Love or loathe popups?
Love or loathe them, pop-ups are extremely effective and I’ll prove it.
I recently launched a new ecommerce site on a shoe string marketing budget. A large part of my marketing strategy was focussed around list growth of customer data and customer retention (re-opt in) which I’ll explain further in a follow-up article.
For any marketing tactics I wish to undertake I always run through simple calculations to determine return on investment (ROI). For example:
A amount visits / 100 x B conversion rate = C
C x D average order value = E revenue/profit
Therefore the basic principle for increasing revenue is to simply drive more traffic. Obviously I understand the quality and source of that traffic is equally important. However if potential customers have previously visited the site(s) or been previously opted in to marketing then surely it’s a no brainer?
When the words ‘pop-up’ was uttered in my presentation there were a few grumbles surrounding the controversial tool such as ‘not aligned with our brand’ and ‘cowboy tactics’. From a personal point of view, I’m not a fan. From a marketer point of view, I absolutely love them. I noticed recently BBC News is now using a responsive version; a big brand with ethical responsibilities.
Many consider pop-ups intrusive and infuriating, but “like any tool they’re ethically neutral until applied” (Rob Carpenter of www.evergage.com). I would argue that our impression of them is clouded by poor implementation and days gone by when they were crude and lacking control. Intelligent popups today can now be implemented in a variety of non-intrusive and annoying ways.
Rather than present the same popup in the same way to each visitor, new or returning. Intelligent popups can be setup using specific rules or trigger conditions. Displaying the right message; tone of voice and proposition at the right time, will yield far higher results.
By making sure the popup is congruent with what the user actually wants or needs, they will be incentivised to continue. Create doubt in the users mind; that not doing something is wrong rather than the other way around. You can hone this to perfection by A/B testing variations without the need for a developer.
Throwing a popup in a user’s face before they’ve even had chance to browser your site and form an opinion is only likely to infuriate the user and lose their trust.
Here are a few examples that I’ve used previously:
- Display based on logged-in or logged-out view
- Display on attempted site exit, for example when a user’s cursor goes to close the window
- Display based on returning or new visitors based on browser cookies
- Display based on the source of the visit, for example: search, direct, email (tracked link)
- Display before or after a certain amount of visits
- Display between date ranges
- Display different variations dependant on device
There are also many forms of popups types, although the majority of people think of them all solely as lightboxes. I’ll be honest; I haven’t used them all, therefore I’d be guessing if I was to recommend one over another without any data driven insight on effectiveness.
- Lightboxes – appears in the centre of the screen
- Floating bars – appears at the bottom of the browser
- Slide-ins – appears in the bottom corner
- Sidebar forms – appears at the side of the browser
- Polite scroll box – perfect after heavy content pages
- After post and inline forms – appears as a form on page; at the start, middle or end
A 47% increase in conversion improved registrations from an average 13,967 to 20,531. As a business we knew the lifetime value of a registration and could therefore assign a financial value to the increase. This was an integral part of my strategy and success.
For example, if each registration is worth £5 and the average lifetime value is 2 years, the above would equate to an extra £16,410 per month, £393,000 over 2 years. Not bad eh!?
I’m a big fan of testing rather than following someone else’s flawed approach. Always consider the evidence for yourself before drawing conclusions.
One of the issues with popups is the implication of visiting the site on different devices. If the popup trigger is based solely on browser cookies, your visitor may end up seeing the same popup numerous times. This isn’t a pleasant user experience; however you could always turn mobile display off?
I also here and read a lot about Adblockers and popup effectiveness reducing. I don’t doubt their use by the minority, but until the big brands such as Argos stop using popups for crucial elements of their site like ‘added to basket’ or ‘enter postcode for click and collect or home delivery’. I simply can’t see Adblockers becoming a problem. In my experience users on the whole aren’t aware of them, turn them off or don’t use them.
Although I’ve written specifications for bespoke popups before and commissioned their build. I would always recommend getting something of the shelf on a pay monthly. OptinMonster appears to be one of the most popular in my opinion.