Rachael Moss
by Rachael Moss
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As a consumer, how do you feel about pop-ups that interrupt your web browsing - mildly irritated, or full on annoyed?

If you are the “lucky winner” of a prize every time you visit a site, your fake news alert is triggered. But as a job-seeker how would you feel if said pop-up directed you to sign up for job alerts, helping you secure a suitable role? Possibly more receptive.

You get the point. We are more forgiving when tech helps us achieve our end goals. It’s not the pop-up per se we have beef with, rather it’s their (potential) over or misuse. 

Employed correctly, website pop-ups can be a very effective tool for converting web users -your potential candidates, clients and consultants- into active leads. However, if viewed negatively by your web visitors pop-ups will lead to higher page bounce rates. And it’s not just your web visitors, but potentially Google that you could hack off too as search algorithms take into account the web experience you provide.

As a call to action there are three key types of pop-ups to select from:

The exit intent pop-up – great for a last chance opportunity before someone leaves your site, such as inviting to sign up for a candidate newsletter or download an eBook

  • The floating bar pop-up – appearing at the top or bottom of the screen to drive someone to another page, as used on volcanic.com when we were directing visitors to our Covid support hub full of useful resources

The timed pop up – used to signpost to more relevant(possibly gated) content once someone has been on your site or page for a specific time, such as a salary guide.

For the initiated that are already using pop-ups, it’s important to periodically evaluate their effectiveness. Sumo analysed nearly 1.75 billion pop-ups and found that 'the average conversion rate for all pop-ups is 3.09 percent’. Best practice indicates:

Less is more: use pop-ups with caution and conviction. Especially if you also have a live chat pop-up to add to your site’s busyness. Prioritise where and when to use for maximum conversion rates and offer something of value that is related to the page they are on.

  • Avoid mobile: Google algorithms penalise mobile pop-ups as they consume too much screen space and negatively affect the user experience. 

Aim for low intrusion: timed pop-ups and exit intent pop-ups set to appear after the web user has spent 50% of the average time on a page allow the visitor to consume the information on the page and act on any CTAs.

  • Limit exposure: unless you have an irresistible offer, serve pop-ups only once to each visitor/per visit and ensure all pop ups have an expiry date.

  • Be clear and compelling: use appropriate imagery and obvious CTA buttons. Always have a clear exit/close button on the pop-up so they can close it down if not interested.

Your website analytics will be the true gauge of the Marketing Marmite effect-  whether your audience is a pop-up lover or hater. Track the performance of any pop-ups you adopt to understand their positive or negative impact on traffic. Measure page impressions, clicks, bounce rates, time on page and content downloads to assess the impact of pop-ups on your website goals. 

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