Why You Should Still Make Your Ads Pop

by    |    Aug 29, 2016    |       4 min read

At the first mention of pop ads, there is generally a less than enthusiastic reaction. They are almost like a summer blockbuster movie that failed to resonate with the critics, yet fared really well on the box office. Here’s why we made that comparison: users actually engage with these types of ads on a regular basis, despite the overall “anti-pop” attitude. They are a proven cost-effective option with solid CTR and boost-inducing email and subscriptions opt-ins.

That’s just a general overview of what still makes pop ads a force to be reckoned with. On to the nitty-gritty of why you should still make your ads pop.

They convert

It’s THE reason, no need to look further. Pop-ups and pop-unders have changed, eliminating the annoying factor (for the most part) that was so closely related to these ads. These are not the separate dialogue boxes of the early 2000s which got the pop ads a bad reputation. Now you have pop-ups that slide above page content either in full-screen mode, at the center, from the side, and so on.

There are also pop-unders, a variation of pop-ups that open under the active window. Hence, these ads are not interrupting the user momentarily but appearing when the covering window closes. In addition, there are various trigger options for when these ads should appear. When all these elements are implemented properly (along with a few best practices listed below), pop ads undoubtedly work. In fact, they work really, really well.

Types of pop ups

Types of pop ups

How well? AWeber found that a pop-up form converted a whopping 1,375% better as opposed to more traditional forms for subscriptions. In another research done by Sumo, the top performing 10% of pop up forms had an average conversion rate of 9.3%, while some pop-ups saw rates as high as 50.2%. The numbers are definitely there but all of this needs to be in line with user experience, otherwise, your pop ads won’t matter diddly-squat. Remember this: nothing beats user experience.

To an extent, pop ads are largely misunderstood. It’s easy to copy what other marketers do great but it takes a whole lot of understanding what makes people interact with these ads in the first place. The end results come down to how you use them and personalize them to your audience’s liking.

There are numerous factors that constitute a successful 50% converting pop machine, yet one wrong cog in the engine can slow down or entirely stop your conversion rates. You cannot simply shove pop ads into your reader’s faces every time they visit a website with your ad on it. Well, you can but it’s not recommended. There are more than enough tactics and settings that restrict pop-ups from being annoying and enable maximum efficiency.

How to Maximize the Impact of Your Pop Ads

If you are going to opt for pop up and pop-under ads to represent your campaign, you are walking a thin line between annoying and alienating prospects and winning them over. Here’s what you need to do in order to create a high-converting pop-up ad:

  • Be relevant and valuable – perhaps the single greatest issue with pop ads is that they get in the way of user’s experience, rather than improving it. What’s offered in the pop ad needs to be valuable to visitors and relevant to the website they are on. For instance, if you’re promoting a fashion product, that is targeting retail websites or social media influencers makes more sense than social media in general as it’s more tailored content based on your target audience (more on targeting in a minute). Context is extremely important and what ultimately feeds the pop-up.
  • Be unobtrusive – it’s the same principle: no matter how relevant or valuable your ad is, if you bombard visitors with it, it’s all for nothing. Your ad should serve as a gentle nudge in the right direction, not a full-on attack.
  • Time properly – the correct timing has everything to do with the success of the ad. It’s a fairly common mistake: marketers trigger the pop-ups and pop-unders as soon as visitors land on the website. The key is to be strategic and tailor timing to user behavior, which requires tracking and collecting data.
  • Fewer forms and a clear exit – people are inherently lazy, so fewer forms to fill means more chances for conversion. Also, make sure there is a clear way to exit the pops so users don’t feel forced into clicking through to something they might not be interested in. A missing “X” or “Close” button turns your pop ad into an aggressive ad that will fail to resonate with visitors.

For all of this to work, you need a quality traffic source to build on. Among several fine ad networks on the market, SelfAdvertiser is one of the few options that offer a full range of pop ads and targeting features. Our self-service platform allows you to target websites as broadly or narrowly as you like with advanced targeting options such as keywords, domains, and subdomains.

Depending on the user’s browser, your ad will display in the exact browser size they are working in, full size or any custom size set by the user. There is also an available dedicated account manager for assistance regarding all kinds of topics (not just pop up/under related), from campaign optimization to knowing which programmatic advertising mistakes to avoid and everything in between.


One thing that doesn’t work in your favor is that people don’t like pop ads. With these ad types in play, there has to be some user experience disruption. The good news is that the general annoyance when coming across pop-ups and under is, for the most part, due to the lack of knowledge and concerted effort in taking advantage of all the options they deliver.

That also means utilizing them in the right way to create minimal disruption rather than alienating visitors. By using everything you’ve read in this post, you’ll start seeing the benefits of using pop-ups and have no trouble crafting ads that will win over people and convert them into customers.