The power or irritation of website popups 

Amy from Niftrik
September 29, 2023

If you ask consumers how irritating website popups are from a scale of 0 to 10, a very large proportion will answer "10. Popups are often used to offer discounts, ask questions or consent to cookie policies. It does not directly contribute to the ultimate goal of the customer journey.

Still, using website popups 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 Popups, you can go the extra mile. 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 popup 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 popups are Cookie notifications. You visit a website and have to agree to the Cookie setting before continuing.

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

Popups come in all different shapes and sizes. There are popups that completely fill the screen and completely cover the page you are visiting. Only when you interact with the popup can you continue on the page.

Screen-filling popup at Rooijackers Wooninrichter

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

Small poup in the lower right corner on the hairshop site

Type triggers for a popup on your website

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

1. Website abandonment

The popup appears when the visitor intends to leave the website. Once the visitor moves their cursor toward the cross to exit the page, the popup appears.

2. Time delay

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

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

Time-delayed popup on Superbikes site

3. Scroll popup  

The popup 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 popup appears.

4. On-click

An on-click popup is the only exception that does require a direct action from the website visitor. The popup appears when the visitor has clicked on a specific Call-to-Action button. Often this popup is used with 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 popup on ProVlot's site

Steps to create a popup

As mentioned, popups 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 are you going to use this popup for? What are their interests, what do they like or dislike? In addition, it is important to determine the goal. What do you want to achieve with the popup? 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 popup mainly shown to existing customers? So for example to repeat visitors in your webshop? Then you probably use a popup to find out more about your customer or to make a more personal offer.

Are you going to use a popup to collect leads? Then you could, for example, show a popup 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 popup 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 popups

When you deploy a popup 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?

You can use any data from your email marketing system (such as Copernica, MailChimp or ActiveCampaign) in your popup. For example, have you divided your customers based on industry? Then you can make sure that the popup 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 popup 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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