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To Pop or not to Pop
Power of the Popup

Do they work?

Popup messages on websites have been around for a long time now. Love them or hate them they have been proven to be highly effective, if used in the right way. This blog explains how you can you be sure that you are using popup messages that will work for your website.
To be effective the pop must be strategically positioned and designed in such a way to assist the user to complete the conversion. In other words, the content or the purpose of the popup must be worthy of the interruption. Pop up messages that spring out at the wrong time interfere with possible conversions and irritate your website visitors.
If you are asking the question should I use pop ups on my website? The answer is probably yes.
The things you need to consider are the position, timing, content and request of the popup.

Position

So where should you put your pop up? This entirely depends on what you are trying to achieve. As with anything website related the first thing to do is to work out what your objective is. If it’s an eCommerce website then the obvious choice is to have a pop up on the product, specifically on the product detail page but without obscuring the page in anyway. You want the user to still be able see your products. In one example I went to (who shall remain nameless), the website was displaying a blog about pop ups and then a pop up displayed asking me something completely irrelevant and interrupting my reading. Oh, the irony! The popup message should also not take up the whole page. This obscures the content and interferes with the users process.

Design & Content 

Your pop up design should be fresh and relevant to the brand. This is where personalisation comes in. The more you can tailor the message, the more effective the popup becomes. If a user clicks on a product detail page then the content displayed in the pop up needs to assist the user with the purchase. For example, if a user is looking at shoes, then the popup needs to deliver some content to help the user purchase the shoes, i.e. click here for sizing chart, or these shoes also come in red, suede etc.  A popup should always include a clearly marked exit button. It’s not clever to hide this. If for any reason the user decides to they should easily be able to switch it off. 

Timing

The timing of a popup is critical.The content needs to be displayed at the right point in the user journey. Here is one example of an entrance popup that displays when you go on to the website initially. The website has identified that my IP address is in New Zealand so I am being asked if I would like to have my order delivered to New Zealand or Australia, this is a logical junction for this pop up. I click New Zealand and I am redirected to trenery.co.nz to continue shopping. When a popup interrupts the user then the information provided needs to be pertinent at that particular moment. For example, a popup message can be timed to delay display for 5 seconds to allow the user time to read the information on the home page and then gently slide out to offer the user assistance if required.

Call to Action

Each popup message should clearly display a clear call to action. As with the above, ‘Talk to us now’, 'Click here', 'Register Here' etc. The user should not be in any doubt as to how to respond to the information. Think about the next logical step for the user from this point and guide them towards it. It is a good idea to do some user testing at this stage to get some fresh eyes here. This will make sure that the next step is as obvious to everyone else as it is to you.

Test & Review

Changes to any website will be different for every company. As mentioned above, the first thing to do is to clarify your objective, then use Google Analytics to work out your benchmark. When you have that information you can clearly assess your results within the context of that information and accurately gauge how well it worked or didn't. Start your tracking and review the goals at periodic intervals. Then analyse the effectiveness of it. Did this work or not, if so how well? If not what can be done to improve the effectiveness of the popup. To conclude, before adding a popup message to your website you need to consider the design, position, content and timing of it. If you get it right you will get results.

Sharron Martin

Author: Sharron Martin
Published: 01/04/2017