The power or irritation of website pop-ups 

May 22, 2023

If you ask consumers how irritating website pop-ups are from a scale of 0 to 10, a very large proportion will answer "10. Pop-ups are often used to offer discounts, ask questions or give permission for cookie policy. It does not directly contribute to the ultimate goal of the customer journey.

Still, using website pop-ups is very effective. It allows you to convert a passive website visitor into an active lead. For example, by offering a discount code, you can ensure that your website visitor joins your email list and perhaps makes an immediate first purchase.

With AdPage Pop-ups, you can go just a step further. Merely offering a discount may be a rather short-sighted way to convince your target audience of your product or service.

If you go searching the Internet for website popup inspiration, you'll see that most websites (such as Hubspot) reference examples with discounts. However, there are many alternatives to consider that are much more responsive to your customer journey. In this article, we dive further into this.

What are website popups?

A pop-up is a window (block) that appears on a website without any action on your part. They pop up automatically after a few seconds or when you want to leave the website.

The most common pop-ups are Cookie notifications. You visit a website and have to agree to the Cookie setting before continuing.

In addition, pop-ups are widely used by marketers with the goal of promoting certain products or services with special offers or, for example, with the goal of collecting e-mail addresses. A commonly used pop-up is the one for obtaining newsletter subscriptions.

Pop-ups come in all different shapes and sizes. For example, there are pop-ups that completely fill the screen and completely cover the page you are currently visiting, so to speak. Only when you interact with the pop-up can you continue on the page.

Screen-filling popup at Rooijackers Wooninrichter
Screen-filling popup at Rooijackers Wooninrichter

But you also often see smaller pop-ups that appear in the middle, bottom-left or bottom-right corner of the page. With these pop-ups, you can often just scroll further down the page without having to do anything directly with the pop-up.

Small pop-up in the corner at
Small pop-up in the corner at

Type triggers for a pop-up on your website

As mentioned, a pop-up always appears without direct action from the visitor. The rules for the pop-up to appear are set automatically when a pop-up is created. There are several triggers (starting points) for a pop-up.

1. Website abandonment

The pop-up appears when the visitor intends to leave the Web site. Once the visitor moves their cursor toward the cross to exit the page, the pop-up appears.

2. Time delay

The pop-up appears after the visitor spends x number of seconds on the page. For example: You've set the time to 5 seconds. A visitor comes to your page and starts reading. After 5 seconds, the pop-up appears.

When you visit the SuperBikes website, the popup with the discount offer will appear after about 5 seconds.

Time-delayed pop-up on Superbike website
Time-delayed pop-up on Superbike website

3. Scroll pop-up  

The pop-up appears when visitors on the page have scrolled to a certain percentage. For example: The scroll perecentage is set to 50% for a specific blog article. Someone visits the page with the blog article and starts reading. When the visitor has scrolled to 50%, or half of the article, the pop-up appears.

4. On-click

An on-click pop-up is the only exception that does require a direct action from the website visitor. The pop-up appears when the visitor has clicked on a specific Call-to-Action button. Often this pop-up is used on a landing page where a lead magnet is used. When the CTA button is clicked, the lead form appears.

There are several CTA buttons on ProVlot 's website that point to the contact form to request a brochure.

On-click pop-up on ProVlot's website

Steps to create a popup

As mentioned, pop-ups can be used in an awful lot of ways. Are you considering doing this yourself? Then proceed carefully and thoughtfully for the best possible result. We have listed the most important steps for you.

Step 1: Determine target audience and message

What target audience will you use this pop-up for? What are their interests, what do they like or what do they dislike. In addition, it is important to determine the goal. What do you want to achieve with the pop-up? For example, do you want to collect e-mail addresses, promote products or share information about your company?

Step 2: What stage of customer journey is the visitor in?

Is the pop-up mainly shown to existing customers? So for example to repeat visitors in your webshop? Then you probably use a pop-up to find out more about your customer or to make a more personal offer.

Are you going to use a pop-up to collect leads? Then you could, for example, show a pop-up with a discount code for first-time visitors to your web shop. Or when website visitors read a blog article they get a popup to request an e-book.

Step 3: Define your Call to Action

Just like on a landing page, a pop-up form will also have a call-to-action (CTA). This is usually the button that causes your website visitor to perform the desired action, i.e., submit the lead form, for example.

Make sure you use a clear and concrete CTA. In addition, it is important that the CTA does not have a high threshold.

Step 4: Personalize your pop-ups

When you deploy a pop-up for existing customers (e.g. returning web shop visitors) it is advisable to personalize your pop-ups. After all, you already have the necessary data, so why not use it?

All data from your email marketing system (such as Copernica, MailChimp or ActiveCampaign) can be used in your pop-up. For example, have you divided your customers based on Industry? Then you can make sure that the pop-up this customer sees matches the industry he or she is active in.

For example: you have a company that sells work rafts. Its customers are divided into the landscaping, construction, hospitality and cleaning industries. Once a landscaper visits your website, you want to show this visitor a pop-up with a specific action targeted to the landscaper. For example, you can also customize content based on information from your email system.


Do you just want to use a 10% discount popup or do you want to go the extra mile by applying personalization as well? The choice is yours. AdPage can facilitate either way.

Curious about the possibilities? Book a no-obligation demo with one of our specialists.

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