Pop-ups Don’t Work

I did an interesting experiment on a website of mine that receives around 80k monthly visitors. I created a setup for the visitors to subscribe to the newsletter.

There were 2 options in my mind:

  • Show the subscribe box as a pop-up after 20 seconds a visitors has been on the site
  • Embed the subscribe box below every blog post

I decided to run both experiments for 1 month before coming to the conclusion. Just know that the design and copy were exactly the same on pop-ups as well as on embedded subscribe boxes.

In the first month, after showing the popup to 80,000 people, I was able to collect 80 newsletter subscribers. If you calculate, the success rate is 0.1%.

Now, in the second month, after showing the embedded subscribe box to 80,000 people, I was able to collect 430 newsletter subscribers. In this case, the success rate is more than 0.5%.

So, why did this happen?

Every day while browsing the internet, we come across tens of such irritating popups. We are so fed up or if you say it politely, we are so used to these popups that we’re not even interested in reading or knowing what the pop-up is about. Our impulse action is to immediately close it without even taking a look at it properly.

Whereas the subscribe box that’s embedded on “the” page already stands out from the main content of the blog post. And the visitors are more likely to take a look.

While this might just be a theory but I saw the results — 80 people from subscribe-popups and 430 from the embedded subscribe box.

However, it can’t be denied that popup might work better in a different setting. As long as they do not disturb the visitors, they are good to go. For example, if you visit Zapier’s blog, you’ll find a nice little slide-in popup (see the screenshot below) that doesn’t disturb the visitors. And, they are keeping it for a long time because it must be helping them.

Slide-in Popup on Zapier Blog
Zapier blog slide-in popup

By wrapping it up, I would say that any popup that doesn’t feel spammy and that doesn’t worsen the visitors’ experience then it “may” be good. But if it’s shown full-screen and the user cannot really proceed without closing it first, it’ll never be good.

What do you think?

Recent Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *