Firefox is missing a trick in attracting new users – we can learn from Chrome (analysis)

It's no secret that Chrome has an effective monopoly on the web now, and while Firefox is stable for the last 6 months at a reasonable 8 - 10%, it's not growing. This is worrying because during that time period, Quantum generated a lot of positive press. There are some basic things we could improve on, and I'm hoping someone at Mozilla marketing is reading this. I love the new branding, but the on-page & meta content on Mozilla websites need to say more.

In this post, I'm going to disect and compare []( with []( and show what Google is doing very well and what Mozilla could learn from them in attracting new "casual" users.

Straight away, compare the URLs. This may not seem like a big deal, but we need to keep it catchy and simple.

[]( redirects to a pleasing [](

While []( redirects to a bunch of filepaths:

The last two are totally redundant. Redirecting to []( would make it much more pleasing, and there is even a case to get rid of the localisation and simply shortering to []( Much more memorable for a landing page.

On to the real meat and potatoes; the actual marketing. On the Chrome landing page, I've underlined the obvious unique selling points of Chrome. I'm very interested in this browser because it offers speed and simplicity, plus it intrigues me by waving "the power of Google" in front of me:

[Interesting features underlined in red](

Now if I'm intrigued by Firefox, I see it respects me (very vague) and is privacy focussed. That's it. This is the default view on the []( page. The call to action button is good, but there does not need to be a "fix a problem" link there, as it subconciously gets me thinking about browser crashes and sites not loading:

[Interesting features underlined in red](

Unfortunately, things don't get much better upon scrolling down. Firefox asks us to join a community (nice but not nessecerily what the majority of users are here for), emphasises a pretty standard feature such as remembering passwords and repeats itself about privacy before getting to the footer. Also where am I meant to go to learn more about what the browser does and looks like?

[Page 2 of \(plus the footer!\)](

For context, here's what Chrome packs in before even reaching the footer. Wow - feature after feature. It's fast, it has great security and it has a swiss-army knife of translators and a powerful omnibar:

[Page 2 of](

So what can Mozilla do to get a landing page that users old and new alike positively associate Chrome with?

1. **Simplify the URL** \- no complex filepaths or question marks (old fashioned click tracking)
2. **Use HTML5 to expand the beutiful purple/orange background to the fullwidth of the screen** (and place "fix a problem" somewhere else!)
3. **Add what makes Firefox great** (THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT). Privacy should remain the focus, but it's not all Firefox offers. It offers amazing services which even have their own iconography and strong branding. Capitalise on the following by giving them their own snippets on the white part (page 2);
1. *Speed - The new Quantum engine renders webpages 3x faster than before*
2. *Sync - Use your Firefox account to browse seamlessly on Linux, Windows, macOS, iOS and Android*
3. *Secure - Our built-in firewall and virus scanner ensures you can browse with confidence*
4. *Extend - Our library of open source extensions means you always have control of the web*
5. *Monitor - We'll let you know if one of your accounts has been hacked*
6. *Build - With it's reputation for open standards, it's never been a better time to build and test on Firefox*

I hope that helps and Mozilla can do something along those lines. I think the new logos etc are fantastic but in terms of selling Firefox as THE browser for everyone, we need to say more.

24 thoughts on “Firefox is missing a trick in attracting new users – we can learn from Chrome (analysis)”

  1. Thank you for taking the time to write this up and sharing your thoughts. Hopefully others will take the time to read and give feedback.

  2. This isn’t a tip as it is a bunch of suggestions. Not bad though, hopefully they take your feedback to heart.

  3. Your first point is just a misunderstanding. You can use, and and they will all lead you to Firefox. As for the question mark part, that’s called a `queryString` and is used to provide parameters inside URLS ([docs for queryString](, [docs for params](

    However, I do agree with your 3rd point: branding and features. Since Mozilla rebranded into the new black logo and `moz://a`, they’ve kept the website clean and simple. They _should_ add a features section and make a comparison with competitor products (is it only Chrome at this point?).

  4. Number 1 issue: Chrome is the default browser of one of the world’s most used operating systems. Google took the Microsoft playbook, but dolled it up with Don’t Be Evil for so many years that we were too dumb to notice.

  5. I tried to get some Chrome using friends to hop on over to Firefox.

    To summarize their responses:
    1. They seem to have been turned off by memories from almost 5-6 years ago when Chrome was faster than Firefox. Back when chrome came out as the lightweight, fast alternative to IE and Safari. They also don’t know much about the new Firefox updates and the UI overhaul. They were extremely surprised by how different the current version looked from their memories.
    2. They don’t know/care about their privacy as much as they should. As the saying goes, people only care about cyber security after they become a victim of it.
    3. They don’t know why their computer is so slow with 1000 chrome tabs open. They never think Chrome is the culprit.
    4. They think switching over is a hassle. They’ve saved too many passwords in chrome.

  6. You missed the point that firefox also needs a banner on google homepage, like chrome had for many years, that still shows now if you use an outdated browser

  7. ITT a lot of ppl who don’t understand marketing explaining how, actually, the browser with the most popularity is doing its marketing worse

  8. I think the biggest selling point of Chrome is simply the ecosystem. Users on Reddit or different forums tend to live in this weird bubble where “Google=Bad, how can you use it?” and forget the fact that majority either do not care about mishaps of companies or are fine with it. Even the people who use ad-blocking software make up max 15% of all web users. People who are strict on privacy make up even smaller minority.

    Most people simply use Google products and being in Google ecosystem is comfortable for them. “Oh, sure I use Gmail. Sure. I use Google Search. Oh, yeah, I use YT. Look, Calendar is neat. Wow, Tasks are one click away and I can drag emails to them. Notes are here as well.”

    Add Drive, which has 1 bil. users. Add Photos, which is used by massive majority of Android users (because free storage is nice). You can access Messages and Contacts. Now add Google Docs.

    Now, Google Chrome is simple, functioning and fast enough. When you login with your account, suddenly you are 1 click away from ALL your Google apps. It is like being at home.

    I know some people think “Well, Chrome was always literally forced on users. Of course it is massive”. This statement is not true. Look at other more forced apps – Google Play Music, Google Play Books, Google Play Movies or Hangouts.

    Google Chrome is big because Google offers simple, stable web browser with power to connect you easily to all Google apps. Mozilla does not have this. They had big campaign on how is Firefox Quantum faster on some websites than Chrome and it did not work because people do not care if 6/10 websites load faster.

    Privacy? That is not big selling point, people do not care. Reddit loves to make fun of Facebook. They were in so many scandals that you would expect them to lose users and income. Wrong. Q1 of 2019, they beat expectations in every aspect. Number of monthly active users grew in every region, including US.

    Google compared to FB has minuscule scandals.

    Mozilla sees the potential of ecosystem, that is why they are trying to push their other apps. But sadly, Send and Lockwise are not enough. There is not enough to attract new users and some branding tricks can help short-term, not long-term.

  9. Nice analysis. And you’re right about the website. Not sure people care about the URL though.

    The thing is, I *highly* doubt changing this would do more than a couple permille difference. That’s not to say it isn’t worth doing anyway.

    The main reason Google has and will keep it’s monopoly is stuff like [this](, [this]( and [this.](×1390/1120×0/filters:focal\(0x0:2560×1390\):format\(webp\):no_upscale\(\)/

  10. I mostly agree with you. However, there is one main thing which Chrome has and this is why it has so many users.

    And this is huge advertising and promoting by Google.

    Google shows ads for Chrome on every website they own. Of course they said that Chrome is most secure, fast… browser. And Google’s websites are one of the most visited websites on the internet. Even if you don’t know about Chrome, you visit Google’s websites and it shows ad for Chrome which you then install…

    On the other hand, Mozilla also advertises Firefox on their own websites. But how many users do really visit Mozilla’s website. Most of them will only visit that websites if they already know about Mozilla or Firefox.

    And there is also some additional thing. Most users switched to Chrome long time ago because other browsers (Firefox) were too bad. But Firefox has changed a lot in last years and it’s now even faster that Chrome (for me, but this depends on your system). Problem is that users still don’t realize that and still think that Firefox hasn’t changed since Netscape (I really know some people that thinks that Firefox browser is still called Mozilla). Firefox would really need some more promotion. But as I already written above, this would be hard for Mozilla to do.

  11. One of the most underrated features of Firefox is to push tabs across devices.

    More emphasis on that under Sync might help.

  12. I want to talk only about the first point about URLs.

    I am non-english native speaker so for me is important to see URLs that show different locales, so in case my version in Italian as example as issues I can remove the part from the url and get the page in english, instead the Google one when visiting as Italian doesn’t have any way to change the language if not going to the bottom of the page (that also mozilla support) but is not easy to discover, usually is at the top.

    Also the url with the locale is important because is more easy to track for mozilla the languages requested from the page and they do that in all their websites from []( to [](
    I agree to the part from the \`redirect\` part of the url that is quite useless but probably is part of their way to track urls.

    Anyway seems that google has a different way to track their users (because maybe they don’t need it after all they track everything) and mozilla has to do differently.

  13. Really appreciate evaluation of the marketing strategy – how a seven-hundred-some billion dollar industry manipulates people vs the most honest open source organisation. I am not at all concerned with Firefox being able to dominate or not.
    1. It is arguably the no 1 browser in mobile phone platform. But maybe its too powerful for a phone or tablet device.
    2. In terms of a web developer’s view, no other browser is better than Firefox.
    3. From a perspective of humanity – Mozilla has contributed so much to our online world than any other open source community.

    I’ve been using Firefox since I started using computers in highscool and always remain the fan. I work for a big corporation and I hate how many people use chrome and never have seen anybody using Firefox. So I do believe people who are civilised enough understand the responsibility we have to use Firefox over any other monopolies beyond manipulating words.

  14. > Firefox asks us to join a community (nice but not nessecerily what the majority of users are here for),

    Are you sure you can speak for this supposed majority?

    Maybe it’s an unpopular opinion here, but Firefox isn’t Chrome, and shouldn’t be. It is unrealistic that FF will regain majority of the browser market share or even get close to Chrome, given Google’s overwhelming power. In rising markets like China or India
    IMHO, they should focus on their core features and embrace those instead of trying to mimic Chrome all the time. And one of those is privacy, so it’s perfectly fine to focus on that. Speed was emphasized after the original Quantum release.

    > Secure – Our built-in firewall and virus scanner ensures you can browse with confidence

    Point c: FF doesn’t have a built-in virus scanner, let alone firewall (thankfully). Points b and e are irrelevant to many, let alone f. Chrome is secure (in fact more secure than FF), fast (in fact faster than FF), and extensible (ok, they’re making cuts here). Those are not USPs.

    I appreciate your effort to improve FF marketing, though I disagree on the implication that Chrome is dominating and therefore FF should continue moving more and more to Chrome. FF’s target audience is (and should remain) people intentionally switching browsers for the *unique* benefits FF offers. People using Chrome are those who just don’t and don’t want to care (you don’t need those in your community), those who just use preinstalled browsers and those aggressively pushed from their preinstalled browser to Chrome by Google’s offensive ads on their own web services. And obviously, Mozilla can’t (and shouldn’t, even if they could) do something like that.


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