The original concept of a pop-up is a scourge upon the world. The massive exploitation and disruption it caused cannot be forgotten, and many modern design ideas have to strive to avoid emulating them too closely, to avoid any sort of penalty associated with using such a technique.
Modern pop-ups are what I tend to call pop-overs instead, because unlike pop-ups or pop-unders, they don’t spawn a new browser window when they trigger. They aren’t very intrusive, and can be easily closed, which is better for user experience.
Don’t know what I mean? Just mouse outside of this browser window or tab away. This site has an exit intent pop-over enabled, which triggers when you perform some kind of action that indicates you might be leaving the page.
The Value of a Modern Pop-up
As you might be able to infer from the example I just gave, a pop-over can have a lot of value. They’re generally used to try to get new subscribers to a mailing list, but they can also be used for a variety of other purposes. I’ve seen pitches to sell an online course, a premium membership, or an ebook. I’ve also seen them used to offer time-limited coupons or discounts.
The primary value of an exit-intent pop-over is their timing. All of the pop-up systems I’ve listed below either have time-based, scroll-based, or exit-intent triggers, rather than the old style of on-load pop-ups.
If you arrive on a website and are immediately greeted with a pop-up asking for your email address, are you going to give it to them? Probably not, right? I wouldn’t. However, if you land on a page and find a lot of quality content, then when you’re about to leave, you get the same pop-up, would you sign up? I might. The page provided value, I thought it was good, I might subscribe to the newsletter to see more.
Exit intent is the best model, because it triggers when the user is going to leave, i.e. when the window loses focus or when they’re mousing towards the tab or browser X. A time delay works, but it can still interrupt the user experience. There’s not much worse than being midway through a sentence and having to stop to close a window.
In any case, it’s up to you to configure the pop-overs the way you find is most effective. Maybe your audience responds well to scroll triggers, or maybe they tend to use keyboard shortcuts to exit and don’t trigger the exit intent pops. Either way, do some split testing and figure out what works.
What I’ve provided here are five options you can use. Some of them are free, some of them are premium, and I’ll tell you about each of them in their section. One thing is certain, though; until Google decides they’re a bad user experience element and penalizes them, these script-based in-window pop-overs are perfectly SEO-friendly.
The feature you’re looking for here is their overlays. Omniconvert is a company focusing on split testing solutions and analytics, and one of the ways they harvest data for your website is through overlays. These overlays, or pop-overs, can be triggered with exit intent, on load, on scroll, or by clicking specific elements or locations on the page.
In addition, these overlays come with a lot of helpful features for testing. They have segmentation of your traffic based on traffic source, that can display personalized welcome messages from an affiliate source, delivery varying offers based on source, or just show organic traffic a unique offer. They have behavioral segmentation, segmentation based on geographic location, and even segmentation based on weather conditions. Yes, I thought that one was an April Fools joke too; it’s not.
There are well over 100 templates for overlays, and you can make your own custom overlay as well. They support countdowns, discount coupons, ebook download calls, personalization choices (choose your shoe size to see custom recommendations, for example), the usual subscription, and simple testimonial showcases.
On top of all of this, they also have a wide range of persuasion options for these overlays. You can set customization variables, branching logic in your overlays, personalized surveys, and a whole lot more.
Of course, nothing that attempts to add people to a mailing list is going to do it without integrating with your mailing list programs. Omniconvert works with Zapier, which means data can be funneled into anything else that can use Zapier, like MailChimp and ActiveCampaign. It works with Magento and Shopify, as well as Google Analytics and a few other analytics options for your reporting.
Omniconvert has a free trial, and their pricing is hidden behind it. Once you set it up, you learn that after the trial, subscriptions start at $60 per month. Pricing is based on traffic, so sites with larger audiences will end up costing more. It’s something like up to 10,000 views for that $60, scaling up to 200,000 views for $440, and larger plans on a customized quote basis.
Carl Sednaoui is a marketer, coder, and website optimizer based in New York City. He’s primarily the director of marketing for MailCharts, but one of his side projects was Ouibounce. The link above is to a Github fork of the project, kept up to date and maintained by fans of the project since Carl himself stopped working on it.
Ouibounce is at once both more and less feature-filled than something like Omniconvert. It basically does one thing; exit intent overlay visibility. It doesn’t have a bunch of integrations, it doesn’t have a ton of templates, it doesn’t have custom reports or behavioral targeting or any of that. You can set cookie-based tracking, a timer or delay on the pop, and a sensitivity setting.
Beyond that, though, it’s open source (free). It’s a Github project, which means you can just take the code and modify it to your needs. If you want it to integrate with something, just figure out what code you need to pass data and do it. It has an API for data hooks, use that. And, of course, it’s free.
Sumo is a marketing company with several good offerings. They have a suite of sharing buttons and features, they have a heat map system of analytics, and they have a list builder. The list builder is where the overlay pop-up comes in, and it’s quite good.
As you might expect, they have different modes of displaying the pop-over, including a “smart mode” that is their own version of exit intent technology. It’s also customizable, though very simple. Unlike other pop-overs, you only kind of have one box and one form field, since it’s a focused list builder rather than a general marketing pop-up. You can customize colors and text, though. The rest of the editing is done through drag-and-drop positioning. You can add custom images if you want, though it sometimes seems less flexible than other options.
Perhaps the biggest feature you get from Sumo is that this pop works on mobile. Neither of the two options above work on mobile due to how they’re coded. Sumo very much does.
You get split testing and your pops can have one of four different goals. You can also choose to display the pop-ups for specific traffic sources, most notably individual social referrals from Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and some other sites.
Sumo has five plan tiers. The basic plan is free but has limited monthly visits, on up to one site. It has split testing and templates, but it lacks a lot of the other features. The Small tier is up to 5,000 monthly visits on one site, removes the Sumo branding from your pop-over, gives you pro analytics, display rules, integrations, and VIP support. It’s $30 per month.
As far as integrations are concerned, it’s primarily focused on various email applications, like HubSpot, Salesforce, MailChimp, Drip, and GetResponse. However, they also work with Zapier, so you can do with that data what you will.
The Medium plan is up to 50K visits per month and increases your limit to three sites. Otherwise it adds no features compared to Small, and costs $60 per month. The Big plan is half a million visitors across nine sites, adds in enterprise integrations, and supports discount codes, for $120 per month. Then they have the traditional no-price-listed, unlimited everything plan called the Sumo plan. Cost will scale based on your needs.
They offer split testing, of course, and triggers based on scrolls, timers, or exit intent. They also allow coupon codes, which many other options do not, since they tend to require integration with ecommerce setups.
Privy’s list of integrations is, well, pretty huge. They do ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Magento, as well as Bigcommerce and WooCommerce. They do Squarespace, WordPress, HubSpot, Tumblr, Zen Cart, and SpaceCraft. They do MailChimp, Constant Contact, Emma, SendGrid, and a dozen more email systems. They work with Slack for notifications, AdRoll for retargeting, and anything you can reach through Zapier. Using these email integrations, it can also send drip campaigns and newsletters.
Privy starts out free with a plan that includes unlimited campaigns, unlimited sign-ups, and unlimited landing pages. You get pop-ups, full screen overlays, embeds, exit intent triggers, discounts, email sync, and up to three integrations. Your only quantity limitation is autoresponder sends, which is capped at 3,000 per month.
The Plus plan is $24 per month and adds on page URL targeting, device targeting, real time notifications, custom forms, white label branding, support for UTM tagging, five integrations, and 12K autoresponses.
Commerce is $80 per month and adds Unique Discounts in Shopify, cart value targeting, language selection, redemption tracking, custom fonts, and a bunch of other options.
Then you have Growth, which is $200 per month and gives you split testing for campaigns, custom scripts, dynamic forms, user analytics, use on 3 domains, an onboarding call, prioritized support, and more.
Optin Monster is one of the first and premier options for various forms of, well, form. Landing pages, overlay pops, floating sidebars, slide-ins, exit intent pops; you have all of them and more.
One of the primary selling points of Optin Monster is the form builder. They have spent years creating and optimizing a highly functional form builder that works extremely well for a wide variety of purposes. That makes this the most flexible of the five options short of hand-coding expansions and forms yourself with Ouibounce.
Not only are you given a wide variety of targeting options for your audience segmentation, you can apply these at a page level. You can segment your mailing list to incredible detail. You have split testing, of course, and a ton of analytics reports. You can set up welcome gates, use mobile pop-overs, and foating bars.
You might expect Optin Monster to be very expensive given how many features it has, but you’ll be surprised. While they have no free version, they have a $9 per month basic plan that gives you unlimited forms, split testing, page-level targeting, reporting, and more. The next tier up is $19 per month and has the floating bar, sidebar, and content locking abilities. It also works on up to three sites. The top-tier plan includes all of the rest of their features, including exit intent technology, mobile forms, yes/no forms, slide-ins, scheduling, and sub-accounts. That one is $29 per month.
It’s up to you which of these five options you want to use, or if you want to investigate other options. I know there are free and premium WordPress plugins, for example, if you don’t want something quite so advanced.
Let me know which you pick in the comments below!