6+3 Pop-up Best Practices & Examples that Increase Conversion on Your Website

6+3 Pop-up Best Practices & Examples that Increase Conversion on Your Website

Pop-up windows are, probably, the most hated marketing tool. Since the early 1990s, when the first pop-ups appeared, people have disliked, blocked, and ignored them. Nevertheless, the pop-ups can increase website conversion, stimulate lead generation, and push the revenue up. 

In this article, the experts from 13Chats discuss the best pop-up practices that help transform annoying ads into a win-win deal. Some of the best practices are common, like the “know your customer” rule, while other practices are specific, like the best practices for delaying a pop-up on a website. And, of course, we also pay attention to mobile pop-up practices too. 

What are pop-ups and how can you use them for business?

Pop-up windows, or just pop-ups, are a type of online ads. When a web surfer visits a website, the small window suddenly appears (pops up), overlaying the original page. The main aim of a pop-up is to push some content to the user’s attention. 

For the first time, pop-ups appeared in the 1990s, primarily based on JavaScript. Those days, the best pop-up practices were really evil: they sucked up traffic from people’s low-speed modem connections and caused a lot of suffering. It is enough to say that the inventor of the pop-up apologized for his creation.

Now, in the 2020s, over 200 million people use online pop-up blockers daily. Despite this fact, pop-ups are still alive and well. Why? The truth is — they work. Surprisingly, they are still an effective tool for advertising and promotion: Jennifer Shore from SmartBug mentions a conversion rate of up to 2%, which looks attractive for marketers. 

Now, in the 2020s, over 200 million people use online pop-up blockers daily. Despite this fact, pop-ups are still alive and well. Why? The truth is — they work. Surprisingly, they are still an effective tool for advertising and promotion: Jennifer Shore from SmartBug mentions a conversion rate of up to 2%, which looks attractive for marketers. 

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As time went on, the Internet became smarter, and so did pop-ups. Modern upgraded pop-ups are no longer annoying ads. They generate leads, collect subscribers, and inform the site visitors about important updates. OptiMonk provides a list of the recent pop-up case studies, showing that pop-ups offer: conversion growth of up to 48-62%, lead generation growth of up to 65%, and revenue growth of up to 7%. Impressive. 

There are many types of pop-ups varied by size, placement, time of appearance, purpose, and so on. Every industry uses its own website pop-up strategy. eCommerce retailers use discount pop-ups for special offers and abandoned cart pop-ups to encourage shoppers to complete their purchases. Blogs use pop-ups to welcome new visitors and show before-you-go messages. Each type can improve your website’s performance.  

So, if you’re wondering if pop-ups are good for conversion offers —  the answer is yes. However, to get the most out of your pop-up, make sure you follow the best pop-up practices. According to HubSpot,  73% of users dislike online pop-ups. To overcome their resistance and add pop-ups to your marketing efforts, we collected website pop-up best practices.

Pop-up best practices for better website performance and conversion growth

Every marketing activity should start with strategic planning: set goals, estimate the budget, and make all the necessary calculations to forecast the return of your marketing investments. This is true for your website pop-up strategy also. Check the list of the best pop-up practices and make your pop-ups a valuable part of the customer journey.

Know your audience

Before you even start planning your marketing endeavors, you should analyze your target audience. Their preferences should define your pop-up design and behavior. For example, you can use bright colors for a kids’ clothes shop, while the pop-up design for a B2B service provider should be stricter. 

Knowing how your audience works is the first of the best practices of website pop-ups. For example, if most visitors come to your site via a blog, a “before you go” pop-up form will help you collect subscribers. For a landing page with a hot offer, a pop-up with a “buy now” offer is the way to go.

Choose the right format and placement

For the best performance, use the most appropriate format for your pop-up window. For example, new visitors will be happy to see the welcome pop up with a special offer. Before opening the large file, especially on a mobile device, the “Yes/No” pop-ups option allows users to decide if they want to download it. 

Of the various pop-up formats, we do not recommend full-screen pop-ups that overlay the entire page. Site visitors often cannot distinguish the page content from the pop-up and leave the page quickly. Use overlays if there is no alternative solution.

Employ a relevant design

Pop-up designs consist of various components: size, colors, fonts, media, interactive elements, etc. There is no universal rule for each case, but you can keep some simple rules.

  • Keep the pop-up design consistent with your brand in terms of colors, fonts, and other visual elements.
  • Make it contrast enough to attract the attention of the reader.
  • Avoid large-sized media files, like images or video, especially for mobile gadgets.
  • Add a nice CTA if it is appropriate for the chosen format.
  • Be sure that all of the interactive elements are present and work flawlessly, e.g., buttons on your subscription form.

Do not forget one of the best website pop-up practices regular design updates based on results. Refresh your pop-ups every 3-4 months; otherwise, users will stop noticing your pop-ups, and your conversion rate and other KPIs will go down. 

Set up perfect timing

You can set up your pop-ups in different ways: they can appear immediately, after a specified delay, or after some actions, for example, scrolling down the page. The timing depends on the purpose and placement of the pop-up window. 

The best practices for delaying a pop-up on a website show that no delay or a short delay can interrupt visitors’ activities and make them leave the page. On the other hand, users may leave your page before the pop-up appears with a long delay, and the potential engagement is lost. This pop-up appears on the Macy’s site in the first seconds of the visit, offering a discount for a subscription.


Stay polite and helpful

Always check the tone and message of your pop-up to avoid being out of line. Even if you use an informal tone of voice, try to stay professional. Avoid addressing hot social issues,  don’t use explicit words, and always be friendly with your customers. 

Also, make sure your pop-up offers value for the user. In eCommerce, it is easy: just offer a discount or similar offer. For other industries, the value is different: for example, you can offer the checklist for those who subscribe to your mailing list from a landing page.

Assure quality

It seems strange to discuss the importance of quality assurance, but the truth is bitter. Many site owners launch the pop-ups without doing the proper testing, and their visitors have a negative experience with numerous issues and mistakes. 

After setting up your pop-ups, check them several times. Check it at least once in incognito mode, to make sure your specific browser settings are not changing anything. Spending minutes on quality assurance will save you hours or even days of bug fixing.

Three mobile-specific pop-up best practices

Privy claims that in 2021, 54% of eCommerce business comes from mobile users. And, the trend is still growing. As more and more people continue to shop on mobile devices, mobile-centric pop-ups are growing. However, Google penalizes sites with intrusive pop-up windows. Follow these practices to avoid sanctions from the global search engine.

Avoid high-resolution images and videos

Mobile users look at pop-up windows for less than a second — even less time than people spend looking at pop-ups on desktop versions. Leave bright product photos and videos for your product pages. Use simple contract design and a clear call to action to hook your users and redirect them to the product page.

Do not use intrusive overlayers

The fastest way to Google sanctions on mobile is by overlaying pop-up windows. Google demotes sites with intrusive pop-ups in their overall ranking, unless they are helpful, like an age requirement notification. Only use a large pop-up if a user demonstrates an interest in your content. For example, if a user stays on the page for a specific time or scrolls the page down, they are more likely to respond favorably to your pop-up.

Be careful with the content input forms

People mostly dislike long forms, but mobile users absolutely hate them. Do not create multi-field forms — an email address is enough to contact this user later. Your interest in getting more data about your visitor can end with them leaving your website forever. 

Following these three mobile pop-up best practices, you can avoid the negative reaction of search engine systems and achieve your marketing goals.

Consider 13Chats your trusted partner

Usually, site owners choose to learn some programming techniques and set up the pop-ups or hire a contractor to do this. However, learning takes a significant amount of time, and hiring an engineer can cost a fortune. We are glad to offer a third option — a ready-made solution for pop-ups. 

13Chats offers Smart Widgets — a smart solution for website owners. The main benefit of this option is that it requires no coding. So, to set it up and fine tune it to your needs, it is enough to have basic technical knowledge. Just choose a template, insert the text or other data, and off you go!

You can find more information about custom pop-up scenarios in our Knowledge Base. With a Basic subscription plan, you can even try it for free.

Final Thoughts

No matter if you love or hate pop-ups — they work. Correctly developed and fine-tuned pop-ups can be an effective marketing tool to increase website conversions, collect leads, and boost sales. 

Modern solutions allow you to develop a pop-up without costly coding, quickly and easily test your hypotheses, and get the best result with minimal expenditures. The free trial period is a perfect chance to evaluate the effectiveness of the pop-ups on your website. Give it a try!

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