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LinkedIn Employee Slams Google for Its 'Flawed' Mobile App Study (Updated)

A Mountain View throwdown on mobile.


Yesterday, Google declared it was tweaking its mobile search results to demote sites that run ads taking over the screen to promote apps. Google justified the move with its own study showing that users tend to hate these sorts of ads.

Several companies were wary of Google’s move, particularly those that make their living on their app and like to hawk it in as many ways as possible. An employee at one of those companies, LinkedIn, aired that wariness publicly. Omar Restom, a mobile product manager for the professional networking site, wrote a post on Tuesday evening calling Google’s study “quite flawed.”

Update: A rep from LinkedIn writes that this is the personal opinion of one employee, and “not a proclamation from the company in any way.”

Restom cites a study using LinkedIn’s full-screen app-install ads — interstitials — that debunks Google’s, arguing that the search giant deployed lousy targeting and diminishes the draw of creative ads.

Much of the reason why Google’s study is flimsy, Restom writes, is that it centered on the Google+ app, which, to put it mildly, is not hugely popular. Google said nearly 70 percent of users left the page when the big app-install ads appeared, with only 2 percent downloading. LinkedIn claims a bounce rate of 26 percent and download rate of 20 percent for ads pitching its app.

Restom piled on: “Google admits that it was showing their interstitial even to users who already have the app — that’s bad mojo and fundamentally bad audience targeting. Again, Google should only have shown this promo to people who actually want and need the app.”

We reached out to Google for comment, and will add if they respond.

Update II: The initial post from Restom has been pulled. Here’s a cached version.

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