Google stops using annoying ‘interstitial’ mobile app ads

25 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Annoyed By Mobile Sites That “Ask” You To Download Their App? You’re Not Alone.

Most mobile web users are all too familiar with the infamous “interstitial” ad that often pops up to promote a website’s native app, but this week Google did them a favor and eliminated its own such ads. Google has decided that it would be better for both the mobile web and for users to retire their app download interstitials for Google+ when viewing the plus page on a mobile device.

Pop-ups that ask you “Get the App” on mobile turn off people so much that most of the users abandon the site completely as per a recent test by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).Google has published an interesting study about app interstitials, and the results are significant enough that companies should consider removing their interstitial or switch to an app install banner instead.Amy Dugmore brings you this week’s social media marketing news, as Kenshoo’s digital marketing snapshot shows huge gains in social advertising, Google + prepares to deactivate Photos and Twitter depersonalises pages Facebook marketing partner Kenshoo has revealed that clickthrough rate on social advertising is up 535% year-on-year in its recent Digital Marketing Snapshot infographic. After internal user studies suggested that mobile Google+ users didn’t enjoy the pesky full-page ads inviting them to download the Google+ app, Google did a more formal study.

In short, Google decided to drop the App Interstitial because it didn’t lead to any significant improvement in app downloads but did lead to a much higher web page abandoned rate. It found that while 9 percent of the visits to its interstitial page resulted in someone pressing the “Get App” button, a full 69 percent resulted in the user abandoning the page altogether, without visiting the app store or even continuing on to the Google+ site. But it is one of the most annoying things for mobile users, especially when it isn’t easy to click through to the content without accidentally being sent off the to App Store for downloading.

Mobile spend for phones and tablets was up 167% year-on-year, with 36% of revenue from advertiser sales now coming from mobile users, up from 16% in Q2 2014. As a follow-up to that study, Google last year experimented with removing the interstitial ad and using a less-intrusive banner ad for the app instead. Just because somebody clicked through the ad doesn’t mean they also downloaded the app, however: Google+ is installed on many Android phones by default, so some users may have already had it installed. Google’s conclusion: “We decided to permanently retire the interstitial,” wrote David Morell, a software engineer for Google+, in a Thursday blog post. “We believe that the increase in users on our product makes this a net positive change.” Interstitial screen “takeovers” are very annoying to smartphone users and “don’t really perform for developers and publishers,” Sterling added. “It’s in everyone’s interest to find alternatives.” While 9% taken independently may seem a good number of downloaders it is surpassed by the bigger figure of 69% deciding it wasn’t worth staying on the site.

Despite our intuition that we should remove the interstitial, we prefer to let data guide our decisions, so we set out to learn how the interstitial affected our users. Based on the results of its experiment, the Google+ team killed full-screen ads for its mobile app entirely, and the company hopes that other developers might follow suit. We added a Smart App Banner to continue promoting the native app in a less intrusive way, as recommended in the Avoid common mistakes section of our Mobile SEO Guide. The results were surprising: G+ iOS native app installs were mostly unaffected (-2%). (We’re not reporting install numbers from Android devices since most come with Google+ installed.) We also know from Gary Illyes and Maile Ohye at Google that app interstitials is an area they are planning to target with their recently launched mobile friendly algorithm.

It is a very poor user experience to hijack their attempt to read your webpage in order to get app downloads, so it isn’t surprising that websites serving interstitials will be demoted for this behavior in the future. For those not wanting to make the switch to the new app, photos and videos will remain stored and available via What makes an effective Facebook video ad? Add the possibility that someone has opened the link within the Facebook or Twitter app, and the portion of the true website the person can actually see is very tiny. However, The Next Web’s Abhimanyu Ghoshal spotted that Twitter began retiring personalised backgrounds last year, for new users signing up to the platform.

Instagram has introduced a new search option to its website, enabling desktop users to search hashtags, locations and accounts, reports Marketing Land’s Greg Finn. The website still does not enable users to post photos, but the new search function will go some way to bringing parity between the app and site’s functions. Here at ClickThrough she guides our clients in the creation of eBooks, infographics and video, as well as helping them develop a strategic approach to social media.

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