Google Takes a Stand on Mobile App Doorslams

Joe Davine

8/22/2013 11:48 AM

Mobile Google Opinion

You have just finished creating your sparkling new mobile business app and are eager to promote it to as many people as possible. You already have a good mobile web audience; why not tell them about your app with an interstitial before they hit your website? Well you see, not only do your mobile web users hate this method of advertising (warning: contains frustrated swearing), Google have also taken a stand.

Knock Knock – Who is it…?

The ‘App Doorslam' is the aptly named (see what I did there?) term for the practice or either forcing or heavily suggesting your mobile web users to download your app before they reach your website content. Many users heavily dislike this approach as it seemingly disrupts the flow of content that was originally requested. Influential UX expert, Aral Balkan, once famously likened app doorslams to arriving at a restaurant and being asked if you would like to go home and order delivery instead.

Effects on SEO

Last month Google announced that they were changing the rules for smartphone search result rankings. With this change, Google have recommended that app interstitials be removed due to indexing issues or being too disruptive for the end user.

By visiting your website, a user has made a conscious choice to open a browser, search/enter your domain and then to visit your website. There was a choice made not to visit their relevant app store and download your app.

“But what if the user didn't know we had an app available for download?”

Smart Appvertising

This is where smart advertisement of your app comes into play. Investing in building an app isn't cheap, so getting the best ROI is obviously an important issue. Getting users to download and use your app is the main objective, but if using the doorslam is not an option, how can you get more users to download your app? There are plenty of different ways to advertise your app, ranging from email marketing, viral/social design & marketing and even using another service such as MagicSolver's Free App Magic. Google have even suggested using smart app banners instead of the doorslam technique.

Leaving the Door Open

The app doorslam situation reminds me of the previous problem that the internet of the 90's had with pop-ups. It eventually became so bad that the big browser vendors were forced to include pop-up blockers in the browsers themselves. Fast forward 15 years and we have Google trying to once again eradicate annoying practices in favour of more intelligent, user-friendly options.

Leaving the virtual door open for your mobile web users enables them to better interact with your brand online and if they enjoy the experience, they may be more inclined to download your new app.