Pop Ups : The Love Them Or Hate Them Debate


Nothing causes more irritation that website pop ups, apparently. It seems everyone hates them and everyone blocks them.

But is this really the case? Do people really hate pop ups?

You see, when we look into it in more detail, and ask people about the circumstances of their intense hatred of these tiresome little creatures, we find out two very interesting truths.

The first truth is :

– People hate irrelevant pop ups

The hate is derived from websites that spawn irrelevant non targeted advertising pop ups. You may be on a directory website, and you’re hit with a pop up trying to sell holidays. Were you looking for a holiday at the time? Chances are you weren’t.

Because the pop up is non targeted, it is not relevant to you and is therefore annoying.

And the second truth is:

-People hate multiple, spawning pop ups

The type you find on porn or gambling websites (so I’m reliably informed!) – the pop ups keep coming like a swarm of locusts – as quick as you can swat them, another appears!

So what does all this mean to the web marketers, website owners and webmasters among you?

Well, let’s turn it on it’s head . . .

If people hate irrelevant pop ups, will they like “targeted” pop ups?

The answer is yes.

Think about it… you’re a fanatical golfer, “Googling” away for some ideas on how to improve your game so you can trim your handicap down a bit and beat the annoying Colonel at the golf course on your next visit. You find a site in the search results that offers tips on improving your game. When you visit the site, you find a little pop up that announces their new report “Slash your handicap in 30 days” has just been released and is subject to a special 25% discount this week only. Now would you be interested in that?

You bet. It highlights a special offer that is targeted to the visitor. It’s not about cars, holidays or anything else – it’s about the subject of the website.

So how should we use pop ups:

1) Use them responsibly – no multiple pop ups allowed. Just one pop up per visit maximum. Don’t put them on every page of your website.

2) Make sure they are targeted to the content of your website – they must be relevant. If the site is about deep sea diving, the pop up must convey something of vital interest to the visitor.

3) Make sure they emphasise something different – a special offer, or new piece of news, that the average visitor will be interested in.

4) Use the new type of “unblockable” pop ups.

That last point is vital, as a massive percentage of internet users have browsers or software that will block the old type of pop up. The new type use layers and javascript to create a pop up that is part of the webpage itself – it is a layer, rather than a new window and so is therefore extremely difficult – if not impossible to block.

The easiest way to make a smart eye catching pop up (such as a virtual post it note) is to use pop up software. You literally select a template, select the size and type in your message and the program generates the code to insert in your website.

Pop ups have had bad press over the years. But use them responsibly, and they can have a massive positive impact on your website sales or subscriber opt ins – without alienating your visitors.

Robin Porter

Date: April 6, 2021

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