• Blog
  • >
  • The Do's and Don'ts of Pop Up advertising

The Do's and Don'ts of Pop Up advertising

authorIcon June 5, 2017

pop up advertising.jpg

The aggressive approach to pop-up advertising, which was a huge trend in the early 2000's thought very little of user experience. Getting in people's way, its reputation became very poor, very fast. And that's putting it mildly. So you end up with stats like this one, which says that pop-upads trigger more than two thirds of users to leave websites.

But the fact of the matter is that pop-up advertising works. It can be very successful and yield great results without hurting the user experience – but it is imperative that you do it right.

Sure, this type of advertising, as we imagine it, is annoying, useless, bandwidth-consuming, malware-ridden digital shirt-tugger. Most advertisers get it wrong, which is why people quit the sites that serve them - fast. But it’s 2017, we’ve found a few methods that work, and when properly executed, they can reward you with amazing conversion rates. Here we’ll list some of the things you should, and some you shouldn’t be doing, when preparing a pop-up advertising campaign.

User experience, both online and on mobile, is of utmost importance nowadays. Anything and everything that might create friction in user experience will have visitors fleeing your page faster than Justin Bieber running from his fans. So let’s take a look at what you should be doing:


1) Modernize

The first, most important thing, is to modernize your approach to pop-up advertising. Back in the days of the Wild Wild Internet, pop-up advertising used to be this animated, flashing window that popped up everywhere, getting in the users’ way, asking them to meet cute single ladies nearby.  No wonder ad blockers are booming.

Modern internet is all about user experience. Everything, even pop-up advertising, needs to be relevant, and needs to be as unobtrusive as possible. Everyone loves relevant content, presented in a nice, humane way. ‘Screaming’, flashing animations will get you nowhere.  

2) Personalize

pop up advertising

Image Credit: Marketing Charts

It's no secret that personalized ads yield much better results than serving anything, to anyone. Tailoring content increases conversions, reduces page and cart abandonment. Users find it more engaging, time-saving and memorable.

Even though content personalization often draws with it the question of privacy, research has shown that users are more than willing to give out certain information about themselves to get better offers in return. Things like time spent on certain sites, keywords used and ads they clicked on in the past are some of the elements that can be used to create personalized offers.

 3) Get creative with creatives

Pun definitely intended. Check out these two cool solutions:

pop up examples


walmart example.png


Image Credit: Ambitionally    

There really is no reason to be boring, bland, or go with the same calls to action with a gazzilion exclamation marks. Being funny, witty, interesting,different, or straight to the point goes a long way. After all, you’re in the ads business – people are being paid a ton to be creative, so go execute that crazy idea you had last weekend.

4) Test solutions

Test everything. Test your creatives. Test your calls to action. Test the colors used. Test the ad's size. Test everything and test frequently. Use the A/B approach, and don't be afraid to take a few risks. The success of a pop-up ad depends on multiple factors, one of which is your buyer's persona.

5) Offer stuff

Your pop-up ad is the perfect way to offer a bit of extra value to your visitor. It's literally in their face and they can't miss it. You can either annoy them with it – or surprise and excite them. By offering stuff, you're increasing your chances of creating the latter effect. Newsletter subscriptions, premium content, early bird offers, whatever works. One of the above mentioned examples does a great job of offering premium content.


1) Hide the close button

If users can’t find the button to close the pop ad straight away, they won’t even bother looking. They will just close the tab, or the browser altogether, and poof! Goes the visitor, and a potential buyer. What’s even worse, those that do try to find the button and fail will leave the site in frustration, and you definitely don’t want to be remembered that way. 

2) Manipulate your visitors into clicking the CTA by being condescending

Let’s take a look at a an example: 

creative example

Image Credit: Web Design Ledger |  Ambitionally

An interesting thing about this ad is that it lacks a “No” button with an accompanying message. We see it all too often, things like “No thanks, I would rather be an average manager” and “no thanks, I don’t need more clients”. This condescending tone which is trying to manipulate visitors into clicking Yes isn’t doing anything good for the site. A well-built pop ad will refrain from trying to manipulate its visitors into clicking.

3) Serve the same ad multiple times

This is what serving the same ad to the same person multiple times does to your business. This is a big no-no. Serving the same ad multiple times can seriously hurt their user experience, especially if the ad served has the same message. Maybe you can afford interrupting them once, but doing it twice or more times really is asking for trouble. Always make sure to use cookies to make sure people see the opt-in no more than once.

4) Use templates

This might be a bit of a long stretch, but bear with me. If there is any chance to take a step away from template pop-up ads, do it. Having the same looks and feels as the next guy will not make you stand out in a crowd, will not excite or interest people. It is best to go with a custom option, whenever possible.

Closing comments

Some fifteen years ago, during the Wild Wild Internet days, pop-up advertising was annoying, intrusive, irrelevant and misleading. Those were the days when the image of pops as a sinister practice was created, and unfortunately, it’s still present. However, numbers also show that pop-up advertising is a great tool, but only – ONLY – if done right. Keep in mind the tips we wrote here and you should be good to go.

Tagged: affiliate marketing