Pop-Ups: Advantages and How to Use Them Without Being Annoying

Pop-Ups: Advantages and How to Use Them Without Being Annoying

As you navigate through a website, you might notice that sometimes a small window appears to tell you about a specific discount or a new arrival. This window or banner is a marketing tool called a pop-up.

Because many businesses use this marketing strategy on their websites, we can assume that pop-ups can effectively promote your product or service. However, as a user, you might find that some pop-ups are more annoying than they are helpful in your shopping experience.

An intrusive pop-up can be harmful to your business growth because it can ruin the way users navigate your website. That is why it is essential to know how to use pop-ups on your website without making the experience unpleasant.

In this article, we will look at the definition of a pop-up, its advantages, and several aspects that you need to know to make your pop-ups more effective and less distracting for your visitors.

Pop-Ups and Their Advantages

When we talk about websites, a pop-up is a small window that appears while navigating the website. Pop-ups appear automatically without asking for your permission beforehand, but you can quickly close them and continue your activity.

Most pop-ups contain promotional content from the corresponding website or its affiliates in the form of text, CTA, or multimedia files like images or videos.

Websites use pop-ups for various purposes depending on what type of business they are. Pop-ups can be used to gain newsletter subscribers, promote special offers, introduce web hosting opportunities, or announce an upcoming event.

Depending on how you use pop-ups, they can be a reliable promotional tool. Pop-ups can grab users’ attention and display the most essential information you want them to see.  

7 Best Practices for Pop-Ups

To get the most out of your pop-ups, there are several factors you should consider. These practices will help you set effective pop-ups without being intrusive to your website users.

1. Set the Pop-Up Timing

A pop-up can be a highly effective marketing tool as long as you know how to time it properly. There are several strategies to apply when it comes to pop-up timing, depending on what you use it for. 

Generally, there are three most common ways to time pop-ups:

  • Immediately after the user opens your page.
  • When the user scrolls past a certain point on your website.
  • After a set amount of time. 

However, different pop-up functions require different timing. For example, having a content subscription CTA appear as soon as users arrive at your website will be ineffective. This is because the visitors need more on-site time to see whether your website content is of any value.

If your pop-up requires the users to know more about your website content and its general feel, we recommend using a scroll pop-up. This will ensure your visitors already get the required amount of information and time before the pop-up appears.

A timed pop-up requires a little bit more research to ensure its effectiveness. You will need to know the average visit duration of your website via analytics tools such as Google Analytics. That way, you can make sure the pop-up appears at the ideal time window.

An instant pop-up can be effective for limited-time promotions, especially the ones that will end shortly. Making it appear as soon as your visitor opens your website will give a sense of urgency.

Just make sure that the pop-up content makes sense for every visitor, regardless of their experience with your website.

2. Sell the Right Benefits

Admittedly, pop-ups can be annoying and disruptive, especially those containing a CTA with no apparent benefit for the user. These kinds of pop-ups not only have a lower chance of conversion but can also potentially increase your website’s bounce rate.

That is why making the benefit clear on your pop-up content is important. Doing so will not only make it less annoying but will also encourage visitors to complete your desired action.

For example, Adidas offers users who sign-up to their creator’s club a 15% discount on their next purchase.

Incentivizing your user with a discount pop-up can also be beneficial for your conversion rate. It may impact your margin, but the cost is worth it if it can push more visitors to make a purchase from your website.

3. Personalize the Pop-Ups

Most of the advertisements you see on various platforms like social media and YouTube are examples of personalized marketing. Personalization is a popular way to increase user engagement with your marketing tools.

Applying personalization strategies to your website pop-ups can also increase their effectiveness. Your website pop-ups can be personalized to cater to each customers’ shopping preferences. 

For example, if someone tends to look for electronic appliances, it is better to give them a pop-up that contains promotions for related products.

Some businesses, like Revolve, use a personalization strategy on their newsletter pop-up. They give their customers the option to get women’s clothing, men’s clothing, or both through their newsletter. 

This helps Revolve match their customers’ preferences, and the customers get personalized content and promotions that fit their needs.

4. Use a Simple Text and CTA

To get the most out of your website pop-up, make sure to use a simple, concise, and clear message on it. More often than not, users won’t spend too much time on a pop-up screen.  Therefore, using small fonts for essential information and CTAs is a bad idea.

Directly state what you want the user to do using a large font and provide a straightforward method to perform that action. 

For example, Victoria’s Secret uses simplified pop-up content on their website. 

It includes CTA with large fonts, an email address field, and a submit button, making it very clear to the user what they need to do to complete the action.

5. Pay Attention to Returning Visitors

Seeing the same pop-up over and over again can be frustrating and eventually affect users’ buying intention. When your website keeps bombarding returning users with the same pop-up, it makes you seem overly aggressive and forceful, which is not pleasant for most users.

When a user closes a pop-up and proceeds to browse your website, it is a strong indication that they are not interested in your offer. Therefore we can assume that they will remain uninterested in the same offer when revisiting your website a few hours later.

But does it mean that you should not show a pop-up to the same user once they exit out of it? Of course not. However, there is a certain etiquette regarding showing pop-ups to returning visitors. 

Our recommendation is to set the pop-up to re-appear to returning users at least three to seven days after its first appearance, depending on how urgent the offer is. This will give the user enough time to potentially change their mind, and the time interval will make your pop-up less irritating.

6. Make Mobile-Friendly Pop-Ups

Mobile internet is becoming more popular day by day. Most Internet users now access websites through their mobile phones, so you must use mobile-friendly website elements, including the pop-ups.

Make sure that your pop-up content is displayed correctly on different screen sizes. Check if the interactable elements such as fields and buttons function properly. 

If there are any multimedia files, such as pictures, included on the pop-up, they have to appear clear and in the correct aspect ratio to maintain your website’s aesthetic.

7. Test Your Pop-Ups

Optimizing a pop-up performance is a continuous process. You will need to conduct some tests, analysis, and improvements to your pop-up to get the best results.

Don’t be afraid to go through trial and error to know what users prefer from your website. If the initial pop-up timing pattern or content template doesn’t provide the best result, adapt and get feedback from your users.


Pop-ups are a valuable marketing tool for your online business as long as you use them correctly. Keep in mind that some pop-ups can be intrusive and affect user’s experiences negatively, which is counter-productive for your website.

We have learned about the pop-up definition and what advantages an ideal pop-up can give to your marketing efforts. We also learned about some critical aspects to look at when creating a pop-up, including:

  • Set the pop-up timing
  • Sell the right benefits
  • Personalize the pop-ups
  • Use simple text and CTA
  • Pay attention to returning customers
  • Make mobile-friendly pop-ups
  • Test your pop-ups

These aspects are essential to ensure that your pop-up is helpful for users and less intrusive to the website navigation.

After you apply what you learned from this article to your website, hopefully you will see improvement in your marketing efforts and user satisfaction.

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