The pop-up banners always irritate me when I am browsing, the techies call it “app install interstitial”. They usually ask:“Would you like to install the mobile app?”
Google said that starting in November it would begin penalizing sites that show these “please install our app” ads at least where they cover the whole screen and make browsing hard. That designation will lower their ranking on Google’s mobile search engine. Some of the offenders include Yelp, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
“The ads hide a significant amount of content and prompts the user to install an app,”Daniel Bathgate, a software engineer at Google Search wrote.“Our analysis shows that it is not a good search experience and can be frustrating for users because they are expecting to see the content of the web page.”
The ads are normally annoying and Google’s move will probably make browsing friendly. Well, other users think that Google is doing a big mistake since most revenue is collected from those ads. “Google saw its users fleeing mobile search via an exit door that led to apps,” said Luther Lowe, vice president for public policy at Yelp.“To make sure they can continue to extend their search monopoly onto mobile, Google is essentially telling app developers, ‘We’re losing too many of our users to your apps, so your new users will have to go through a doggy door.’”
Steve Jobs of Apple sometimes back noted that as people use Google to navigate and open websites, the company makes billions guiding them. But when they go directly to the app, they cut Google and its ad business out of the equation.
Yelp uses app prompts to get more users.“The rewards for getting a new app user are huge, as these users end up being much more engaged,”Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp’s founder and chief executive wrote.
“So if Google uses these app pitches, and many industry leading companies successfully do, too, then why would Google want to discourage their use — or perhaps even outlaw them?”Mr. Stoppelman wrote.
Google claims that it’s not discouraging ad prompts, but the company is going to limit those ads that obscure the whole screen. Mr. Bathgate suggested that webs should use less intrusive form of promotion such as a banner advertisement that would allow the users to see whatever is on the web page but also gives them the option to install the app if they like.
New York Times reports that a Google spokesman said the company has “been working hard over the past few years to make it easier for our users to discover and download apps.”
Critics claim that Google’s policy does not penalize all pop up ads. The policy limits the ads that ask you to install a mobile app. The most affected ad is Button which is a company that is trying to build a system that would weave apps together and pay them for referrals.
“The problem is Google seems to be applying a universal rule based on the format of the interstitial and it seems somewhat self-serving in terms of how they’ve implemented it,” Mr. Mike Dudas, the co-founder of Button said.“It just makes you question what are the true underlying motives are because it’s fundamentally clear people are opting when they can not to spend time on the mobile web. This seems like a really strong move in deterring people from installing apps.”