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Are Popups Destroying Your User’s Experience?

Have you clicked on an article or website lately only to find yourself unsuccessfully trying to block multiple popups while trying to read whatever it was that brought you there? Well, you're not alone.

Screen with many pop-ups

As if the click-bait articles across social media weren't already driving us all nuts, now we have to click half a dozen popups to read the article or post.

  • Do you accept cookies?

  • Do you want to subscribe to our newsletter?

  • Don't miss out on this fantastic event!

  • Want to save 15% right now?

  • Download this free guide now…

  • Need to chat with someone?

  • Want to share this post?

The list is endless, and it's unsurprising these days if you have to close more than six popups on one site within a few minutes. So, what in the world of terrible 90's ideas is happening, and why are popups suddenly back on the agenda?

The Impact of the GDPR

In 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an EU law, came into effect, which basically required companies to start protecting the privacy of their customers and visitors.

If a company wants to collect any of your data, even that cookie data which does things like remember your login information, what you looked at last time, and if you left something in your cart, they need your permission. So, how do they do this? They ask you in a popup.

Fair call. We get it. You need our permission. We'll click the X, and oh, what's this? You’re also asking me to sign up for something? No thanks, unselect that option and now confirm. It's a necessary evil. You need our permission, and a popup is an easy way to do it.

Time to Start Browsing, Shopping, or Reading…Or Is It?

Woman looking frustrated at laptop

However, you've now made me wait another 5-10 seconds before I can even begin browsing. Irritating but not devastating, I'm still willing to persevere and get on with reading the article I wanted to read or shop through the products.

Time to start browsing, and oh wait, another popup. No, I don't want to join the newsletter. No, I don't want to create a free account. No, I don't need to chat with the AI bot. No, I don't need the free guide right now. What's this? A special event is happening? No thanks.

And then, they're out.

Are Popups Destroying Your User Experience and Costing You Leads?

If you're running more than one or two popups and an AI chatbot, most likely.

Woman looking frustrated at phone

Popups are annoying on a desktop computer or laptop, but on a mobile phone, they can get ridiculous. You might as well just give up trying to click that little X button without trying to get redirected to another website or page.

So, how good are the popups? Well, if you ask the people that make popup applications, they're fantastic. According to this article by OptiMonk, there is an 11.09% conversion on popups, a 20% conversion on conversational popups, a 14.4% conversion on full-screen popups, and so on. That sounds pretty convincing that popups work and are bringing in leads.

However, where's the data that compares popup conversions to lost leads? In the marketing world, 10% conversion on popups is considered to be highly successful. 10%? So, when the other 90% of leads didn't click the popup and said "no" to your offer, they probably went on to leave the website. How is that considered successful?

"When analyzing complex user traffic data, seeing both sides is important. Conversions are great, but if you offend customers in the process…that's not a "win"—that's a future loss.”

- LaNell Angerstein, 6 Degrees Media, Executive Director / CEO.

Has the marketing world gone mad, or are we trying to sugar-coat a strategy that's obviously not working or being done correctly? Perhaps.

The Do Not's of Website Popups

  1. Share this post on social media – If I love your article, product, or website, I'm going to share it on social media or with my friends when I finish reading it via one of the many share links on the page, but not if you interrupt me 30 seconds into reading it with a popup I have to close. People will share it because they had an emotional connection with the content, it resonated with them, or they found it helpful. Not because you made a popup.

  2. One Popup Is Enough – If you're running more than one popup or multiple popups with an AI chatbot, that's too many.

  3. Don't Ask for My Life Story – Not only do you want my email, but you also want my name, phone number, where I work, how much money I make, my family situation, and hobbies. Keep it simple. Get their email and maybe one or two qualifier details for contact sorting. That's all you need.

  4. Get Rid of Push Notifications – If your website is that interesting, I'll come back and check it out. I don't need you sending me 57 push notifications throughout the day reminding me. Just don't do it.

The Do's of Website Popups

  1. Keep It Simple – KISS works for many things in life, and making it easy for people to close popups is one of them. If you make that little X button tiny or hard to see, I'm more likely to close your website than even bother trying to hit the X.

  2. Don't Repeat Popups – Setup your popups so that if someone closes them once or says no once, they don't pop up the next time they visit. If I have to close your popups once and it's annoying, be sure that I won't be doing it a second time the next time I visit.

  3. Give Me A Minute – If you hit me with six popups before I've left the landing page, forget about it. Instead, think about exit intent tech, which allows popups to detect when someone's about to leave.

  4. Test It – Is it annoying? Are the popups popping at the right time? Does it work? Test it, and then test it repeatedly until it's timed perfectly.

  5. Give Me Something – If you want me to sign up, give me something worthwhile. Don't spam my email with useless emails. Instead, create content that sells and that will resonate with your audience.

"Some things in marketing are just common senselike keeping websites easy to use and being considerate of the user experience. I like to apply the same consideration to digital lead gen and websites as you would in-person sales or brick-and-mortar store. If you wouldn't do something in-person—you shouldn't do it digitally."

- LaNell Angerstein, 6 Degrees Media, Executive Director / CEO

Employee at register greeting customer

It's a great point.

When someone enters your store, you typically greet them, inquire about what help they need, then leave them to shop and approach you. You don't ask them six different things or keep going back to them.

So, why would you have multiple popups annoying your leads on a website when you wouldn't do it in person?

Should You Care?

Too many popups, the wrong popups, and popups that aren't timed well are 100% destroying the user experience for your leads, and you should 100% care.

We get it. Popups are easy to set up; once set up, you don't have to do anything.

But there's a lot of bad and unconvincing content, combined with poor marketing, that's being propped up or hidden by popups.

It's time to stop focusing on the 10% of people that click on your popups and start focusing on the 90% that don't.

Learn more about why delivering a personalized customer experience is more important than ever!


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About 6° Media If you want to create a digital culture for your company that wins over customers' hearts, 6° Media is here to help. Our skilled marketing experts can foster your business's continuous growth at scale and on budget.


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