How much do mobile users hate interstitial screens blockingÂ their mobile browsing byÂ urging them to down the native app instead? An overwhelming amount, judging by a study conductedÂ by Google in July last year. Well, that andÂ common sense when you think aboutÂ the contrast between the aimÂ of mobileÂ computing (speed, convenience) and the pointÂ of interstitials (slow, distract).
The ad giantÂ has just blogged about the result of its study, saying it found almost two-thirds (69 per cent) of visitors served with an interstitial for its Google+ social service abandoned the page entirelyÂ â€” neither downloading the app, nor going on to visit the mobile websiteÂ â€” attributingÂ thisÂ to theÂ addedÂ friction of serving mobile users with anÂ interstitial.
Tl;dr: people on mobile donâ€™t dig interruptions, yo!
On the flip-side, GoogleÂ found thatÂ 9 per cent of the visits to the Google+Â interstitial page resulted in the â€˜Get Appâ€™ button being pressed. And while that might sound crazy high (vs online ad click rates, for instance) GoogleÂ points outÂ that a proportion of thoseÂ who pressed â€˜Get Appâ€™Â would already have hadÂ the app installed. Or might haveÂ never followed through andÂ downloaded it. So itâ€™s a very diluted signal ofÂ success, at best.
Add to that,Â many mobile users may well have also simply hit the â€˜Get Appâ€™ buttonÂ in error, since those buttonsÂ tends to be a lot larger than the â€˜continue to mobile siteâ€™ links. Ergo,Â the much larger proportion whoÂ immediatelyÂ rage quit at the sight of the G+ interstitial speaks loudest here.
Itâ€™s worth noting that Googleâ€™s study was small scale, since the companyÂ was only looking atÂ how an interstitial promoting theÂ Google+ social service native app performed (and we donâ€™t know how many people it surveyed). It may very well be the case that visitors really didnâ€™t want the Google+ app specificallyÂ â€” and that Google+ itself is skewing the data. (SadlyÂ Google isÂ not offering comparative stats with, say, the Gmail app interstitial, so we can but speculate.)
It does sayÂ it ranÂ a follow up experiment, switching the Google+ interstitial for what it calls a â€œSmart App Bannerâ€ â€” to continue promoting the native app in â€œa less intrusive wayâ€. And â€” quelle surprise â€” this more softly, softly approach performedÂ better, with Google noting that 1-day active users to the Google+ website increased by 17 per cent.
Meanwhile it saysÂ Google+ iOS native app installs were â€œmostly unaffectedâ€, in its assessment â€” dropping two per cent. (Android users get Google+ preinstalled already, hence the iOS-only measure. That may also be another factor why such a large proportion of those served the native app ad got annoyed; after all,Â who would appreciate beingÂ nagged about an appÂ by theÂ same company that hasÂ alreadyÂ pre-installed that app on yourÂ phone?)Â
As a result of running the study, Google says it decided to permanently retire the Google+ interstitial. Although, sad to say, itÂ has not ditchedÂ all its interstitials.Â For example, every time I am requiredÂ to re-sign-in to the TC ownerâ€™sÂ corporate Gmail on mobile to access my work email I still have an additional click standing in the way ofÂ the content Iâ€™m trying to access, being as Google always serves an interstitial (right) promoting the Gmail app. And, for corporate device management policy reasons, I canâ€™t actually use the app and need to use the mobile siteâ€¦ So itâ€™s pure, teeth-grinding time-wasting, every time I have to log back in.
Googleâ€™sÂ G+ interstitial study is a teaser in terms ofÂ data it yields, but itÂ highlights the continuing challenge of serving any kind of ad on mobile without radicallyÂ annoying users. It alsoÂ shows Google is lookingÂ for ways toÂ reduce the â€œfrictionâ€, as it puts it, ofÂ mobile ads.
Youâ€™d expect the company to be thinking pro-actively about this, given its business model relies on ad clicks to power it. And itÂ certainly wonâ€™t want the general shift from desktop to mobile computingÂ to end up acting like an interstitialÂ retardingÂ the flow of itsÂ ad-based revenue stream.
Article source: http://techcrunch.com/2015/07/26/google-studies-how-much-interstitials-suck-on-mobile/