Learn 5 Mistakes you are making with Pop-Ups

Have you seen the movie, Ralph breaks the internet? This well crafted animation illustrates clearly how pop-ups feel like- In-your-face street marketers.

Whenever there is too much of something, especially in the world of marketing, the efficiency wears off. This is the main argument behind the claim that pop-up windows are dead – they, well, just pop-up everywhere.


Just like with banner blindness, it’s become a part of website visitors’ routine to automatically close a few annoying windows before they get to the content they wanted to see in the first place.

But is this the pop-ups’ fault? Are they annoying by nature? In fact, they are not. Pop-ups are still a solid lead generation machine – as long as they are in the right marketers’ hands. So how do you make pop-ups work for you, instead of against you? Try to avoid these common mistakes.

Bad timing

There are so many things that can be annoying for your website visitor, but getting blasted in the face with an offer before they can see what you offer is probably the worst.

If you put yourself in the shoes of a random website visitor, you’ve probably been there before. You search for a certain topic of interest and click on the link. Before you can even read the first few words, you are interrupted by a pop-up asking for a newsletter subscription.

The first step to determining your perfect pop-up timing is to analyze the time visitors spend on your page. You can do that in Google Analytics. According to Wisepops, the best pop-up timing is about 50%-60% of the average time on the page.

Finally, there are other ways to get the timing right – triggering pop-ups by behaviors such as exit-intent, inactivity on the page, etc. This brings us to the next mistake marketers often make.


Lack of context

Lack of context is the grave sin of mismatching pop-up and the page content, the user’s search intent or displayed behavior.

Let’s imagine that you sell sports shoes and that the website visitor landed on a blog post with 5 tips for running shoes maintenance. The right thing would be to either offer them a subscription for your newsletter or to offer them a discount for a shoe maintenance product. The wrong thing would be to offer free shipping for your products.

Sure, free shipping is a great thing, but this is not what the visitor was looking for in this particular situation. They want tips on maintenance, which implies that they own sports shoes and they are your target audience. In that case, you offer them a subscription and add them to your email list, or you offer them a product they could need based on their search.

Make sure your pop-up window offer is connected to the user’s search intent and their behavior on the page. Around 70% of visitors who abandon your site never come back. Similarly, 67% of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts midway, without making the final purchase. However, by triggering pop-ups to respond to a user’s exit intent, you can convert an additional 2-4% of visitors into email subscribers or buyers

Unconvincing copy

Once your pop-up shows up at the right place, at the right time, it also has to say the right thing. Now, one of the greatest challenges for any marketer is figuring out what works better. A simple offer and call to action?

Whether you’re going to get creative or keep it simple, a convincing pop-up window includes:

  1. Clear offer
  2. Value explanation
  3. Call to action

No valuable offer

The share of internet users who are increasingly aware of the importance of online privacy keeps growing. This makes the online marketer’s job increasingly difficult because users understand how valuable their contact information is, and they want to get something in return

If you want to create a valuable offer, either have a great giveaway or discount, or try to think about the thing that makes your incentive unique.

No testing

Throughout this article, I often mentioned that things that work for one pop-up don’t necessarily work for the other. Plenty of marketers google tips on creating a high-converting pop-up, only to get lackluster results and wonder where things went wrong.

Creating a pop-up that shows up at the right place, at the right time, and says all the right things takes time and lots of testing. The best way to explore this is to constantly track your website visitors’ behavior and engagement, and fine-tune your pop-ups according to the results.

Another excellent way to nail down what works and what doesn’t is to do split tests. Create several pop-up copies with various timings and triggers, and track which one drives the best results.


The average conversion rate for all pop-ups is 3.09%. However, your pop-up window can also make it to the top-performing 10%, which convert around 9.28% visitors. As you can see, pop-ups are not dead – the only thing that kills them is trying to do things by somebody else’s rule book.


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