Today we tackle a controversial topic: pop-ups. They have earned themselves a bad reputation as many find them annoying and intrusive. However, they are staging a revival through many popular websites.
But do pop-ups really work? Today, we will demonstrate their effectiveness and show you how to use them wisely. That way you can avoid using ill-timed pop-up windows despised by web surfers.
So, what exactly are pop-ups?
There are actually several different types of pop-up, but they all have one goal: to feature a box or a window in the foreground, on top of the page content. In other words, they cover content to highlight other information. We generally make the following distinction between 'pop-ups' and 'pop-ins':
A pop-up automatically opens a new browser window in front of the main browser without any action from the user.
A pop-in is similar to a pop-up in that it displays content in front of the webpage visited. However, a pop-in opens up a box within the page rather than a new window.
While there are lots of different names for these interfaces, 'pop-up' is the most widely used, and will be the term used throughout this article. Therefore, the term 'pop-up' is used to refer to a 'pop-in', i.e. a box that opens within the page and not an new window.
How are pop-ups used on ecommerce websites?
They are generally used to conduct surveys, encourage newsletter subscriptions, increase fans on social media and promote special offers.
Public enemy number one or conversion rate hero?
Any action suggested in a pop-up carries a higher conversion rate than when it is simply published on the website. It is undeniable that this approach, which forces users to look, does a better job at attracting visitor attention.
KISSmetrics published some interesting case studies on the effect of pop-ups in their article entitled Three Risky Ecommerce Techniques That Could Actually Increase Your Conversions.
A particularly interesting case involves Darren Rowse, a writer for ProBlogger. He grew his newsletter signup rate by 900% by simply adding a pop-up. Another blogger also echoes his result by sharing, her subscription rate grew 1,375% after inserting a pop-up.
- Attract visitor attention
- Quickly increase your conversion rate
Pop-ups: A double-edged sword
We have just seen how pop-ups can be substantially beneficial. However, we cannot ignore the fact that web surfers have now developed a reflex for automatically closing them. That is why it is important to carefully consider the message they contain. Furthermore, anyone who wants to install pop-ups on their website should be aware of the risks associated with their misuse.
- Very intrusive as they are automatically displayed
- Require an action on the part of the user
- Bad reputation due to countless lackluster advertisements
- Misuse may irritate users and reflect negatively to your store
Summary of an effective pop-up
To help you create effective pop-ups we’re sharing best practices broken down into Dos and Don’ts. This way, you can avoid the problems we mentioned above.
• Use a lightbox pop-up.
• Make it easy to close the pop-up with a clearly visible cross or by simply clicking outside the pop-up window.
• Use a tracking cookie so that the pop-up isn't displayed every time a user visits your website.
• Set the pop-up to appear after one minute or two page views. Setting parameters such as these lets the visitor gain a better understanding of your website before being asked to perform an action.
• Pop-up content and copy should focus on user benefits. Pay attention to the title to encourage users to act. For instance, you could mention the number of people already subscribed to the newsletter, or offer a discount for signing up.
• Try out different designs and elements to find the best format for you.
• Don't display pop-ups too often; otherwise you may be indexed as spam.
• Don't ask for too much information: a name and email address should be sufficient for newsletter sign-up.
• Don't use pop-ups that appear when a user wants to leave a page; otherwise they may leave for good.
Some pop-up inspiration
For some inspiration, here are PrestaShop stores currently using pop-ups.
• The €10 off for signing up for the newsletter
• The prominent call to action button with engaging copy
• That they state the number of Facebook fans, giving the site credibility
• The automatically generated promotion code displayed – a perfect way to attract attention and encourage purchases
• The clearly visible “x” for closing the pop-up
• That the pop-up appears only after three clicks
• That the pop-up closes by clicking outside the window
• The customer benefits are clearly stated
How to insert a pop-up
Do you want to try out using pop-ups in your PrestaShop store? Check out these two modules that will help you easily create and manage pop-ups!
While there is no denying that pop-ups are intrusive, they can produce surprising results when used correctly. Depending on how you use them, they can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The bottom line: you have to TRY and TEST.
Are you for or against pop-ups?
Since there is no industry consensus on the subject, we'd love to hear your thoughts. Have an experience you want to share? Contribute to the debate in the comments below.