Nicole Kelly
Nicole Kelly 8 September 2022

4 Pop-Up Advertising Best Practices for Ecommerce Conversions

In an effort to increase conversions, websites often use pop-ups with reckless abandon, which is what gives them such a bad reputation. However, pop-up marketing can improve the experience of your onsite customers when used strategically.

According to the stats, the best pop-ups have incredibly high conversion rates.

Therefore, this article will discuss four pop-up advertising best practices to utilize pop-ups effectively and increase your ecommerce conversions. But first, let’s talk about the problems you can face if you misuse this form of advertising on your website.

white and red book

[Source: Unsplash]

How Pop-Ups Can Harm Your Ecommerce Business

No matter what you think of them, pop-ups have their advantages.

Ecommerce teams can use them to increase sales, build email lists, and personalize the customer experience. Nonetheless, pop-ups can cause significant issues if they are misused.

You might not realize it, but if your pop-ups are poorly implemented, you may irritate your customers, negatively impacting your revenue and your ecommerce channel.

Misusing pop-up ads can lead to the following dangers:

Making Your Brand Look Bad

In addition to driving email subscribers, increasing average order values, and personalizing the online shopping experience, pop-ups can also drive customer engagement. However, if they are not used properly, they can harm your brand's reputation.

When a pop-up is poorly timed, badly designed, or aggressive, it screams “spam!” You will lose trust and consumer confidence if consumers perceive your brand as desperate or spammy.

Increasing Bounce Rates

We’ve all been there – your experience on a website is entirely ruined by a pop-up that dominates everything and can’t be closed. So how do you proceed? Simple. You leave the site in question and look elsewhere.

A visitor is unlikely to stay to troubleshoot pop-ups that cover the page or can't be closed quickly (especially on a mobile device). Instead, they will click the Back button and happily go to one of your competitors.

You are less likely to convert customers if you have a high bounce rate.

Damaging Your SEO

There was an algorithm update from Google in 2016 that slapped a ban on what they called "intrusive interstitials." In essence, the update’s goal was to protect Google search's user experience by devaluing pages using annoying pop-ups.

If a user cannot navigate a page because a pop-up blocks the content or makes it difficult to locate what they're looking for, their search query will not likely be satisfied.

As a result, your search results could be devalued by Google if you use pop-ups indiscriminately, which could lead to less organic traffic.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that all pop-ups will hurt your search engine optimization efforts. In fact, pop-ups are used strategically by most of the best NY social media agencies and SEO professionals without damaging their clients’ search engine rankings.

Pop-Up Best Practices to Drive Ecommerce Conversions

Now that we've discussed how pop-ups can negatively affect ecommerce brands let's look at how to get them right. We have compiled four effective ecommerce pop-up strategies to help you increase sales and conversions.

1. Use Personalized Pop-Ups

Personalizing your marketing can show customers you care about what they like and who they are. Moreover, it can be a powerful way to boost conversions, sales, and revenue.

According to an Ecommerce Promotions Insights Survey by Namogoo, 61% of online shoppers are more likely to purchase after a personalized experience.

A personalized experience delights shoppers and helps you increase conversions or average order value by tailoring your messaging, call to action, and overall offer. Using behavioral data, you can also use pop-ups to recommend products based on a customer’s browsing history or help them recover an abandoned cart.

Multi-targeted brands can also benefit from personalization. Let's say you sell both kid's and teen's products. The best way to reach teens is to show them styles and products that interest them rather than kid clothing.

2. Make Your Call to Action More Appealing

The average US internet user visits more than 130 web pages daily. If only 10% of these websites show pop-ups, your users are likely to see 10+ pop-ups each day. In addition, consumers are exposed to 5,000 advertisements per day, so you're up against stiff competition when it comes to grabbing the audience’s attention.

The key to convincing your online shoppers to take action is to make your call to action engaging. And you do that by offering some incentive. Users will no longer subscribe to get updates. You must provide customers with more if you want to drive conversions with pop-up marketing.

When it comes to pop-up marketing, the good news is that the user is already on your website, which means they’re likely interested in a service or product you offer. A good incentive will encourage said visitor to take action and grab their attention.

Here are a few common examples of ecommerce pop-up incentives:

  • Digital downloads (guides, ebooks, etc.)
  • Gift with purchase
  • Free shipping
  • Discount codes

It is essential to realize that not all incentives are made equal and that not all traffic sources and brands will convert at the same rate. It is crucial to determine which incentive will work best for your brand based on the types of customers you attract, your products, and the purchase intentions of your customers.

Identify the incentive that converts the most visitors by testing it on different audience segments. 

3. Add a Sense of Urgency

It is hard to ignore pop-ups. That's why they're so powerful when set up strategically. However, as we discussed above, shoppers are overwhelmed with advertisements and interstitials, so you need to trigger a sense of urgency in your visitors to generate high conversions with pop-ups.

You can do this in a few ways, which we’ll explore in some detail below.

Cart Expiry Time

Take advantage of the fact that customers' shopping carts expire after a certain time for inventory management purposes. Use a pop-up to inform your customer of this fact and trigger their sense of urgency.

Inventory Notifications

If a user is looking at a product with limited inventory, you can use pop-ups to inform them that these items might not be available for long. This is an easy-to-understand and acceptable reason to use a pop-up, and users will likely appreciate the heads-up.

Progress Indicators

Progress indicators highlighting the completed steps on a customer’s journey are a great move for triggering not only a sense of urgency but also a sunk-cost bias.


Use countdown timers for limited-time promotions and sign-up incentives. This is a powerful urgency trigger, but you have to be careful not to overdo it. If all of your products are suddenly on a “limited-time offer,” users will get suspicious.

The likelihood of your visitors returning decreases if they leave without taking action while on your site. It will be difficult to regain their attention once you’ve lost it. So, create a sense of scarcity or urgency in your pop-ups to leverage your visitors' forward momentum.

4. Serve Relevant Pop-Ups to Different Audience Segments

Showing the same pop-ups to every user, regardless of the segment they belong to, is a common mistake that can dramatically impact how well your pop-up performs.

Your pop-ups should be tailored to different customer segments based on the type of customer at different stages of the onsite journey rather than serving the same pop-up to everyone.

A demographic-based targeting approach considers traffic segments' types, devices, referring channels, and geographic locations.

These factors can heavily influence user behavior, so providing them with a different pop-up experience can drastically improve your conversion rate. To better understand how audience-based display targeting works, let's examine each type.

Visitor Type

The pop-up you display to new visitors may differ from that which you show to returning visitors as they learn about your brand for the first time. New visitors are more likely to engage with your brand when you offer a free lead magnet and proof of experience, establishing authority and trust.

You can tailor your pop-up to new users vs. returning ones through Google Analytics by creating conversion segments. You can also use this data to include more brand elements and trust signals in your pop-ups.


Your visitors' geographical location may influence your store's ideal pop-up display. 

It may be necessary to offer a different experience based on demographic data if, for example, some of your products are only available in certain countries or if you ship to customers in the UK but your distribution center is in the US.

Session Source

The source of each session influences a user's interaction with your website. 

You may get more responses from visitors referred by your affiliate to your online store when a pop-up appears shortly after they begin their session since they have the affiliate's stamp of approval.


Visitors browsing on specific devices may convert less if you don't customize their experience since each device is different. In desktop browsers, exit intent pop-ups are likely to be successful, but they fail for mobile devices where it's more difficult to infer abandonment intent.

Pop-ups on desktops typically perform better than those on mobile. On the desktop, a call to action is easier to implement and provides a better user experience.

Wrapping Up

Online shoppers have more options than ever before. A well-used pop-up can set your brand apart from your competition and increase conversion rates. 

Make sure your pop-ups consider user experience. Are you able to provide users with something of value through your pop-up, or is it just a branding tool? Target users who are most likely to act upon pop-ups and make sure they are helpful.

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