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Surviving Google’s New Policy Against Interstitial Ads
Contributor Lei Sun takes a look at how some of the best companies comply with Google’s new rule against app install interstitials — and still drive users to download apps.
Google has spoken — and an important part of the mobile web will never be the same. At least that’s the theory, and certainly the search giant’s intention.
Google sees app install interstitials — those big ads that pop up suddenly on the mobile web and monopolize all of your mobile device screen to prompt you to download an app, rather than let you keep surfing — as too annoying to users. On November 2, the company therefore put in place a new policy to discourage the ads.
According to this policy, Google has since penalized mobile websites that use such interstitials by declaring these websites mobile-unfriendly. According to Google’s more detailed blog post about the policy from September:
Mobile web pages that show an app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content on the transition from the search result page will no longer be considered mobile-friendly. This does not affect other types of interstitials. As an alternative to app install interstitials, browsers provide ways to promote an app that are more user-friendly.
Assessing The Policy’s Early Impact
Here at Yozio, my employer, we specialize in growing mobile apps through organic channels. We also considered app install interstitials a very viable option to drive downloads prior to the new policy going into effect. Hence, we’ve been watching its effects closely.
Now that the policy has been in place for a couple of months, we wanted to explore some basic questions: Has Google’s decision actually affected how mobile websites attempt to drive visitors to download apps? And how have some of the most prominent and growth-hacking savvy companies dealt with the change?
To answer those questions, let’s start by understanding the real context for Google’s sudden change — and why app install interstitials may not be that bad after all.
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