How to Take Pop-Ups from Annoyances to Enjoyances

Sep 27, 2022 9:00:00 AM
9 min read

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade or two, chances are, you’ve encountered an in-page pop-up. And if you’re like most people, (73% disapprove of them) you probably despise them. 

Since their inception, pop-ups have been getting a bad reputation, thanks to their invasive and persistent nature. But as much as these ads can be a nuisance, they're also a huge asset to e-commerce businesses—when done right. Again, when done right. 

So, how can you transform your online store’s pop-up ads from an annoying visitor who can’t take a hint, to a welcome friend who has a lot to offer? We’ve got plenty of info to share on this, plus why pop-ups should be part of your e-commerce marketing plan. 

What are pop-ups?

Just like the name implies, a pop-up window is an overlay that “pops up” on your e-commerce site to capture a shopper’s attention. Pop-ups come in many forms and can be used to serve various purposes, from promoting an offer to preventing someone from leaving your site before making a purchase

What do people dislike most about pop-ups?

G2 performed a study to find out the main reasons people loathe pop-ups and while the findings aren’t necessarily surprising, they could help you understand the way your shoppers think.

  • Over 45% said it’s because they’re everywhere.
  • Nearly 30% said it’s because they appear the moment they visit a website.
  • 19.2% said it’s because they see them every time they go to a site.
  • Almost 6% simply find the designs boring.

Shopper being overwhelmed by pop-ups

From a business perspective, pop-ups can be a hindrance for other reasons as well. For starters, pop-ups can increase bounce rates, which can not only irritate shoppers, but also negatively impact an e-commerce site’s ranking in search engines. 

Pop-ups can also slow down page loading times. With one in four visitors willing to abandon a website that takes more than four seconds to load, having the right tools in place to prevent this is pivotal in gaining those conversions online retailers depend on. 

Why are pop-ups valuable to e-commerce stores?

If the above facts started sounding your internal alarms on nixing pop-ups altogether, then the pros will certainly diffuse any concerns—especially since they all lead to higher conversion opportunities.

Pop-ups help drive sales.

shopper being served a pop-up messageWhen done properly, pop-ups can help persuade shoppers to make a purchase and have an average conversion rate of 3.09%. But remember, this is just the average; The top pop-ups have an average of 9.28%! 

They’re one of the best tools to generate leads. 

Using pop-ups to gather user information is an excellent way to grow your online business. For e-commerce stores, this can be done through offering a limited-time offer, a special promo code, or getting them to sign-up for exclusive offers and product or store information. 

If you had a 7.5% conversion rate, for example, that means you’d get 375 new online sales or subscribers for every 5,000 users. While that may seem like a low number, if you see an average of 15,000 users a month, that’s 13,500 more sales and/or subscribers a year.

You can use them to share valuable content.

Pop-ups can help you communicate useful information to your customers that is relevant to them. This can include everything from new goods or services to promotional offers to product recommendations based on their shopping history and behaviors.

They let you test various offers.

Two automobile offers being a/b tested

A/B testing is something many online retailers already do in their advertising. Pop-ups take that to the next level by letting you see what offers and messaging are driving conversions on your website quickly, so you can remove what’s underperforming and keep enhancing what is.   

Related: How Retailers Can Complement A/B Testing with Machine Learning

What’s the secret to a great pop-up?

Earlier, we mentioned that pop-ups are a huge asset to e-commerce businesses when done right. That’s the golden nugget (or in this case, green dollar bills) for crafting pop-ups that are as engaging to your shoppers as they are useful to the bottom line. And when it comes to the recipe for success, there are no secret ingredients, just a lot of smart thinking and strategies.

1. Design for your shoppers.

machine learning robot observingYou can have a kick-ass offer, but if it’s lost in poor design choices and lackluster content, it will likely get lost in the eyes of its beholder. 

When creating a pop-up, the first thing to keep in mind is who you’re designing for. Once you’re able to understand your audience (and their needs), you’ll be able to find that happy balance between capturing their attention without utterly annoying them.

A well-designed pop-up has:

Sure, there will be times when all of these components may not be needed, and there might be times when you require even more. The goal is to know who you’re targeting and keep it simple, so they know exactly what action you want them to take. 

2. Limit how much information you ask for.

Sign-up friction is a thing that can easily dissuade shoppers from completing a purchase. The best way to counter this is by reducing the number of input fields to only what is essential. 

Recently, Drip examined conversion rates, based on one to five input fields. After more than two fields, the number of conversions dropped from 3.31% to 0.81%. Translate that to potential customers (and sales), and that’s 25 fewer sales per 1,000 shopper visits, which can really add up, annually. On the flip side, you could see up to a 25% conversion rate by using less than three fields, which would be 250 sales per 1,000 shopper visits—a pretty nice jump from only eight at 0.81%. 

Your best bet? Ask for a name and email, and get any other information you need later, like during the check-out process.

3. Use time delays.

Having a pop-up jump up in your face the moment you visit a site is no different (or better) than having a salesperson “greet” before you’ve gotten both your feet into a brick-and-mortar store. 

Nothing turns a user off more than feeling like they don’t have a moment to breathe before being inundated with information overload. That being said, you also don’t want them feeling like they’re lost in the abyss of product pages, searching for something great. Because of this, timing truly is everything. 

Studies show that delaying pop-ups by more than five seconds generated over 52% more conversions than delaying them for less. Using a time delay will enable you to give your shoppers a moment or two to feel settled, so they can appreciate the incentives your pop-up has to offer when it finally does arrive. 

4. Make them mobile-friendly. 

Responsive mobile devicesWith mobile users currently at over 5.22 billion, it only makes sense to optimize your pop-ups for this growing audience. 

Data shows that pop-ups tend to perform better on mobile devices than on desktop by 1.32%, in part because of a higher engagement and response level to CTAs in general. To elevate mobile conversions even more, ensure pop-ups are kept simple with less copy and design elements, fewer form fields, and a larger CTA. Designs should also work with various device types and screen orientations. 

5. Remember that size matters.

If you’ve been guilty of using full-screen pop-ups, please remove them from your arsenal of marketing tools immediately. 

Using pop-ups that cover up the entire screen is only inviting potential customers to shop elsewhere because they’re not even able to browse your products or services. By using a smaller, less obtrusive pop-up, your visitors will notice the offer, while also still seeing the majority of content behind it. 

6. ‘X’ marks the spot.

At least when it comes to offering your shoppers a way out of your pop-up. 

Providing a visible, easy-to-locate ‘x’ (typically on the top right corner of the pop-up) will make your shoppers feel in control of the situation, which in turn, will make them feel more comfortable with your store. This is an important step in building brand trust. 

Establishing credibility helps eliminate any urgency to find the nearest exit, which means your shoppers will be more responsive to the pop-ups you do feature—especially when they know it’s not spam.

7. Feature pop-ups only when they’re needed. 

Magnifying glass collecting insightsEarlier on, we shared that 45% of users can’t stand pop-ups because they’re everywhere. To counter this and keep your brand away from the haters, proceed cautiously. 

Your best approach? Rather than using a generic pop-up across your site, tailor your pop-ups to the content each user is engaging in, using the data you’ve collected. (If you don’t have any, we can help with that!)

You’ll also want to avoid hitting your shoppers up with the same pop-ups over and over again. Setting up frequency and capping settings that limit how often each shopper sees the same pop-ups is an easy way to ensure you don’t go from engaging to enraging your customers. 

8. Make a last-ditch effort.

Exit pop-ups are hands down, one of the most valuable tools in your e-commerce conversion kit. 

According to Conversion Sciences, 10 to 15 percent of lost conversions can be recovered through exit-intent popups. This means that for every 100 customers who decide to bail without buying what’s in their carts, 10 to 15 will end up proceeding with a purchase after seeing a pop-up.

Of course, what you say is crucial in getting these conversions, so keep the incentive relevant to each visitor’s online shopping behaviors (again, we can help with that), so that they have more reason to proceed with the purchase.

In other words, between 10 and 15 percent of visitors leaving your site will respond to a well-crafted message.” So regardless of some people’s perceptions of popups, exit-intent popups do work.

Key Takeaways

Yes, pop-ups can be super annoying and yes, you will never be able to please everyone. But pop-ups aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. And more importantly, they work…when done right!

Remember, when using pop-ups:

  • Design them with your customers in mind.
  • Limit the number of input fields.
  • Use time delay to feature them appropriately.
  • Avoid covering the entire screen.
  • Provide an exit option.
  • Use them only when needed.
  • Utilize them to convert cart abandoners.

Apply these strategies, and you’ll find your way to pop-up paradise, where the customers are more engaged, and the conversion rates are higher than ever!

Need a jumpstart on creating pop-ups that deliver? 

Man running to jumpstart his conversionsNot only does Granify create personalized messaging that generates proven results, but we have the data—customer data, that is—to back it. And we’d be happy to show you how we put it all together in a way that creates a delightful shopper experience.

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