firefox android

How do you convince your computer users to try out your mobile app? The problems I see are:

  • Detection - There's no way to read people's minds and figure out what phone they use based off of what computer they use. Firefox.com incorrectly assumed that I was an Android user and gave me an ad for their Android browser.
  • Interest - If they are using a computer to view your site, they probably don't care about your mobile app.
  • Detail page - I see many sites, like Firefox for example, linking to Android Market or iOS App Store. What's the point of showing this to computer users? Those portals have a download link that only work on a phone.
  • 1
    I believe you're mistaken about download links: iPhone app links take you to iTunes, where you can download the app.
    – Taj Moore
    Commented Nov 28, 2011 at 21:00
  • 1
    Firefox isn't assuming you're an Android user, they're advertising their Android app; it's the only smartphone version that exists, there is not/will not be an iPhone version.
    – Zelda
    Commented Nov 28, 2011 at 21:16
  • @tajmo The app is useless until it is on a physical phone. What's the point of storing it on iTunes? I think most people's mental model is app->phone, not app->iTunes->phone.
    – JoJo
    Commented Nov 29, 2011 at 17:38
  • @jojo The point of downloading to iTunes is that it goes on your iPhone the next time your sync. It's one of two ways to get an app on your phone. For a lot of users, that's how it's done. Don't confuse YOUR way with THE way.
    – Taj Moore
    Commented Nov 29, 2011 at 17:54

3 Answers 3


The simple answer is "Provide your users value."

If there is value worthy of a user downloading your app, they will do it.

Firefox is a tough example as nearly every smart phone already has a web browser. Convincing people that there is added value in installing Firefox on their phone is a tough sales pitch.

To answer your bullet points:

  • Detection - if you are targeting them via your mobile web site, you can certainly figure out which phone they are using. If you want to target them on a desktop, you'd want to pitch them the options, which aren't really that many. It's mainly iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows7 and a handful of others that you may or may not even be targeting given your region or particular user demographics.

  • Interest. I don't think there's any correlation to how interested a person would be in your mobile app based on the fact that they happen to be using a desktop computer at the moment. It's more likely an indication of time of day or particular location they happen to be in.

  • Detail page - I can't speak for Android, but the App Store can be reached via a desktop via iTunes just as easily as via the phone. I can purchase and download mobile apps on my computer for later use on my iPhone quite easily.

  • 2
    The android market can also be used directly via desktop and can be used to download/purchase apps directly to your phone as well. market.android.com
    – Zelda
    Commented Nov 28, 2011 at 21:32

To riff off of ChrisF's answer, build something relevant as a prerequisite. Then build awareness through whatever appropriate means. Our clients are shopping centers, so we will use on-premise signage to promote the new app, as well as email to existing subscribers. If you're a pure web-based entity, email your desktop user base and consider web display advertising in contexts that ensure you're reaching your likely user base.

Does your product solve a particular problem? Can you get PR coverage? Is it worth writing about on Gizmodo? Or Lifehacker?

Also consider that potential mobile users may not be the same as desktop users at all. You will reach them differently.


I think it would be fun to use a QR code in this case, and offer something extra besides the app you want to sell! ...for example in case of Mozilla it could be the synchronization feature for FREE.

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The problem with QR codes is that they are still not so popular... QR Code Awareness Statistics

  • Those QR Code statistics were published a year ago, which is a light year for this particular technology. I don't think awareness is a severe problem now - the problem is people misusing them.
    – Nic
    Commented Nov 28, 2011 at 15:59

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