Is it Worth a Few Newsletter Sign-ups if Your Customers are Annoyed by Popups

Ever wanted to ignite a debate among marketers? Popup ads are easy to test. They can be effective, as some sites report doubled their email subscriptions and have little or no impact on user engagement. Popups are a common complaint from customers, with 82.2% saying they don’t like them.

Marketers find it challenging to reconcile vocal user disapproval with positive data. The reason lies in the history of popups.

Why do web popups have such an egregious reputation

Let’s now look back at the history popups to help you better understand how to use them. The web grew commerce, and so did associated marketing. Perhaps you remember those dark days when popups were all around us.

Ethan Zuckerman, who created tripod.com in 1990, was the source of the nuisance. Zuckerman says the idea was born out of concern by a large car manufacturer that its content might be appearing on porn websites. Popup ads were created to separate the advertisement from the page’s content and protect the advertiser.

The popup virus had already spread to other sites on the internet by 1997, including Geocities and AOL. Popup ads proved to be more effective than traditional banner ads and led to more evil variants.

Gator, an adware program (software designed primarily to promote to customers), began to appear. Gator was installed along with other free applications. Most browsers now have anti-popup ad features.

The popup ad is now a less docile form of advertising. It’s used primarily to encourage customers to sign up for newsletters and purchase one of the site’s products. Popup ads are still associated with early internet days. It is difficult for marketers to break that association.


Are you able to use website popups

The popup plague may not be as bad as people think, despite its troubled history. Popups, like all things else, have pros and cons.


They still work, as shown by the evidence

Popups are an excellent tool for lead acquisition. It is probably the biggest pro and the one that you will be most interested in. You could potentially get 90 new subscribers or sales for every 1000 users with a conversion rate of 9%.

Popup ads are being used despite complaints. Sumo’s study found that popup ads convert 3% on average, while the top-performing popups convert 9%. One popup had a 50% conversion ratio.

These results have been confirmed repeatedly, and the same message keeps coming back: customers hate popups, but they will engage with well-designed popups that enhance, not distract from, their experience.


These are useful in promoting important or new content

Popups are also a way to direct users to specific content within your website. It could be a page the user needs to see, such as an FAQ or returns policy. It can be hard to know where these popups should be placed. Analytics can help identify where visitors may be stuck and open up to helpful popups.

Navigation-oriented popups are more commonly used to highlight new pages or items for sale. It is beneficial for search engines that can find new pages and show them in organic search results. Popups should only be used on pages with high traffic.

It is crucial to time these popups. For more information, see the section Timing is everything.


Avoid popup issues

Popups have their downsides. Popups can cause disruptions to your website and maybe offensive enough for some users to stop engaging with you. These can be avoided by following best practices.

However, popups don’t engage users as well as landing pages. You can limit this issue by targeting the right users and designing the right popups.


How to create engaging and valuable popups


When used correctly, popups can be a valuable tool for lead generation. However, you must avoid driving people away. Many studies show how people interact with popups. You can combine this with your personal experiences to create successful popups.


1. Design for your audience

To create an incredible popup, you must first nail the content. It would help if you spent time getting to know your audience. An excellent place to start is to ensure that you have the following:

  • Catchy headline
  • Bright Colors
  • Unique offering
  • A solid call to action (CTA).
  • It is a catchy image.

While you might not require all of these items, the important thing is to create something that will grab attention and not be annoying for your customers. It must be simple and not flashy animations. Sometimes four words and an email capture field suffice. Sometimes, it’s necessary to create something more complex. Whatever you do, keep the capture field simple to reduce friction.

Your unique value proposition is also crucial. While the product is essential, users are equally important.

  • 9% more likely than others to click on popups that offer a discount
  • They are 4.8% more likely to win if they have something to gain
  • They are 4.4% more likely to get exclusive offers if they know.

These elements can be incorporated together to create the foundation for your popup. Remember that design is just the beginning.


2. Timing is everything

Context is a crucial driver for any ad campaign but especially popups. Popups can be more harmful than beneficial if they are served at the wrong time. A popup with the proper context can convert more than 40%. It can fail if it is not in the proper context.

Let’s suppose you have a new ebook and want to promote it to your customers. Before you mention the ebook to your customers, they need to understand what your site has to offer. They need context around your offer.

You must time your popups correctly to provide context. You will need to dial in, but here are some best practices.

  • It would help if you never showed a popup when you enter the site. However, please don’t leave it open for more than 60 seconds to avoid losing users.
  • To maximize engagement, time your popup at the moment users are connecting to your content.


3. Don’t overuse popups

What’s the biggest complaint about popups? Popups are complained about by 45 percent of customers. Popups are a constant nuisance to users. Another 19.2% of users become annoyed by the same popup each time they visit your site.

You can consider diminishing returns if annoying users isn’t enough motivation. Some sites I like, such as The Guardian, are great, but I no longer pay any fees or sign up for their services.

It is easy to fix. You must target your popups carefully to ensure success. Don’t spread your popups all over your website. It would help if you tailored them to the content your user is reading. You should also use cookies to prevent regular visitors from seeing popups all the time.


The bottom line: When used correctly, popups can be a great idea

It is the perfect time to start looking into popups for your website. Even though the pandemic was generally hard on businesses, there have been some positive signs. Popups drove revenue and conversions in some online business sectors. Online brokers such as Schwab and review sites for broker-review sites have experienced exponential increases in traffic and revenue.

Popups can be a valuable tool for your website. Popups will not help you if there isn’t great content, a hook, and the timing is off. You can attract new leads and sign-ups by planning your popup strategy well.

Disclaimer. The opinions and views expressed in this article are the authors Judge Napolitano.

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