capabilities of the Google app and its voice-enabled Google Assistant to drive more ad sales from them. Google’s advertising tests in its Feed shouldn't be too much of a surprise considering parent company Alphabet derives most of its revenue from ads, per VentureBeat.
Google Feed continues to find ways to make better use of the valuable mobile screen-space that used to be mostly blank except for Google’s search bar. By creating a content feed, the app can keep people engaged with pushed news and information instead of seeking it on the mobile web or other apps, such as social media platforms that also let people subscribe to content providers.
The addition of ads could rankle some users, which means Google will have to be cautious about ad placements that are highly targeted to individual consumer tastes while avoiding complaints of being too intrusive. Consumers generally are more amenable to seeing ads when they are in the market for a product or service, and Google has vast amounts of data about mobile users to help target ads more effectively.