Do pop-up’s still work? Here is what you need to know

Overlays can be extremely effective when implemented appropriately. Relevant pop-up’s shown to the right visitor at the right time produce results.

One survey found that: [tweetthis]70% of Internet users are annoyed by irrelevant pop-up ads.[/tweetthis] This is key to understand. Users are annoyed because these ads are intrusive and irrelevant. Tech giant Google has gone so far as set new rules deprioritizing the search engine results of websites who do so.

So what you need to understand is, don’t just use pop-up’s for the heck of it. Use it to create value for your customers. Offer something that is worth the interruption.

The secret to effective pop-up use: relevance.

Imagine that you are browsing through online recipes, and a pop-up appears asking you to download an ebook with the best recipe collections. That seems relevant by topic, so you download the ebook. But what if you were only looking for vegetarian recipes and the ebook is an overall recipe collection? The popup content is no longer relevant to your needs.

Do you see my point? One-size-fits-all offers are not sufficient if you want to increase conversions.

So ask yourself: Should I engage a visitor?


Target Segments to Improve Relevant Pop-up Engagements

The first steps toward providing more relevant and personalised pop-up’s, is to truly understand your visitors. Take the data you have on them and start segmenting.

Here are five standard segmentation schemes that can be applied:

1. Behaviour – This is a more focused form of segmentation that groups people together based on behavioural patterns. For example, it could be based on website visits during certain occasions such as Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day etc. Occasional segmentation can help expand product usage.

pop-up behaviour
Example of a pop-up on an e-commerce website for Black Friday

2. New visitors / Repeat visitors – This type of segment that allows you to show new and repeat visitors different kind of offers. This means that if a new visitor ignores the first offer, you can change it to something else if they come back. You know there is a reason they didn’t react to it the first time. Be smart about how you change your engagement strategy the second time around.

3. Existing customers – This segment is often left alone, but that shouldn’t be the case. Just because you have managed to convert a visitor into a customer, doesn’t mean the job is done. It is important to start nurturing loyalty.

One of our customers, Canal Digital, applied a segmentation on their website to identify existing customers. This helped them offer bundled deals to customers who had only individual TV subscriptions. Pop-up’s were an effective way to inform existing customers of this value packed deal. A great way of making sure your company offers the best deals to its existing customers.

The case study with our partner Canal Digital can be found here:
The case study with our partner Canal Digital can be found here:

4. Traffic sources – This method allows you to manage visitor expectations based on traffic source. If your PPC (pay-per-click) campaign mentioned a 50% discount on sign up, you may want to show your consumers a separate landing page with all the details about the features that are available for those users only.

5. Location – This is the most commonly used segmentation method. It makes sense to use this method if you are targeting customers from a particular country, or if you want to send out customized messages based on country.

Example of a pop-up showing a new visitor that their products can be shipped to the location they are in (India)
Example of a pop-up showing a new visitor that their products can be shipped to the location they are in (India)

Engagement time

By identifying and evaluating these segments, you are actually developing a set of hypotheses as to why those segments are the best ones to use. Developing a hypothesis will help you distinct need-based or value-based segments. With this in mind, you are able to identify the users you want to engage with.


Keep in mind: Some consumers are already in purchase mode and don’t need to be “interrupted” with a pop-up at all!



If your business has a website, and you want to increase conversions online, you need to utilize pop-up’s. But please do us all a favor, and have a strategy doing so. Make sure that your pop-up’s are:

  • Relevant to the visitor and time.
  • Spot-on in message and;
  • Unobtrusive to the customer journey.

It is always important to test your pop-up strategy to see if it is working. After all, that is what a pro would do.


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