Many mobile-friendly websites now offer related apps that mobile viewers can install. These apps are usually meant to provide more content for visitors of the website for better marketing and advertising. This is actually a great idea for website owners and companies who want to capture the mobile market.
Of course, what good is your app if no one knows about it? As the site owner, you need to tell your site visitors that you have an existing app that’s either an extension of your existing pages or a source of content exclusive to mobile users. One of the most widely used methods to promote your app is on your website with the use of app banners and app interstitials that pop up on the browser screen.
What is an app banner / interstitial?
If this is your first time to encounter the term, an app banner or interstitial is a transitional page that mobile visitors see first on a website, inviting them to install an app. The optional app may be promoted through either a pop-up app banner or a promotional mobile page with a “Continue to site” link. It’s an effective way to advertise apps that could enhance viewership of websites.
Google’s latest policy on app banners and interstitials
However, before you start bombarding your mobile viewers with a massive app banner, here’s something that you need to take note of. Google recently released a statement that allows websites to use app install interstitials but not to the point of concealing the web page content. Google mentioned that they discovered some websites that conform to their earlier statement on mobile-friendliness, but abuse their high search ranking by “forcing” users to install an app before viewing the site content. Based on Google’s analysis, “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.”
Because of this, the search giant announced the following changes in its mobile-friendliness standards:
“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.”
Google didn’t specify the breadth and magnitude of the term “significant” in terms of how much content can be concealed. Bottom line, Google wants the search user experience to be as seamless and uninterrupted as possible. In fact, the company is serious in this initiative, to the point that websites won’t be considered mobile-friendly if they continue to use intrusive app install interstitials after November 1, 2015.
Is your app banner distracting to mobile search users?
If you think your existing app banner may violate Google’s new policy, you may check your website using the Mobile-Friendly Test. Although some mobile browsers like Safari and Chrome can adjust the size of app banners, it might be a good idea to reduce the size of your app banner to ensure that online mobile searchers can easily read the content that they need.
If you need help in web design, you can come to us! Contact us for more details!