6 Real-World Popup Examples Critiqued


Website popups are one of the fastest-growing marketing tools, and for good reason.

Despite their controversy, it’s difficult to find an example online where they haven’t dramatically improved a site’s conversions.

They’re fantastic for improving ecommerce checkout completion, generating blog subscribers or opt-in leads, promoting a discounts or reducing the bounce rate of any page of your website . And they’re super simple to create and implement across your entire site.

A few statistics:

  • A food craft blogger tested popups for her blog opt-ins against a sidebar form. The website popup performed 1,375% better than the sidebar form, driving 7,000 more subscribers over an 8 month period.
  • Darren Rowse (of Problogger) added a popup to his website, but was concerned about annoying visitors. However, not only did pageviews per visitor go up, bounce rates remained the same. And he increased subscription by 1000%.
  • Ask-Leo.com added a timed popup with a delay of 75 seconds, 60 seconds and 45 seconds. The 60 second popup performed the best, and increased his subscriptions (again) by more than 1000%.

(Thanks to CrazyEgg for the research).

So if you think website popups might be something worth trying on your website, let’s take a look at 6 examples to break down exactly how they work and how you can try it out for yourself.

CrazyEgg’s Product Page

Neil Patel’s CrazyEgg website is one of the most popup-heavy (and popup-friendly) out there. He tests them constantly and implements them at every stage of his site, from blog to about us, product, contact and more.

The example below is an exit-popup which pops up on the “Tell me More” screen of the homepage:

popup examples

Why This Website Popup works:

  • The design is similar to that of the page on which it’s embedded. This creates continuity and improves conversions.
  • Large, contrasting CTA button and directional cues(the arrow) work to drive the eye and cursor.
  • Strong USP (unique selling point) focused on the value of converting alongside a benefit list of tools you get by signing up.
  • The word “free” in the balloon at the top right is always a safe bet for increasing value and interest.

And, definitely not least, is the “No thanks, I treat all click behavior the same” – a commonly used device you’ll see a few times in this article.

You might think that the aggressive prompt, requiring popup viewers to acknowledge a negative outcome wouldn’t work very well. But it does. Fantastically.

ConversionXL did a test in October of 2015 which showed that encouraging people to engage with negative CTAs improved conversions by 34%.

Check it out:

popup examples

SocialMediaExaminer’s Blog

SocialMediaExaminer, the world’s largest online social media magazine, features a timed popup (quite short at about 10 seconds) as well as an exit popup.

Both popups promote SME’s annual social media marketing industry report:

popup examples

Why This Website Popup works (or doesn’t):

I know SME has probably tested these popups to hell and back (given how much traffic they see, they definitely should be), but I nonetheless see a lot wrong with them…

  • Too much text on both. Your popup needs to communicate quickly and easily why viewers should provide their information. Both of these have paragraphs have, in my mind, far too much information.
  • The exit popup (on the right) has a lot of blank space. Most 3rd party popup providers should give you popup templates pre-designed to be visually appealing. This one’s not.
  • Too much popup. Given that the majority of blog readers only read the first paragraph of text before leaving, the majority of blog readers on SME will see the timed popup, exit it, and then immediately see the exit popup right after as they try to leave the page. This is a guaranteed way to annoy site visitors.

My recommendation would be to increase the timed popup’s interval to more like 60 seconds. SME articles are long, and you want to show a subscriber popup to people who have shown they’re interested in your content. I would also remove the exit popup and place it on the blog directory page instead.

PostPlanner’s Blog

PostPlanner has split the difference between an opt-in sidebar and a scroll popup by having a sidebar which appears at about the 10% mark of their blog articles and remains there until the 90% mark.

The sidebar scroll popup promotes their tool, starting at $7. Check out a short video of the 10-90% interaction below:

Why This Website Popup works:

  • Popups have a tendency to interfere with a visitor’s ability to interact with the page (that’s the whole point). This sidebar popup doesn’t do that. This limits the “annoying” factor.
  • That said, this sidebar’s appearance at the 10% mark does draw the attention of a reader, just as a popup which takes over the screen would. As you scroll, it scroll with you, allowing you to read, but distracting your attention the entire time. You feel the urge to interact even though you don’t have to.
  • This popup’s disappearance at the end of the article (or 90% of the page) allows readers to interact with the bottom nav screen to choose a related article or click through to a product page. This is a nice touch.
  • This popup matches the scrolling banner promotion (at the top) as well as the top sidebar box exactly. The green box, orange CTA, and “From only $7 per Month” selling proposition.
  • The reliance on a customer testimonial is good, particularly one from such a well-known social media influencer as Kim Garst. PostPlanner’s readers are very likely to know Kim, and this develops trust.

Looking to add popups to your website? Check out Wishpond’s Free Shopify Popup Builder App and Free WordPress Popup Builder App.

Wishpond’s Blog

The Wishpond blog has had a huge amount of success generating leads with content upgrades, and a lot of that success is due to the click popups within our articles.

The screenshots below show the click popup trigger (a link within a post) and the popup itself on the right. Below is the analytics for that popup, showing more than a 40% conversion rate, and sixty leads generated in only a couple weeks from a single post.

popup examples

popup examples

Why This Website Popup works:

  • Click popups save your business the time it takes to create a landing page. This is just one of the reasons we’ve had so much success with content upgrades, as the timesaving improves the ROI of each upgrade we create.
  • They make the conversion process fast and easy. Generating a lead can be done within an article, so the reader doesn’t have to open a new tab and fill out a form on a separate landing page.
  • The click popup only prompts readers to provide their email address, the smallest (and also most important) amount of lead information you need. Reducing the barrier of entry increases the chance of a conversion.
  • The popup trigger (a link within the article) is embedded in a yellow highlighted div, which draws the eye while the reader scrolls down the article. The text is also centered. These little contrasts help more than you might think.

Greats.com’s Blog

The next two examples are from ecommerce companies. The example below is a two-part popup from footwear company Greats.com. It offers an incentivized subscription:

popup examples

Why This Website Popup works:

  • This popup is a five-second entry popup, appearing almost immediately after the visitor arrives on the page. Normally I’d advise against entry popups, but they can work for discounts (such as the above).
  • I like the question in the first stage of the popup process. People unconsciously want to answer questions, no matter if they actually care about them. This one also appeals to Greats’ target market (fashion-conscious people) by asking them about “redefining” the footwear industry.
  • I also like the negative connotation of the “no” within that first popup. It plays, along with the question, to the target market (hipsters, essentially) who hate the idea of “going along with the status quo.” This makes a strong case for clicking “Yes”.
  • The incentivized subscription of 15% credit increases value of engaging. Not only do I get to be a part of redefining the footwear industry, I get monetary value as well.
  • The texting option is, again, appealing to the Greats target market.
  • This popup only appears on your browser if you haven’t bought a Greats product before. This is a very important factor in not annoying returning visitors (also, the 15% discount would get a bit pricey after a time).

DodoCase’s Product Page

Another ecommerce company, Dodocase makes beautiful and customized phone, tablet, and laptop covers for the high-end market.

They use a very smart two-part exit popup to get a small piece of information from their visitors and then encourage a second conversion:

popup examples

Why This Website Popup works:

  • The initial conversion (or micro-conversion) puts the person in the habit of saying yes to your business. This is a psychological factor of conversion, which basically says that an initial, small “yes” increases the likelihood of progressively larger “yeses.”
  • Like the Greats popup, DodoCase also utilizes the negative connotation “No”, but takes it a bit farther by making that option smaller below the very visible red “Yes” CTA button.
  • DodoCase also incentivizes engagement with the 15%-off discount. They know that getting the first purchase is between 5 and 10x more difficult than the second, so well worth the discount they’re offering.

Wrapping it Up

The numbers are in. Popups work. It’s just a matter of implementing them, and hopefully this article has given you a bit of insight into how you can do that. Ideally, I’ve also shown you how versatile popups can be.

From product pages to blog subscription and ecommerce, they work across the board.

But if you have any questions about which popup your business should place, and where, don’t hesitate to ask away in the comment section below.

Related Reading:

If you have Shopify or use WordPress, check out Wishpond’s Free Shopify Popup Builder App and Free WordPress Popup Builder App.


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