Why website pop-ups are not doing your brand any favours

Aggressive website pop-ups are becoming ubiquitous these days, which is surprising when all research suggests that people don’t appreciate or engage interruption advertising. Here are some reasons why a popup advert might not be the right choice for your brand.

Oh advertising pop-up, let me count the ways you aggravate me:

1. You come across as obnoxious.

Web visitors will naturally connect how they feel about your brand and your products, with how the website makes them feel. Shoving a popup in their face, unrequested, is an affront. If someone wants to give you their email address, they will – you can make it easy for them by embedding a clean, user friendly sign-up form or widget.

2. You want something for nothing.

Asking someone to submit their email address before they’ve seen any other content is like asking someone to pay you back for money you haven’t lent them yet.

A particularly annoying element of pop-ups recently is when users are offered the option to submit their email or to click spurious text, and essentially lie to themselves, in order to remove the popup without inputting information. As the example below suggests, you can download the report or you can admit that you ‘don’t like learning about trends’. Nice.

obnoxious pop up

Screenshot of an annoying website popups banner from Quick Sprout

If you must use a pop-up, you can reduce the risk of making your web visitors angry with this one simple tip.

Don’t force visitors to accept any of the following premises in order to remove the pop-up:

“I don’t want to generate leads for my business. I already have all the answers.”

“I’m not interested in making money.”

“I’d rather not succeed in life.”

or something equally humiliating or preposterous.

3. Your great content will not be shared and therefore seen by as many people.

A perfect example is this blog post by @Jeremarketer on Inc.com. I followed a link from Twitter to the article and was faced with this:

Screenshot of website pop-ups ad


Needless to say, I didn’t share the (what turned out to be great) content because I didn’t want to spam my followers by forcing them to view and accept the popup ad of an unrelated third party. In fact, I didn’t want to spam my followers. Full stop.

(Ironically – the blog post is called ‘8 Steps to Creating the Perfect Blog Post.’ I’d suggest making it 9 and including ‘Don’t force your readers to watch an annoying advert before allowing them to read your perfect blog post.’)

Frankly, the premise of forcing users to view your ad before they get to the content is old fashioned. Worse still is when the advertiser insists on moving the ‘close’ button to an unexpected location so you have to search around for it. Those in the know (or those who care about their web visitor experience) know that this is a major turn off.

Remember – you want to delight your web visitors not aggravate them.
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Of course, pop-ups have a place and can greatly increase the number of email addresses you collect in a short time. However, review your strategy carefully before employing them to ensure you are not undermining your brand values.

One thought on “Why website pop-ups are not doing your brand any favours”

  1. Sabine Matharu

    This is so true. You have picked up on the most annoying things and I agree that this way people won’t like to share the content due to the aggressive marketing! I have experienced that myself as a customer and you have just brought it to the surface in this well written blog post! Thanks for sharing this insight!

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