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Everyone Hates Mobile Interstitials

Posted on 7.23.2015

We’ve all ran across it and one point in time. Upon visiting a mobile website, an interstitial disrupts your experience by encouraging you to download the site’s native mobile app.

Some apps can provide richer user experiences and use features of the device not easy to access on a browser, which is why brands encourage users to install the native version of their online property or service. That said, a full-page interstitial can be annoying and interrupt users from reaching their desired content.

In fact, Google decided to take a closer look at its own use of interstitials on Google+ mobile Web. According to the data, the interstitials led to poor experiences. For instance, 9 percent of the visits to Google’s interstitial page resulted in the ‘Get App’ call-to-action (CTA) being pressed, while a whopping 69 percent of the visits abandoned the page altogether.

Due to this data, Google conducted a test by removing the interstitial in June 2014. Instead of the interstitial, Google used a Smart App Banner to continue to promote its native app in a less intrusive way. The results found that one-day active users on its mobile website increased by 17 percent. Moreover, Google+ iOS native app installs were mostly unaffected, with the data finding a 2 percent decrease in installs. Based on the results, Google decided to permanently remove its interstitial.

“We believe that the increase in users on our product makes this a net positive change, and we are sharing this with the hope that you will reconsider the use of promotional interstitials,” Google said in its blog post. “Let’s remove friction and make the mobile Web more useful and usable!”

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