With all the websites out there, you’ve likely by now stumbled upon a few riddled with frustrating pop ups. These sudden, unwelcomed blurbs asking if you need help, to subscribe or to download a whitepaper disrupt your reading and either startles or annoys you. Why do companies use these on their websites? Are there any purpose or effectiveness to a pop up?
While many marketers have become aware of the displeasure pop ups cause to visitors to their website, they are still nevertheless used. This is because pop ups get conversions. According to Sumo, the average pop up gets a 3.09% conversion rate, with the top 10% of pop ups getting a decent 9.3% click through rate. The very best pop ups that are near perfect in every way can get an astronomical 50% conversion rate! This means that pop ups certainly don’t hurt your marketing efforts. The conversion potential of pop ups can be huge with adequate time and effort.
To understand how to best utilize pop up ads, it helps to understand that not all pop ups are equal and that its success is dependent on the appropriate wording, context, location, size and timing of the pop up. For instance, the top performing pop ups such as those with a 40% conversion rate appeared on pages with corresponding, relevant content and only 8% of the top 10% of pop ups appeared for less than 4 seconds.
Types of Pop Ups
There are three main types of pop ups: the new page pop up, the in-browser pop up, and the full page pop up.
New Page Pop Up
Like the name indicates, a new page pop up creates a new page in a new tab or window. The use of this type of pop up has pretty much gone by the wayside as these pages are often blocked by a user’s computer’s built-in pop up blocker. If the pop up page is not blocked, the configuration is poor as it gets covered behind the main window and won’t come back up again after the user closes it. New page pop ups are also poor on the small screens of mobile devices. This type of pop up, however, stays open even when the web user goes to a different website on the main window. As these pop ups aren’t commonly used, there aren’t many cases of their effective usefulness.
In-Browser Pop Up
In-browser pop ups are the most commonly used type of pop up. These pop ups are the small dialogue boxes that appear either along the side in the form of a chat box, as a floater on the side or as a tiny text box when one hovers their cursor over a “trigger” word. These types of pop ups are more effective than new page pop ups and are less distracting and disruptive than full page pop ups. Some of the benefits of in-browser pop ups include:

They are small, contained and only fill up a small part of the page
Does not force a user to take an action or even to open it
Acts as a single, stand-alone element
Its content is context dependent, with the content in the pop up relating to the content either of the page or “trigger” word

These types of pop ups are great for subscriptions, remote, on-demand chat help, and free download offers.
Full Page Pop Up
Full page pop ups are the ones that make one cringe as they cover the whole page and prevent the user from reading the content or navigating the website unless an action is taken. These are common for subscriptions and appear when a user is about to navigate away from a webpage. These specific types of pop ups are often overused and misused by advertisers and third parties and have contributed to a poor online experience for the user.  Because of their disruptive, distracting nature, they should be used sparingly. Instances with license agreements and payment processing are the most appropriate uses for full page pop ups.
Pop Up Advantages
Now that you know that each type of pop up has its purpose and place, here are some of the advantages pop ups have in general:

Catch visitors’ attention
Remind visitors of important/urgent information
Can keep a visitor on the page longer and stop them from exiting
Engage the visitor and encourage interaction
Interrupt “attention blindness” of visitors
Encourage conversions
Are effective in gathering small amounts of information that can be used as a stepping stone to sales and marketing conversions
Are good gateways that require visitors leave information in order to proceed

Pop Up Disadvantages
Each type of pop up has its advantages and appropriate time and place to be used. However, pop ups in general have some great disadvantages that warrant their careful, sparse use. Some of the top disadvantages include of using pop ups include:

Pop Ups Are Annoying. Regardless of the size and location of the pop ups, the vast majority of website visitors find them annoying and unwelcomed. Some web users will be so annoyed by them that they will immediately exit the site once the pop up appears.
Pop Ups Can Distract and Confuse Visitors. In addition to pop ups being annoying to site visitors, they can also distract, confuse, frustrate and scare site visitors if they have irrelevant messaging or if the messaging appears at the wrong time on the buyer’s journey or appear on the wrong page of the website. This is most commonly seen in pop ups with asks that are either too small or two big based on the funnel stage.
Pop Ups Can Lower Your UX and SEO Rankings. Some pop ups can slow down your website’s load time which annoys and frustrates impatient, time-crunched site visitors who will likely exit your site to visit a competitor’s site if the page doesn’t load quickly. Page load speed is also a ranking factor Google uses in its search results page ranking algorithm. Slower loading websites won’t appear high in the search results which means less website traffic.

Conclusion
The best pop up for your marketing strategy will depend on a variety of factors including your company’s buyer’s journey, market, brand, the objective of the marketing strategy and purpose of the pop up. JustUno has some excellent examples of different pop ups with different personalities, asks and purposes to help spur those creative juices.
While pop ups are commonly looked down upon by consumers, they can be an effective way to boost one’s marketing and sales campaigns if used appropriately. There are three main types of pop ups with each having a specific purpose as well as pros and cons. If you’re thinking of implementing a pop up on your website, take time to consider the purpose and goal of the pop up, the pop up’s messaging, size and page location. Keep the user’s experience in mind when rolling out a pop up.
If you need help with brainstorming and implementing pop ups on your website or need additional help in other areas of your marketing or SEO campaign, contact us at SEO.com. We are a full-service online marketing firm that has extensive experience in online marketing campaigns and we’d be glad to help you get the leads and conversions you’re looking for.
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