Full-page ads on the Internet are like commercial breaks in TV programs—see one, and it's time to flip around and see what else is out there. On smartphones and tablets, many websites present full-page ads to try to get users to download native apps. Google has published the results of an informal study on the performance of these interstitial ads for its own Google+ native app, based on data gathered in July 2014, and the results are surprising.
The study found that only 9% of users clicked through the advertisement to head over to the the app. Just because somebody clicked through the ad doesn't mean they also downloaded the app, however: Google+ is installed on many Android phones by default, so some users may have already had it installed. On the other hand, a large number of users ragequit the site entirely - 69% of users never dismissed the ad to get to the content on the other side.
To try to get a feel for how users would access the site without an interstitial ad, the Google+ team replaced the full-screen ads with banner ads. Visitor numbers grew by 17%, while native app installations were basically unaffected. Based on the results of its experiment, the Google+ team killed full-screen ads for its mobile app entirely, and the company hopes that other developers might follow suit. We can only hope that more sites do—the mobile web would be a better place for it.
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