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Google has stopped doing one of most annoying things about mobile websites

Google IO 2014Google IO 2014
An attendee checks his mobile phone while waiting in line prior the start of the Google I/O Annual Developers Conference in San Francisco in May 2014.Photograph by Michael Short — Bloomberg/Getty Images

Every mobile phone user understands how frustrating it can be when you’re trying to navigate a mobile website and suddenly you’re attacked by a full page ad beckoning you to “download this app.” In your frustration, do you download it? Continue to the site? Or do you simply abandon your search?

Google (GOOG) wanted to know which of those three options their customers tended towards, so they conducted a case study. They found that 9% of visitors to the interstitial page clicked the “Get App” button. Some of those users may have already had the app, and others may not have followed through with the download. Either way, it’s a fairly high click-through-rate. However, the number that they were most concerned with was how many visitors completely abandoned the page altogether: 69%.

They subsequently experimented with a Smart App Banner so that they could continue to promote their app without forcing users to interact with the interstitial page. There was no significant change to the number of app downloads, but their mobile site traffic increased by 17%.

Finding that the full page ad was unproductive, they officially decided to nix it. Although being able to ignore pop-ups more efficiently is exciting to many, some people aren’t as giddy about it. Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, a vocal Google critic, had this to say: