Your Pop-Ups - and Your Audience
Contributor: Lauri Harpf
pop-up windows are disliked by most Internet users,
many businesses continue to use them as part of
their advertising strategy. This article provides
valuable advice for those who feel the pop-up window
must be present on their site.
In Why Pop-Ups are Pop-Bad,
we looked at the pitfalls of pop-up advertising,
the most significant of them being the way Internet
surfers feel about pop-ups. As I mentioned in that
previous article, when you use pop-ups, you take
the risk of your visitor count suffering and the
reputation of your site being damaged. Despite that,
many use pop-ups on their sites for a variety of
reasons and are reluctant to cease using an advertising
method they feel to be effective.
So, what is there to do? Is the only possibility
to either make your visitors feel frustrated or
drop your pop-ups? While your users would probably
want to see the pop-ups disappear completely, that
is not always possible. However, by making some
slight changes to the way you use pop-ups, you can
often achieve a result that satisfies both you and
benefit, minimum trouble
are multiple ways to make your pop-ups more user
friendly, here are some of my favourites. Try them
out and see which ones work for you.
1. Imagine this.
You arrive at a site and a pop-up ad appears. Being
a veteran web-user, you close it quickly and continue
investigating what the site has to offer. When you
open the next page, the same pop-up comes up. Again,
one click from your mouse and it is gone. On to
the next page and the darn thing pops up yet again!
Now you're getting annoyed and start looking for
OK, you probably didn't have to imagine that. If
you've been on the web for a while, you're likely
to have experienced it. Having the pop-up appear
once didn't feel as bad, but when you had already
looked at it and decided that you weren't interested
in what it advertised, having it come up again and
again made the site seem very unfriendly.
your visitors and limit the amount of times the
same pop-up is shown to the same user. Although
it is claimed that on average, a person has to see
the same ad several times before he'll react to
it, enough is enough.
2. Do not use
more than one pop-up on a single page. Using multiple
pop-ups is unlikely to greatly increase the response
rate to your advertising, but it will ensure that
the patience of your visitors wears thin a lot faster.
A horde of pop-ups appearing at the same time may
crash some browsers and slow older computers down
to a crawl.
launching your pop-ups at the moment users exit
your site rather than when they arrive to it. This
is likely to make your advertisements seem less
distracting, because at that point your visitors
have already finished using your site and found
the information they were looking for.
If you choose to use exit pop-ups, remember that
they offer an excellent opportunity to retain contact
with a visitor that may otherwise be lost in cyberspace.
A pop-up to bookmark your site or subscribe to your
newsletter is likely to work better at this stage,
as the user has already seen that you run a high-quality
4. Just like
all other forms of advertising you use, your pop-ups
should offer content that is relevant to the topic
of your site. For example, it's a much better idea
to have a pop-up that sells subscriptions to Sports
Illustrated on your Boston Bruins fan site than
a pop-up for an Internet casino. Not only does it
get a better response rate, but it also makes your
site to look more professional.
5. Every time
you add pop-up advertisements or adjust existing
ones, keep a close eye on how your audience reacts
to the changes. Your visitor count, the time an
average visitor spends on your site and the number
of page views per visitor are all important meters
that will promptly notify you of any possible problems.