Ads and websites which automatically redirect your iPhone to the App Store1 need to stop being a thing.
I’m seeing more and more instances of this user-hostile behaviour happening when I’m following a link on my phone. Usually it’s caused by an ad unit on the page, but now and again, it’s a site publisher who really, really, wants you to install their app.
Here’s the thing: if I wanted your app, I’d likely already have it installed. If I open a link to your website, I expect to (and am happy to) access your content there. Redirecting me to the App Store is a massive inconvenience and interruption; it takes me out of the app I was already using – often after I’ve already started reading your content – and puts me somewhere I wasn’t expecting to be. It breaks my concentration as my brain switches from reading your content to looking at the app download page. Assuming I still want to read your content after being treated like this, I now have to close the App Store, reopen the app I was just in, and hope I can pick up where I left off. The publishers who treat their users in this way seem to think I’ll:
- Download the app, and wait for it to install
- Create the usually mandatory account
- Validate said account by switching to my email
- Reopen the app, and try to find the content I’d clicked through to read in the first place
- Read it (at last!)
Err, how about “no”? I was already reading your content. If you want to pimp your app to me, put a button or mention of it at the end of the article.
When this kidnapping of my attention is caused by an ad, I’ll sometimes go back to the site to finish reading, or I’ll go back to where I found the link, and send it to Pocket to read later instead (and without the ads to interrupt me). When it’s the publisher itself, chances are I’ll be annoyed enough I won’t return. You had your chance, and you chose to send me elsewhere instead. Either way, I sure as heck won’t install any app advertised using this method.
So can we please put a stop to this? It’s even worse than interrupting me to beg for an app review.
- This probably applies to Android and the Play Store as well, but I’m on an iPhone and so that’s where I have experience of this problem happening. ↩