64% of People Won’t Stop Visiting Your Site Because of a Pop-Up (But 36% Will!)

By Daniel Scocco

Last week I wrote an articled titled Pop-up Mania! Will They Come Back To Vogue?, where I described the current trend of bloggers using pop-ups to encourage people to subscribe to their newsletter.

The conversion rates on those pop-ups are miraculously high, hence why a lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon. It is also known that pop-ups annoy many people, and they could hurt the traffic on your site. The key question then becomes: are the benefits of running pop-ups larger than the drawbacks (for the site owner point of view)?

We had a poll on that post, and the results were interesting. The question that I asked was: Would one pop-up offering you a newsletter subscription be enough to make you stop visiting a website? The result is as follows:

pop-ups

As you can see 64% (or 101 people) answered “no,” meaning that a pop-up would not make them stop visiting a website. On the other side 36% (or 57 people) answered “yes,” meaning that a pop-up would make them stop visiting the website.

The results might seem encouraging to people that want to try out pop-ups, but are they really? Even if 64% of people wouldn’t mind your pop-ups, there is a whole bunch of them that would. I would think twice before using something that would annoy even 30% of my readers.

This overall negative effect from the pop-up might also be related to the quality of the content on the site and to the authority of the author. In other words, perhaps a popular and established blogger could get away with the pop-ups without losing too many readers, while a new blogger could end up hurting his traffic a lot if he decided to try this technique.

Personally, I will not start using pop-ups on any of my websites, because to me the user experience is more important than increasing my subscriber list right now. At the same time, I can’t say I will never use them, and I don’t condemn people who do.

I think it is a matter of personal opinion and testing. Also, if someone is writing quality content for free, I think he does have the right to use whatever ads or promotional techniques he wants. It is up to the readers then to decide if they wanna bear with that or not.

What do you think?




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40 Responses to “64% of People Won’t Stop Visiting Your Site Because of a Pop-Up (But 36% Will!)”

  • Jeba

    I dont think I will be using any pop up for my site http://www.beautifulscraps.com , but the general idea with public is webmasters use pop-up to force them to buy something or force then to show them something.

  • Paolo Amoroso

    This trend will encourage more sites to add popups, but it will eventually backfire again beyond a critical threshold.

  • willbill

    I will never ever pop-up. 36% is just way to big if you have lot of readership. That is not the case for me but I really see using pop-up as a pathetic move of desperation. and besides, porn sites are the ones known to use it a lot.

  • Matej

    Not a singe user made complaints about my pop-ups.

    There’s a really big difference between ” Get notified via email when we post something new if you want to follow out writing ” and ” You just won a 1 000 000 in cash ( flashing all around ) “. I believe there is.

    Also I make my pop ups small and without lightbox so reader can easily read the content without get annoyed. That’s probably why other things are converting for me better than pop ups lol

    “Ask and thou shalt receive” – with pop ups you demand. Many readers emailed me this month with messages like ” Thank you for emails!” because they didn’t even know that they can receive updates “for free” 😛 Without aggressive strategies ( others among pop ups ) they wouldn’t even know …

  • Steve

    In a way, a pop-up is like the current “Get your converter box NOW before the networks go all digital!” campaign. I’ve gotten my box, plugged it in, and have it working, much earlier than I would have normally. But now I want to call the TV station and ask “I’ve got my converter installed. Is there a filter I can place on my TV so I don’t have to keep seeing all these converter box ads?”

    A little goes a long way!

  • SEO Genius

    They don’t sound encouraging to me, it seems to a high of a percentage for me to ever try this out.

    I ll stick to other means of increasing subscribers for now.

  • Rarst

    Post from problogger that started all this was hard data. Poll is just clash of opinions.

    Pop-ups/overs are probably one of most dangerous tools. But medication is often actually tiny dosage of poison. Same here – it’s not the tool, it’s how it is used that matters.

  • David Airey

    I’d think twice about using a tool that annoyed 1% of my readers, let alone 30%. It’s been interesting to see how effective pop-ups are for sign-up rates, particularly on ProBlogger, but for me, I’ll leave them out.

  • Rick Rottman

    Your numbers are skewed. You didn’t ask your question to regular readers. You asked a group of people who all have their own blogs. You asked potential pop-up perpetrators, not the victims of said pop-ups.

    Pop-up are annoying. They always have been and they always will be. You don’t need a poll to figure that out.

  • The How-To Geek

    When I come across a page that has popups, I immediately down-vote it on stumble, digg, and anywhere else I can.

    Then I mentally make a note of the site and will down-vote anything from that site anytime I see it again in the future.

  • Kurt

    And what about pop-unders? Are they as annoying or as performing as pop ups?

  • Jeff Howard

    I agree with David Airey. It would be helpful to know more about the people who weren’t annoyed and then executed on what the pop-up asked.

  • Vygantas

    I’m not visiting shoemoney blog anymore after he added annoying pop up…

    So make your own conclusions.

    I don’t have time to keep pressing X all the time.

  • Kurt

    I dont think using pop up is a good method. We can get a lot of subscribers quickly but most of them will also unsubscribe after a short while. It also depend on the content on the blog. There are also many people who subscribe just to download an ebook etc… and then later unsubscribe.

  • Sohail

    well i will not go for it anyways

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Jeba, yeah that is the general idea 🙂 .

    @Paolo, it will be interesting to see what happens indeed.

    @Matej, yeah I guess newsletter pop-ups are not as bad as advertising ones.

    @SEO Genius, same here.

    @rarst, agreed, but there aren’t many ways to use a pop-up. You can control how many times it will show, the duration and so on, but the annoying factor will always be there hehe.

    @David, well, I am pretty sure than more than 1% of my readers don’t like my ads, even thought I use few of them. So sometimes you need to annoy some readers, it is inevitable. The trick is keeping the annoying factor much lower than the “oh cool stuff” one.

    @Rick, perhaps, but bloggers are also avid blog readers most of the times.

    @How-to Geek, glad I am not using them 🙂 .

    @Kurt, I think it is the same thing.

  • Dan @ PowerDosh.com

    The point at which you take away the freedom or option to do something on a website, the chances of you annoying your visitors increases significantly. Therefore by giving your reader a popup, you are denying them the opportunity to have a popup-free browsing session.

    I categorically avoid any site that uses popups. I consider any site that uses popups to be doing so to line their pockets, and because they don’t care about their visitors.

  • Jackie Jackson

    What do you think is better:

    – Reading a stunning piece of literature on a roadside bookstand, with all the noise and fuss all around you?

    -Or reading the same book in a peaceful library?

    And how often you read an entire article, magazine or a book on a bookstand?

    What are your thoughts? do you think this comparison with pop ups on great blogs is rite?

  • Adam Singer

    I would say NEVER add a pop-up to your site. That smaller percentage – the people you’ll piss off – are the ones that actually share websites in social media.

    Yes, the early adopters get upset by pop-ups. WHY upset anyone? Your content should be good enough people subscribe/come back on their own.

    Pop-ups = SPAM, plain and simple.

  • Home Remedies

    If the visitor exits your website out of boredom then he will surely get upset on seeing a popup.But if its a good quality content site,the visitor wont mind much

  • Internet Marketing Tips

    I agree with you. If the result will encourage more websites to make pop ups, it maybe a mistake because they will lost 30% of their readers. I do hate pop ups. 😛

  • Ron Pereira

    I’ve seen a 200% increase in aweber subscribers by simply re-designing my eBook subscription form (only a few days worth of data though). I also had the eBook cover re-designed by a professional graphics artist in order to make it more appealing.

    With this said, at least for me, I am not opposed to testing the pop up form eventually… but I do want to collect some data on my re-design first in order to make a good comparison.

    My biggest fear is most bloggers will blindly follow Darren, et al which would definitely begin to make these pop ups far more annoying. Time will tell.

  • Jonathan Drain

    Throwing away one third of your readership to make money sounds counterproductive. Your content needs to be something special for people to keep returning despite annoying advertising, and what of the visitors with popup blockers?

  • Mike Panic

    I wonder what the replies would be if the title here was 34% of people WILL stop visiting your site because of a pop-up.

    That number means more to me. Personally, I don’t like them, pop-ups, under and my other pet-peeve, browser resizing. For the sheer number of sign-ups both John Chow and Darren from Problogger got on their experiments with pop-ups, and writing about it, I’m sure thousands of other wanna-be big name bloggers have started to do it. I don’t think collecting email addresses for a newsletter is a good enough reason to loose 34% of your reader base.

  • Taylor Dewey

    Are we talking about a new window being created and forced to the front or are we talking about a javascript “window” being floated on top of the content or are we talking about a lightbox bit of content?

    Either way, they are annoying, but the new window feels more invasive to me.

    If I was going to try this route — my blog is to new at this point — I would attempt the javascript or lightbox method, but be very careful about who I showed it to and when. It would not be part of a permanent strategy, but more a short-term drive perhaps coupled with an RSS contest or some other value-added situation.

  • redwall_hp

    I wouldn’t stop reading a blog because of the popup, though it might be a dealbreaker in my decision to subscribe to the blog or not, depending on the blog’s “awesome factor,” for lack of a better term.

    However, if a blog I regularly read started putting up a pop-up, I’d probably set-up Adblock to zap it. I don’t blanket-block ads like some people, but I keep the extension around to block irritating “features” that some sites have.

  • Alice

    Personally, I hate popups. I blog, and I wouldn’t use them (even if I knew how to set one up, which I don’t!). Your survey is too loosey-goosey to drawn any conclusions from, as other posters have pointed out.

    Interestingly, I recall a news clip I saw on TV a couple of years ago. it was about popup ads and a study that some university group had done. I don’t recall the details now, but the surprising result was that SOME demographics actually don’t mind popup ads! Younger people (tween, teens, college age) viewers actually clicked on them a lot, and reported that they thought they were useful in finding things they wanted. Older people universally hated them.

    If you want to use them, it’s important to know your demographic and design the popup accordingly. Chances are if you run a MMO, IM, SEO, techie-type blog your readers won’t like them (but may tolerate them once or twice). If you run a site on fashion and pop culture, your readers are probably going to be more tolerant (unless its a lot of the “you’ve won a million bucks” kind).

    And don’t forget the cumulative effect of every other site offering “just one” popup… after looking at 3 or 4 or 10 blogs each with one popup, those readers are going to be mighty sick of them.

    This could account for the higher unsub rate for subscribers who clicked on a sign-up popup. They didn’t mind the one that they clicked on, but seeing it over and over again after they subscribed could have annoyed the heck out of them.

    Just speculation, of course.

  • Roberto @ Psychbits.com

    I think the question would be in what type of blog would this work? A new blog or an mature one?

  • Tara @ Affiliate Marketing Prodigy

    I hate pop-ups with a passion. They get in the way to much. Normally when I am on a site or blog that has pop up’s I close the pop up and leave as it annoys me really bad. As a marketer myself, I understand why they are used, however they are still a PITA.

  • Michael Aulia

    That’s weird. I’m so annoyed with pop-ups and quickly close it even before I read what it’s all about. I guess not every one thinks the same way

  • Andre Thomas

    Wow… I get that most of us hate pop up. And I get that most of us wish they were extinct blah blah blah. But your blog or your website is not about you!

    It’s about your readers for God’s sake. And how do you know if your reader hate it? Test! Test! Test! If you don’t even test because you “feel” that it’s annoying, the you’ll never improve your blog/website, would you?

    Sure, you would see a drop in response for that few days or a week of testing, but you never know unless you test! Don’t other people’s data to make your decision… and don’t copy what they are doing simply because they have the same type of blog.

    Test! Pop-ups are are just tactics. Look at the bigger picture here…

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Dan, yeah that is an important point in web design, and pop-ups do hurt it indeed.

    @Jackie Jackson, I think the analogy is pretty good.

    @Adam, it depends on your goals though. For example, the goal of some internet marketers is purely to sell as much as possible, no matter what. Hence why they are ok with using over hyped, long sales pitches. It annoys some people, but converts like nothing else.

    @Jonathan Drain, the new aweber popup is a javacript light box effect I think, and browsers still don’t block it.

    @Mike, I changed the title to include that. Good point.

    @Roberto, yeah I mentioned that on the post.

  • Melissa Donovan

    Just say no to popups! Also, those ads that enlarge when you (accidentally) hover over them – they are so annoying, especially when the CLOSE button is not clearly visible. Why would website owners do this to their readers and customers?

    Oh yeah, to make a buck.

  • suresh

    Well pop up is generally irritating for user and if the internet connection is slow the pain increases further.

    May be a popular blog/site can do it and negative effect may not be felt in high magnitude but for small blogs it will be costly and visitor don’t feel like coming back again.

  • Kathy @ Virtual Impax

    36% is better than 1 out of three.

    Imagine if you had a brick and mortar store and a naked homeless man jumped in front of 1 out of 3 customers – wouldn’t you call the police?

    WHAT THE HELL!?!?! Why would I do ANYTHING to drive away 1/3 of my prospective customers?!?!?!

  • Stephan Miller

    I was amazed when I started seeing popups again. I thought they were gone about the time “internet marketing” became “make money online”. I do not like them much and will not be adding them to my blogs.

  • milford walton

    I have one website that I use a exit pop-up to gain reader info and so far it has been very disappointing. I haven’t noticed my traffic dropping, but I am not gaining a lot of subscriptions.

    I think I may have a pop-up with way too much stuff on it. I believe I will do away with it.

    Milford

  • Paolo Amoroso

    @Alice: some demographics actually doesn’t mind spam either, but their preference forces it to the rest of us.

  • medyum

    I’m not visiting shoemoney blog anymore after he added annoying pop up…
    So make your own conclusions.I don’t have time to keep pressing X all the time.

  • Nial Fuller

    pop ups are great, no need to be afraid, if you deliver what you promise and don’t burn the subscriber.

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