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Google: 69% of Website Visitors Will Leave a Site When Prompted to Install a Mobile App

google nag screen plusIf you’ve ever browsed a site from a mobile device and been annoyed when pestered to install the site’s app, you’re not alone.

Last Thursday Google released a new report that shows that if there’s one thing that mobile web users hate more than a website bloated with adverts, it’s getting harassed about installing mobile apps.

Google has been tracking how visitors to the mobile version of Google+ respond to suggestions to install the gPlus mobile app. Their analysis found that:

  • 9% of the visits to our interstitial page resulted in the ‘Get App’ button being pressed. (Note that some percentage of these users already have the app installed or may never follow through with the app store download.)
  • 69% of the visits abandoned our page. These users neither went to the app store nor continued to our mobile website.

Visitors were seven times more likely to simply abandon the site in disgust than to install the suggested app, and less than a quarter (22%) chose to ignore the prompt and instead go on to read the Google+ page.

Basically, those angry social media posts about the mobile app nag screens are not the exception; they’re the majority. People really are turning away from news sites when the site puts up a full page advert for their mobile app.

According to Google, the solution is rather simple: add a banner at the top of the page. That would obviously annoy fewer visitors, and yet there are still sites that have yet to figure that out.  PC Magazine, for example,  shows me this when I visit their website:

pc mag nag screenPC Magazine is also on the list of worst offenders when it comes to punishing mobile visitors with a deluge of adverts, so one would expect that they would screw up in another way as well.

It takes time for companies to learn how not to attack their mobile users; this includes Google, which just now nagged me about using Gmail in my iPad’s web browser:

gmail nag screen

I find this misstep particularly amusing given that Google now ranks websites based on whether they have a mobile-friendly site. Google had previously also dinged sites which redirected mobile visitors to broken sites or otherwise blocked them from accessing the content they were seeking.

And here is Google doing the exact same thing.

Maybe this web publishing thing isn’t so easy after all.



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verena July 27, 2015 um 6:18 pm

Yep, I’ll do that. I don’t want to sign up for any newsletters, either. Popups of any kind annoy me, and I’ll leave immediately if the information I was looking for isn’t of any real importance to me.

R July 27, 2015 um 10:15 pm

Some annoying websites also like to show pop-ups that tell me they have their websites in my language. The pop-ups are wasting my time because the info I want is already on the English website. I don’t need to see it translated or anything.

Also, if you really click the pop-ups, they always only give me the home page of the other websites. If I want to find the info I want, I have to search again.

Medium Punch July 28, 2015 um 1:06 am

I guess I’m among that 69%

I not only find it extremely, immensely frustrating when a useful forum or store has the app popup for every page, but it also forces you into viewing tab itself I you opened a new one. Or, even worse, you can’t close the popup (unless you click for the app) and it won’t let you into tab view to close the tab.

Top 5 – What Indie Authors Need To Know About Social Media This Week [Aug. 2] | Indie Author Book Marketing August 2, 2015 um 10:26 am

[…] Rethinking putting your eggs in the app basket. (via Digital Reader) If you have an optimized website, do you really need that app? Google reported that 69% of people will leave a mobile site when prompted to install an app. Let’s face it—most optimized websites function and feel like apps to users. If you are really interested in that app, do some research in Google analytics and find out where your visitors are going. Maybe consider simplifying your regular website to fit visitor traffic? […]

Tom September 10, 2015 um 4:37 am

The solution is much more simple. There are millions of web sites. A browser lets us visit any of them. It is ridiculous to have a separate App for each. Only a handful of the very biggest web services can justify it.

So STOP WRITING THE BLASTED APPS, and make your regular web-sites mobile-friendly instead

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