To Pop-up or NOT Pop-up that IS the Question

by | Mar 8, 2016 | Informative Blog, Website Tools | 0 comments

[A]ccording to Hannah Alvarez of of UserTesting, “Pop-Up Ads” are the most hated user experience online and apparently Hillary Clinton doesn’t know this. Because the first thing you see when you go to her websites is…a pop-up.

Is this really worth doing? Are there times when offending your audience to create a call-to-action is worth it? What are the benefits of a pop-up should you choose to actually break the rules?

To Pop-up or NOT Pop-up, that is the Question.

Hillary Clinton's Website Example of a Pop-Up

So let’s take a closer look at former Secretary of State’s website. She is using a pop-up to get you to agree with her before entering her site. She wants you to say ‘yes’ to a relatively easy question, before she hits you with a harder one. “Will you donate to my campaign?” Her designer even goes as far as moving the exit/close button from the top right to the top left. Again very sneaking, subtle or dare I say… leftist?

Are Pop-Ups Worth Doing?

The answer is depends. On my personal blog, Daddy Got Custody, I added Feedburner with a 30 second delay pop-up, for all first time visitors. After a year, I did add a bunch of subscribers, but my overall traffic went down. The following year (2015), I remove the pop-up and the traffic when up and new subscribers went down dramatically. Note: I currently DON’T have a pop-up. So it may be worth it, depending on your objective.

Do Pop-ups Work?

According to Jay Baer’s Digital Marketing article, Pop Up Ads: Necessary Evil, or Just Evil? they are 49% more effective than banner ads, or pretty much any other form of website marketing. Companies like Orbitz built their entire brands from pop-ups. So if you decide to add pop-ups to your site, here are a few of my tips.

5 Elements to Consider When Using Pop-Ups

1) Have One and Only One Per-Visit. Most WordPress Pop-Up plugins will cookie the user and be as in frequent as few as 30 to 180 days, as to not annoy repeat visitors. I think 30 day cookie is a must. My opinion anyway.

2) Have a Logical and Simple Way to Close the Ad. Make it simple and do allow a close button. Nothing is more annoying than an ad you have to wait to close or can’t close.

3) Keep It Simple Stupid. Grab an email, give a simple message, but don’t make the pop-up complicated or long.

4) Keep It On Message and Logical for the User. I am not a fan of a global pop-up on every single page. Make it work with a specific page or post topic.

5) Realize Your Audience Hates Them. Apologize and be mindful how offensive pop-ups really are. You can get away with murder (online) if you are really nice and apologetic in the process.

Pop-up work, they are offensive. Some would argue a necessary evil for a certain purposes or causes. Hillary needs them to raise money, future President Trump doesn’t. She has them, he doesn’t. Trump doesn’t want to offend anybody on his website. He would prefer to do that in person. But that…is another story. hehe

Image courtesy of and Hillary Clinton.

Do you use pop-ups? How have they affected your website positively or negatively?