Just about anyone who’s surfed the net has seen a pop-up ad. Pop-up ads, also called interstitial ads, are great tools for marketers, but generally less enjoyable for consumers. So how can marketers and business owners create pop-up ads that actually work? Let’s take a look at best practices for pop-ups in 2022.
Best Practices for Pop-Ups in 2022
Why Use Pop-Ups?
First of all, why use pop-up ads at all? Surveys indicate that between 70 and 80% of web users don’t like pop-up ads. The inventor of the pop-up ad has even publicly apologized for first creating the infamous ad. So why do websites use them at all?
Pop-ups may be generally disliked, but they’re also effective. With conversion rates around 11%, they’re one of the most effective types of ads. Many different businesses have increased sales, sign-ups, subscriptions and more using pop-up ads. In some ways, this makes sense. What makes a pop-up ad annoying may also be the feature that makes it most effective; pop-up ads can’t be ignored or overlooked like so many other ads.
So, how can you use this powerful tool without annoying or frustrating your web visitors? As we take a look at the best practices for pop-ups in 2022, we’ll discuss ways to make your pop-ups less invasive, more user-friendly, and even useful.
Avoid SEO Penalties
Understanding that pop-ups can create a negative browsing experience, Google penalizes some sites that use some types of pop-up ads. At first, this only applied to mobile websites. However, it now applies to both mobile and desktop websites. This SEO penalty means certain pop-ups will cause Google to list your site lower on the results page when a user enters a relevant search.
However, not all pop-ups cause this penalty. Pop-ups or interstitials that are legally required, such as verifying a user’s age before they enter a site or allowing users to opt out of tracking cookies, will not cause an SEO penalty. Also, pop-ups triggered by “exit intent” are not penalized. If you’ve noticed that pop-ups on some sites seem to only appear when you’re about to click away, it’s not your imagination!
Get the Timing Right
As previously mentioned, Google doesn’t penalize pop-ups triggered by exit intent. Creating these types of pop-ups from scratch can be a bit complicated. It’s ideal to get help from an expert, or to use a marketing tool to create one. However, triggered pop-up ads are much more likely to be effective, and they’re less likely to negatively impact your SEO.
There are many different ways to trigger your pop-up ad. You might simply use a timer, which will display the ad once a user has been on the page for a few seconds. Or, the ad might trigger once a user scrolls down the page to some extent. Many pop-ups trigger when a user scrolls towards the back button or search bar.
Pop-up ads that trigger with exit intent have a few significant advantages over pop-ups that appear immediately. If a pop-up appears right when a user visits a page, it’s not a very warm welcome. The user isn’t invested in or interested in the page at that point, and a sudden ad is likely to get them to click away. Pop-ups that appear a bit later also won’t slow down the load-speed of the page, which is another important SEO element. Also, when a pop-up ad triggers based on a particular behavior, you can optimize your ads more easily.
Make it Useful
Pop-ups that actually generate interest and clicks are relevant and useful to website visitors. They should be related, in some form, to the page the user is visiting. For example, if a customer is looking at a product page, a discount pop-up might be valuable to them. Or, if a visitor is viewing an informational blog post, some additional downloadable content might be useful for them. Or, they might be interested in subscribing to a newsletter. If your pop-up actually serves your visitor’s interests, they’re a lot less likely to consider it annoying.
Avoid Spammy Tactics
Most users are familiar with pop-ups that seem like spam or scams. These types of pop-ups usually involve some type of contest or giveaway. They often use bright red or orange colors, and they might flash or use urgent messaging. All of these tactics will cause users to think your site is not reputable, and they’ll probably click away.
Though a contest or a giveaway can be a good way to engage users, it’s not a great strategy to advertise with a pop-up. Try using a discount code or a link to downloadable content instead. Avoid overly urgent or dramatic messaging. Instead, simply state your offer and invite your visitor to use it. Your pop-up should never flash or move about the screen. Not only is this a spammy tactic, it makes an unpleasant user experience.
Easy to Dismiss
One of the most important best practices for pop-ups in 2022 is making your pop-up easy to dismiss. It should be clear to your visitors how to make the pop-up disappear, usually with a prominent “X” button in the upper right-hand corner. Or, you might use another button that allows a user to refuse the offer, such as a simple “No, Thank You.”
Test your pop-up yourself, or ask your friends or colleagues to help you. You’ll want to use multiple different types of screens, such as a laptop, tablet, and smartphone, as well as different browsers. Make sure your pop-up is easy to dismiss on each screen and each browser.
Your Pop-Up is Usable By Everyone
Pop-up ads can be annoying for any user, but they’re especially annoying for users that may have a difficult time seeing or dismissing the ad. Some of your website visitors might be visually impaired, and might use a screen reader to navigate a website. If your pop-up doesn’t work with a screen reader, it will be difficult for a visitor to close or to use.
Some web visitors may have trouble navigating a site using a touchpad or a mouse, and might use a keyboard or another assistive device to navigate a site. These users should also be able to use or dismiss the pop-up using the devices they have. A good rule of thumb is to make your pop-up dismissible using the Escape key. Making your pop-ups accessible to all users will improve your overall user experience.
Just Use One
Most users can handle one pop-up, especially if it’s useful, relevant, and easy to dismiss. However, bombarding your web visitors with pop-ups will quickly cause annoyance and frustration. Last, but certainly not least on the list of best practices for pop-ups in 2022 is a simple principle: just use one pop-up ad. Once a visitor dismisses the ad, don’t show it again unless they return to your site another time, or they move to a significantly different part of the site.
With these best practices for pop-ups in mind, you can create pop-ups that won’t annoy your web visitors, and can even help them. This way, you can create a win-win; an effective ad with high conversion rates as well as a positive user experience.