The most important thing about pop-ups is to understand that everyone hates them on principle, most people loathe them and their very existence. Many people’s first experience with the internet was getting bombarded by annoying, pointless pop-ups trying to sell them prescription pills or to link them to a random porn site (perfect for showing grandma how email works). The word pop-up has become synonymous with annoying, which is one reason why web browsers have pop-up blockers built in.
Luckily, getting over a person’s pop-up prejudice is easier than one might think. Like with any online tool, a marketer has to use pop-ups in a smart way that doesn’t feel intrusive or otherwise turn off potential customers. Using pop-ups is less about exploding in a user’s face, and more about informing them that the site offers value. That sense of value is what will create a higher conversion rate and start generating online leads.
5 Main Types of Pop Ups
As with most modern day tech, pop-ups have changed considerably since the early days of annoying ads that looked like rejects from the Las Vegas Strip. There are five main types of popups visitors will find on websites.
- Click Pop-Ups: Considered the least intrusive of pop-ups, though this is relative. These work by popping up only when a user clicks a link, image, button, etc. that triggers it.
- Timed Pop-Ups: These pop up after a site visitor has been on a page a given amount of time. It can be only a few seconds to over a minute – basically as long a wait as you want it to be.
- Scroll Pop-Ups: The way these pop-ups work is by being triggered when a visitor scrolls down a certain percentage of a page. These are ideal for blogs since the user is often invested by this point.
- Entry Pop-Ups: These are the pop-ups whose picture would appear in the dictionary since these are the ones that pop up in a visitor’s face as soon as they enter a site. Entry pop-ups can be useful when used correctly, but be completely ignored if used wrong.
- Exit Pop-Ups: You could almost call this one a smart pop-up. They use exit tracking algorithms, like cursor tracking, to determine when a visitor is about to leave. They are surprisingly accurate and can give visitors a “one last thing” sort of reminder or call to action before they go.
When it comes down to implementing pop-ups, it isn’t which one you use so much as how you use it.
Context is King
If there is one thing the 90’s and early 2000’s taught us is that random doesn’t work. Pop-ups with a high conversion rate that produce leads offer potential customers some form of extra value, in addition to what they find on the website. The trick is, this value has to be directly related to the reason they went to the site. The more accurate a marketer can be, the better. If a website sells X, Y, and Z products and services, don’t have a pop-up on the home page offering visitors a generic info dump about all the products. Have the pop-up come along when they get to the specific, X, Y, or Z page.
Remember that Mobile is a Different Animal
Take a stroll through an airport, subway station, restaurant during the lunch rush, or even a city park on a beautiful day, and you’ll see scores of people staring into their phones. There are more mobile users than desktop users when it comes to accessing information on the web. It cannot be stressed enough that marketers must be mindful that mobile sites are not just scaled down desktop sites. The user experiences are different. In terms of online tools, a standard site would be a flathead screwdriver, and a mobile site would be a Philips’ head.
This means that the pop-up experience also has to be different. Google will quash a mobile site in search results, if its pop-ups are considered intrusive or annoying, or as they call it, having “obtrusive interstitials.” Remember, they have a vested interest in keeping Android successful. Make sure any mobile pop-up doesn’t ruin the user experience. This generally means no full-screen pop-ups.
This perception and visceral hatred most people have for pop-ups are a significant challenge marketer must overcome. The way pop-ups are used has changed, but the stigma from the word pop-up alone will make most web page visitors cringe. A smart marketer might even ask if it’s worth using pop-ups if there’s a risk it could lead to a bad customer experience. The truth is, pop-ups done right are more than worth it. They can be an indispensable online tool to increase lead generation.