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Pop Up Ads: The Marketer’s vs User’s Perspective

Updated on January 26, 2017

With the emergence of the digital era, marketers have gained the capacity to not only bombard your life with physical advertisements, such as on billboards and train carts, but also to grab your attention in the comfort your own living room or workplace.

Digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day. Users are rapidly developing what is being called “advertising fatigue,” a condition where users begin to unconsciously ignore the ads around them.

Thus, the creation of pop up advertisements were supposed to be a way to combat this loss of awareness with the ads by forcing users to recognize and act on an ad.

Unfortunately, pop up ads are often perceived to be annoying, which can undermine whatever advantages they may have had initially over other forms of advertising.

The Marketing Perspective

Even though they can be annoying, it has been proven that pop up ads are among the most effective in obtaining clicks and conversions, especially when compared with other digital advertisements, like banner or sidebar ads. In one test, popups drove 1,375% more email captures vs. a sidebar opt-in form.

While marketers want users to have positive experiences on their website, their primary goal ought to be user conversion.

Marketers need to be conscious of what may be irritating users in order to create pop up ads that convert while contributing to an overall good user experience.


The User Perspective

As a user, one of the most frustrating experiences that can be had while browsing through a compelling blog, is to be obstructed by a pop up ad on a seemingly irrelevant subject.

Not only does the ad deter the user from pursuing whatever action is being prompted by its content, but it also increases the user’s level of irritation toward the blog itself.

Google tries to combat this issue by making an announcement that if websites use pop up ads that obstruct users from accessing content freely, then its page rank will be demoted in search engines.

On mobile, it is very easy to accidentally click on an ad, signaling an interest in the advertisement. This, in turn, means that users are likely to be re-targeted for the same product or service, even though the user never had in interest in the first place.

According to research, 50% of advertisements are closed out before they are done loading. This alone ought to illustrate the level of irritation that a pop up ad can cause.


How to Get the Most From Your Ads

Find Some Middle Ground

In order to find the right middle ground, marketers ought to be working directly with UX designers when designing their advertisements.

UX and marketing teams can be powerful allies when it comes to finding the sweet spot between effectiveness, conveying the right message, and usability.

Provide a clear exit out of the advertisement

Providing a clear way to get out of the ad should ensure that your users know that the ad is coming from a trusted source, and is not spam. The screenshot on the right is of a pop up advertisement from the Fandango iOS mobile app.

This advertisement has two very clear exits, as well as two very clear call-to-actions. Looking at the ad, the user will know exactly what will happen when clicking on any of the four buttons.

This ad is also very targeted and relevant, as it is promoting movie ticket sales on an app that sells movie tickets.


Offering real value

Marketers ought to position their ads for maximum value, while still appearing creative and well-designed. For example, the image below is a pop up ad from Gifts that is offering 15% off the user's next purchase.

Offering discounts or even free items is a particularly great strategy for ecommerce advertisements. Since the user organically decided to explore this particular website, displaying a pop up ad with a discount is just a bonus.

Personalize and retarget your ad’s

Technology has developed to a point where users now expect everything to be personalized to fit their needs. Employing pop up ads that lack any hint of personalization will not tempt a user to click.

The ability to utilize cookies in an effort to track a user’s interests, including what they do on the internet, can add a lot of value to your ads.

For example, if a 14 year old girl gets an advertisement for baby diapers, she will probably be irritated. If the same girl gets a pop up ad with a coupon for Kylie Jenner’s new lip kit, on the other hand, she’ll probably be ecstatic.

A great way to personalize an ad is by offering items that fit a user’s shopping and search behavior—Facebook does this really well.

Another simple (and eye-catching) personalization that marketers can utilize in their ads is the incorporation of a user’s name in the advertisement, which can be done by integrating social media, or even by using beacon technology.


Regardless of the irritation and frustration a pop up ad can bring, its potential for effectiveness can not be ignored. In fact, knowledge of the drawbacks of this type of advertisement can actually help marketers develop better ads.

When done right, pop up advertisements can boost a business's revenue quite significantly. If you can follow the simple steps offered in this article, you are sure to see lots of improvement in your pop up ads.

Just remember the four components of a successful pop up ad:

  1. Finding the right middle ground between marketing and usability

  2. Instill trust by offering a clear exit

  3. Create ads that offer real value to your users

  4. Personalize your pop ads to provoke attention


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    • erorantes profile image

      Ana Maria Orantes 

      2 years ago from Miami Florida

      A pop up on the side of the article; I do not mind, but if it is on top. I do not like it. Most devices have a control to stop them. Also, the site where ; you are reading at the moment of the pop up . They ask if you want to allow to show the add. I like the advertisements. It is a good way to find out about many good things to do or buy. I like your article. The pictures are good. Your grammar needs to be revise before you publish your hub. You need to read hub pages learning center. Good luck with your future hubs.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 

      2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I spend a lot of time doing online research for my articles, and I've come to hate these popup ads with a passion. You bring up an article and start reading, then suddenly the ad blanks the screen as it starts to load. That causes so much irritation that I already have an antagonistic attitude toward the ad and the advertiser before I even see it. And for the most part I never see those ads. They take so long to load, I almost always have clicked away before the ad becomes visible. So, from my perspective, the content of the ad doesn't matter - I'll never see it.


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