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  1. Rudolf

    I’m running a popup on my site which shows up after 30 seconds. Worked fine so far (used it since 2007), but lately, I get a lot of hate comments about it, yet, I sell nothing, just offer a newsletter with updates of the site.
    I begin to wonder whether it is actually good to keep running it. You hear a lot of people saying that it can destroy your reputation as it is regarded as slimy marketing.
    I’m really concerned about this, because I spend years getting a successful site together and I wouldn’t like to see my reputation going into the drain for this.
    What’s your opinion on this?

  2. Karan Batra

    Collecting the emails is one part of it and the other part beung – how do we ensure that the mail lands in the Inbox and not in the Spam/Promotions Tab?

    Any advice would be highly appreciated.

  3. Leticia

    Ah controversial pop ups! Very interesting post. Recently, my live chat provider, Visitlead, started offering an exit intent widget so I decided to give it a try and I have to say that they are very effective. But again, timing is everything when it comes to pop ups.

  4. Hey,

    Great post, initially I thought it would be at the cost of the user experience and that forcing people to subscribe would be a bad thing.

    This blog has opened my eyes.


  5. Melissa

    Nice post with great examples, Ott!
    I noticed that you had an Evergage example in here that isn’t so favorable. In our defense, this popup was actually a test from our old blog and it was triggered on page exit – so basically a bounce prevention tactic. To our surprise, it had a decent conversion rate, increasing our eBook downloads. We have since killed that version because we thought it was aggressive and interfered with the visitor experience. Our goal is to make our messages cohesive to our website, testing light boxes, exit buttons, page location, timing, sizes, shapes and placement of messages. Testing is key for effective popups! We plan to write about our popup/message tests on our own site and there are some posts there already… check out the new Evergage blog for more:

  6. Great post, Ott!

    I’m glad to have have found it – some interesting stats here ;)

    MaxTraffic ( is also offering a tool to convert abandoning visitors into customers. We offer a selfserved platform with a variety of options.

    It would be great if you could add us to the paid app list!

  7. Emil Kristensen

    Hi Ott,

    Really nice article with good content and data. You should take a look at – it’s a new danish startup with focus on pop-up’s and slide-in products. With a really clean dashboard you can generate your own pop-up to generate more e-mail subscribers or social follows. You don’t mention mobile trafic? Sleeknote also provide a responsive pop-up for mobile and tablets.

  8. Eugene Wright

    Didn’t expect statistic to be that good. Pretty useful piece! Can’t say I like popups now, but thank you anyway!

  9. Marc Perry

    Have the same question as @Tyler. Over 50% of my traffic is from mobile / tablet. Curious how pop ups have performed on mobile and which ones you would recommend. More articles in general about converting mobile traffic into leads / sales would be much appreciated.

    1. Tommy Walker

      Hey Marc,

      Noted! I’ve been engaging with a handful of potential contributors who are better versed in mobile than I am, so keep an eye out for that.

      I don’t have any performance stats handy, however I do know that Qualaroo’s nudge supports mobile & can be quite effective from those who have used it.

      You can get more on that here:

  10. James

    “Everybody hates pop-ups but they work!”
    Yup. Probably everybody hates getting mugged, but it works.

    1. Tommy Walker

      Hey James,

      Did you see the examples in the article? We’re not talking about the irrelevant popups, but those that actually do add something.

      Like a discount, contextually relevant guide, or something else that could be useful for the end-user based on the pages they’re on.

      There’s a lot of garbage out there & it gives the technology a bad name, however, there are some instances where it’s very useful, but it has to be used tactfully.

  11. Beatrix Willius

    Sigh… I hate those popups.

    If users sign up via popups do they stay subscribe or do they unsubscribe faster? If they stay subscribed do they read the email newsletters?

    1. Tommy Walker

      I think that has more to do with the email onboarding sequence than the method that they signed up.

      Could be wrong, but that’s what I would guess.

  12. Tyler

    Great post Ott! Do you have any information about the best way to go about collecting email addresses when someone visits your site on a phone or tablet?

  13. Hashim Warren

    Large email lists are to CRO what high search engine rankings are to SEO – valueless for your clients, but fantastic fodder for your agency blog.

    In the same way sweaty SEOs did anything for rankings, I see articles like this advocating annoying tactics for the sake of a percentage increase in email signup conversions.

    Popups aren’t new. It’s just that the 1.0 version is blocked by default by every major web browser. Now we’ve found a way to launch modal popups that can’t be blocked.

    Did online commerce collapse between the time of the window popup and the modal? Nope.

    Businesses had to do marketing to win. No WordPress marketing can help you with weak differentiation, a poor offer, or targeting the wrong customer. Get those things right and your business will grow by 10x, not 10% like with a popup

    1. Hashim Warren

      I meant WordPress plugin, not wordpress marketing

    2. Tommy Walker

      Hey Hashim, I absolutely agree with you, for the most part anyways, and I think just like with SEO, when the Popup provides little value (and this is more often than not) it is a nuisance at best & downright maddening at worst.

      However, there have been a handful of occasions where I find them very useful.

      There was one that offered me a discount code on a print that I was looking at & another that – depending on how frequently I visited the site – would offer a free credit, asked me to connect to them on social, or a relevant decorating guide.

      Yes, 10% is a minimal gain with poor differentiation & a weak offer, however the site’s I’m talking about used the technology in a way that enhanced the experience, rather than blocked it.

      The truth is, even if you shove a weak offer in someone’s face, that’s not going to make them go “oh, I should sign up” if anything, it may prevent them from ever coming back.

      Hopefully in the broader context of this blog, it’s not misinterpreted that we’re trying to advocate putting shitty pop-ups in peoples faces in order to get minimal gains.

  14. Gael

    Dude, great case study, I did something a bit similar on my blog not long ago.

    I’d love to know, have you tested single step opt in pop ups (optinmonster style) vs 2 step opt in pop ups (bounce exchange style) and noticed a big difference ? That’s the one thing I have not yet tested.

    One thing I recommend as well is to pick a solution that allows intensive a/b test and to actually spend time on it. I’ve had some of my sites jump from 2% to 10% optin rate running a dozen tests over a few months.

    This really DOES make a massive difference on growth. One thing that has worked really well for us as well is to create a free giveaway and unique opt in pop up for different categories on our sites so the offer is more targeted.

    This is how you get the 2 digits optin rates.

    Looking forward to see what you do with your pop ups ;).


    1. Ott Niggulis

      That would be an interesting test indeed, and no we haven’t done it – if you do let’s us know of the results ;)

      As for testing, yes, that’s a given. You really need to spend time on it to get the best possible result out of it ;)

  15. John

    Ott. Great article man. It’s great to see someone disprove their own bias. Everyone hates pop ups but they work! Thx for the great article. Cheers. John

  16. Kimberly Gibbs

    Thanks guys, very interesting article. Will have to test those popups on my own site as well.

  17. eric

    Seeing as you even used your own nifty popup once someone scrolls down the page as one of the examples in the article, could you please tell me which software is the one that does that?

  18. Ankit Yadav

    Thanks Ott Niggulis for this great insight whether to use popups or not and if you decide to use it what is the best way around it, I am launching a new hotel meta search website and this article has really helped me to make some informed decisions.

    1. Tommy Walker

      Hey Steven!

      Long time no see mate. Thanks for chiming in & sharing the case study. Really great stuff there & very cool to read. I’ll have to be sure we include it in another article if/when we revisit the popup conversation.

      1. Steven Macdonald

        Hey Tommy, hope you’re well. Sounds great, thanks!

  19. Neil

    I think the “3% increase” is slightly misleading in this context. If you are going to say it’s measly compared to a 1300% increase, it should be described in the same terms e.g a 184% increase, as the conversion rate could never be 1302%.

  20. Elena Dobre

    Thank you for mentioning Marketizator, Ott. This article is a great, educational piece of content. Congrats! :)

  21. Andre

    This post came at just the right time with my company implementing a pop up, thanks for the post!

  22. Jeremy Wallace

    Love the post. It’s great to hear people excited about an effective marketing strategy that’s traditionally had a black mark on it.

    What I’ve found to be key with popups/overlays is focusing on ensuring you are brining value to users. Popups that 1) provide an incentive and/or 2) offer users valuable content seem to be the most effective at getting results.

    We (Rooster Exit Overlays) recently saw fantastic numbers with one of our clients that sells stoves online. Using an opt-in overlay / email campaign with information on the stove installation process, the client saw a 48.5% sales lift for items in this category. The numbers even surprised us, but they show that when you offer users value, you can get great results. A case study for this client can be seen in this blog post:

    Full disclosure, I’m the co-founder of Rooster (, an exit-intent tool that helps marketers engage abandoning visitors.

    Thanks again for the post, especially the part about how overlays don’t have to compromise the user experience!

    – Jeremy

    1. Ott Niggulis

      Absolutely, whatever you offer on the overlay/popup has to bring value. Otherwise what’s the point? :D

  23. joel

    add some simple logic please

    if I came to your site from a link you sent by email don’t pop on me I’m already subscribed… oh but maybe I shared the email to someone? ? good question, try finding a good answer but meanwhile it’s nerve wracking


  24. John-Pierre Cornelissen

    Thanks, nice article. I usually close pop-ups right away. I don’t like them but don’t really hate them either. Two exceptions though:

    1) Some pop-ups have a delayed close button. So you can’t close them right away, but if I want to close and not subscribe then I am not going to change my mind in those 1-2 seconds before I can close. I am actually more inclined to leave the site if I can’t read whatever it is the pop-up covers up. I’d like to see some statistics to see what that delayed close button does to subscribe and bounce rate.

    2) I am subscribed to many lists and usually when I receive an email of that list and click through to the website I get that annoying pop-up again asking me to subscribe. That doesn’t make sense to me. If I visit your website from an email you sent of your mailing list there must be away to suppress that popup.

    1. Ott Niggulis

      We would LOVE to see some data on the delayed close button and it’s effect – would be an interesting read.

  25. Chris Souza

    Hello Ott Niggulis,

    The problem with popups initially is that a lot of the solutions out there only allows you to create and deploy a popup solution without gathering feedback from your users. Example, we had a customer that surveyed their customers and found out that their pain points from finishing their checkout was their shipping cost. With this info, they designed a popup catering to offering shipping savings. Their conversion rates skyrocketed. Our solution allows you to discover your customers pain points by surveying them. With this data, you can create laser targeted relevant popups. Add to your list if you find it helpful. Thanks.

  26. Syed Balkhi

    Thanks a lot for mentioning WPBeginner. Yes the exit-popups work like magic :)

    1. Ott Niggulis

      No problem. And thank You for sharing the case-study in the first place :D

  27. Alden

    Crazy question… I’ve noticed you guys publish duplicate stories with different headlines in different locations(e.g, this story and but they all rel=canonical to themselves, not a centralized URL story (I’m assuming that would be ?) for it. Obviously the A/B testing is valuable, but how to do not lost search engine ranking for duplicate content? This is something we’d love to do, but my understanding is that without the rel=canonical being set to a master story, it would hurt the search ranking for our site/article.

    Thanks for any info!


    1. Tommy Walker

      Urm… thanks for pointing that out Alden… something I need to fix manually O_0

    2. noah kagan

      That is from plugin headlines which optimizes your blog title headlines.

      We block Google search bots to not appear as we are gaming their system.

      It defaults to the original url and title when Google sees it.

      If you have any suggestions, feel free to email me: kingsumo [at ] appsumo [dotzzz] com

  28. Paulo

    Hey Ott Niggulis,

    There’s another alternative I’d like to suggest:
    We’re in beta right now, but we’re just about to launch.

    We’ve got our own data that seems to go right in line with the data you shared here. I’ll definitely share this article with our current subscribers.

    Great article!

    1. Ott Niggulis

      Let me know when you guys launch, we might just add you to the list ;)


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In Defense Of The Email Popup