January 30, 2012

Chrome Threw us a Freebie

Here at Ecquire we’ve been very happy with letting the Chrome Web Store host our extension and taking care of auto-updates on our behalf. Even more so when they upgraded their interface and discovery platform.

But we noticed one small problem with redirecting users to the Chrome Store to download Ecquire.

The best way to explain this is to show it. Below is a conversion funnel for a sample time period, controlled for visitors using the Chrome browser to begin with.

Do you realize what you’re seeing here?

Of the 259 visitors who already decided they wanted to try Ecquire, we lose 70% of them when we redirect to the Chrome Store.

It’s not pretty, but it makes sense. No matter how well-designed the app store, when you divert visitors to a third-party experience (be it paypal, itunes, or the chrome store) you can expect to lose a significant number of users.

This happens for at least two reasons:

  1. A web store page is a brand new landing page all over again. It’s more information to process, in a completely new design and experience. The new landing page resets our visitor to “square one” in their decision process.
  2. The Chrome Store is inherently designed for discovery. Just look at all these awesome colorful things going on in the background! Before I download Ecquire I want to see what else is out there…look, HTML5 Pong! Sayonara, Ecquire.

For many software startups, redirection to a third party is a fact of life. And because we started on the Chrome Store from day 1, we thought we too were forever stuck with losing 70% of interested Chrome users*.

Paul and I traded sad face emoticons for about half a day, and then…. Ben came back from a Googling expedition, having gone deep into message board archives, holding hope in his hands.

The Chrome Inline Installer!

PHEW! In Chrome 15+, the Chrome team added a feature of the browser where users could install the app right from our landing page. Turns out we can keep our app hosted on the Chrome Store while keeping the installation process on our site.

(In contrast, I don’t expect to see Apple releasing an “inline iOS app installer” anytime soon.)

For developers like ourselves who went with the Chrome Store from day one, this is a great sign that the Chrome team really sees things from our point of view.

The inline installer allows you to pop up a dialog like this right from your site.

We’ll be keeping an eye on our conversions in the coming weeks and post an update on how the inline installer has changed our numbers.

*Nerdsplanation: We had a few ideas about hosting two different keys, and having parallel copies of our extension floating around, but that wasn’t ideal either and would complicate deployment.

2 Comments on “Chrome Threw us a Freebie

Joe Marini
March 1, 2012 at 4:16 pm

This is great, guys. I’m on the Chrome developer relations team and I handle the Inline Install feature, and would love to talk more with you about it when you have solid data.


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