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Do Pop-up Ads Work for Your Site?

By Brian Su
Posted Thursday, September 23, 2004

Many of us have experienced websites that pop-up or pop-under advertisements are constantly pouring into our screens. At one time I visited a website that had at least four pop-up ads that opened in a rapid succession on my screen. When I attempted to close them, a new window popped up on my screen. I was very much lost in the jungle of these windows and got quite upset. You bet I would never go back to that site again. Automatic pop-ups and pop- under ads are new alternatives to traditional ad banners. They are automatically open when you enter, exit or move about a website. They don~t go away until you close them down. More and more smaller websites are using them to promote their own services. It is believed that pop-up and pop-under windows can generate a 3 times higher CTR than the industry average for banners if you do it right. However, they could also be very annoying and intrusive to many visitors. Therefore, if you want to use automatic pop-up windows on your website, you must do it in a friendly manner.

Recently I have conducted a mini-poll to ask my site visitors about their opinions on pop-up ads. About 1,500 online votes were received in two months. Results are quite interesting:

60% disapprove pop-up windows

25% approve pop-up windows

15% do not care

70% shut off pop-up ads

10% view pop-up ads

20% leave the visiting site if encountering more than three pop-up windows

The above polls are not scientifically accurate, but they do tell us the way how visitors respond to websites that display pop-up ads. Do the survey results suggest that your website should not try this new marketing and advertising approach at all? My answer is Yes and No. If you implement your ads in a more friendly fashion, online visitors would not be offended. However, if pop-up ads are overly used, it may cause side-effects and spark protests from your visitors. Make sure you follow the rules when utilizing automatic pop-up windows on your website.

Here are some important tips for you to follow, as a result you could reduce your risk and maximize your marketing efforts.

1) Evaluate your online business to determine whether your site really needs a pop-up ad. Before implementing any pop-up ads on your website, ask yourself some questions: What are the purposes for using a pop-up ad? Am I using it everyday or just for a few days?

2) If you choose pop-up ads, do not have multiple pop-ups on a single web-page. Do not use pop-up ads on your homepage, it may keep your visitors from visiting your site.

3) Use pop-up ad only once. For instance, you can use a pop-up ad to announce your affiliate program, holiday sales, a promotional offer, online survey, and newsletter subscription.

4) Control the size of each pop-up window. Make the ad smaller so that it won~t block your visitors~ sight.

5) Make pop-up ads easy to close. Add a link or button on your ad so that visitors can quickly shut it off after viewing your ads.

6) Test your ads before making them public. Be certain that they function well. Invite friends to preview your ad. If their feedback is positive, then go ahead! If not, make some improvements accordingly.

7) Avoid using pop-ups for other advertisers. Traditional banner ads are still preferred when displaying ads for other advertisers.

8) If you choose to advertise for other businesses, pop-under window is a better option. The visitors will only have a chance to see the ad when they ready to get offline.

9) Evaluate your pop-up advertising program periodically and identify your best strategy.

In conclusion, proper implementation of automatic pop-up ads could be one of the efficient ways to reach your visitors with a targeted advertising message. The decision to deploy pop-up ads needs to be made very carefully. Always keep your visitors in mind when your site deploys such ads. By only displaying the window once and only when absolutely necessary, you can get maximum results while still respecting your website visitors. The most important lesson to be learnt here is that you must routinely examine your pop-up ad program and utilize it in a user-friendly fashion. After a careful study and implementation, your program will increase your online sales. If your pop-up ads do not effectively bring about results and profits as you expected, then take them off right away.

About the Author:
Brian Su is a co-founder of SmarTech Laboratory, Inc. ( - an Illinois-based eCommerce and Web consulting firm. He is a frequent contributor to many online newsletters and publications. Mr. Su advises small business owners on Internet marketing and promotion strategy. He can be reached through his website.


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