Are Interstitials and Pop-Ups on your website doing a good job, or putting clients off?

By Stirling Austin
Are Interstitials and Pop-Ups on your website doing a good job, or putting clients off?

Pop-Ups and Interstitials are widely used online as a form of “interruption marketing”. A basic definition is as follows:

  • Pop-Up Ads. There are different kinds of popups that can be used on a website. However, all of them have the same effect by appearing on part of your current webpage.
  • Interstitials: Google tends to use the terms pop-ups and interstitial interchangeably, but while a pop-up is an overlay that doesn’t completely hide the content underneath it, an interstitial is a fullscreen message that appears when you are opening up a web page.

Both prevent access to the content until you click to remove it. Normally, you’ll set a pop-up to trigger after a short delay, when a user scrolls to a certain part of the page, or use something called exit-intent popups that trigger when a user’s mouse hovers near the top of the browser window

What’s the purpose?

A banner or popup can be good for getting the attention of those who are not ready to convert yet. They are best used as an initial point of contact to help people learn more about a specific product or promotion or to sign up for something. Companies leverage banners and popups to generate leads and revenue. On the positive side, a study by Acquisio, a digital marketing agency, found that 60% of people will click on banners within 5 seconds of visiting a site. This shows how valuable banners are for advertising.

However, there is also the other side of the coin, often described as « banner blindness ».  Some websites are becoming cluttered with calls-to-action, banners, and popups that can easily distract the visitor from the reason they came to your site in the first place. Websites should avoid using too many, as it can actually lead to a decline in conversion rates and will make visitors leave your website prematurely.

  • They prompt and convert
  • They get the users attention
  • They have a focused message and call to action (CTA).
  • They can be annoying especially if they keep on appearing.
  • They block content. Since they load after the page, users have already started reading so you block their view.
  • Increased bounce rate, so often users get fed up and leave your site.
  • Pop-ups are awful on mobile, sometimes it’s hard to find the “X” and Google can actually penalise sites for showing pop-ups to mobile users. Even though mobile accounts for a significant percentage of traffic, your web designer should know how to disable or adapt them if required.
What about GDPR banners and chat boxes?

A GDPR banner is necessary of course, as long as it only appears once. However, the big culprits can sometimes be chat windows, especially chatbots. Sometimes they take up quite a bit of space on smaller screens and in particular on mobile devices. Even if you minimise the chatbox, it can block information and put people off if it pops up anew on every page. It depends on the code, some chat software/plugin providers are better than others.

The impact on SEO

Google’s search algorithm checks for popups and interstitials on mobile. If your ads and web pages seem intrusive, then you’re probably going to rank lower than sites that don’t. Blocking content is likely to result in higher bounce rates, less time spent on your website, fewer pages visited, and fewer links back to your site. This will have an adverse effect on search engine rankings.

Some tips for creating effective and persuasive popup messages:
  • Design: Banner and popups should not be too cluttered with text to where it’s hard to read. A clean design with plenty of white space helps make the content inviting and easy to read. A banner or popup needs to be designed in a way that will catch the eye, but not overdo it with too many colours, images, or text. It is important to make sure that the banner is aesthetically pleasing and well-balanced.
  • Not Too Many: Banner and popups should not be popping up every 10 seconds, as it gets very annoying for the visitor. It’s distracting and takes away from the experience of the website.
  • Location: Banner and pop-ups need to be located in the appropriate spots on the page in order for them to be opened. They should keep the user within the logical conversion journey of the site, not interrupt the flow.

In the end, it all comes down to what kind of value pop-ups bring to your marketing strategy. If you’re generating solid leads from them, then it may be worth the trade-offs.

Pixel Executive is a full-service Digital Agency. Whether for a simple brochure website, a multilingual website, an e-commerce site, or digital marketing, we help you build your business and your brand. Our team is supported by a network of trusted specialists such as copywriters, translators, and experts in multilingual SEO.  Whatever your requirement for design, content marketing, or website maintenance, we support you every step of the way.