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10 Practical Uses of Popups (+ Inspiring Examples)

August 28, 2023
10 Practical uses of Popups

You’ve heard this over and over again.

Popups are annoying, they interrupt the shopping experience and throw people off. 

While they have a bad reputation for being pesky, popups are still one of the most effective ways for businesses of all sizes to connect with their customers on their websites and generate leads. 

Often misunderstood and underestimated, popups have evolved far beyond their reputation as mere nuisances

Here’s the fact – you still need popups if you’re serious about lead generation. Even more so when they have a higher conversion rate on mobile devices (4.08%) than desktop (2.85%) these days – says this stat.

You don’t have to avoid popups – in fact, you shouldn’t. Those little windows that appear at different times or on different pages of your website can do wonders for your business if you take practical steps and keep to the cardinal rules that guide popups.

Rules for Popup Usage

Relevance is Key

A popup’s success starts with relevance. Tailor your popups to the specific page a visitor is on. Whether it’s a product page, a blog post, or a landing page, the popup’s content should align with the visitor’s interests and intent.

Timing Matters

Timing can make or break a user’s experience. Use exit-intent popups to catch visitors before they leave the site and time-delayed popups to engage them after they’ve spent some time exploring. A delicate balance between being timely and not interruptive is crucial.

Clear and Compelling Value Proposition

Clearly communicate the value your offer provides. Whether it’s a discount, an eBook, a webinar, or exclusive content, the benefits should be evident, concise, and compelling.

Minimalistic Design

Keep the design simple and unobtrusive. The goal is to grab attention without overwhelming the user. Use eye-catching colors, legible fonts, and an intuitive layout that directs attention to the call-to-action (CTA).

A/B Testing

Experiment with different variations of your popups to find out what works best for your audience. A/b test different headlines, CTAs, colors, and images to identify the most effective combination that resonates with your visitors.

Keep It Mobile-Friendly

With mobile users accounting for a significant portion of web traffic, ensure your popups are mobile-responsive. They should display correctly on various devices and screen sizes without hindering user experience.

Non-Intrusive Exit Strategy 

If a user chooses to dismiss a popup, respect their decision. Implement non-intrusive ways for users to exit, such as clear close buttons or a subtle “No, thanks” option.

Limited Frequency

Bombarding users with popups can lead to annoyance and even a higher bounce rate. Set rules to control how often a user sees a particular popup. Consider using session-based triggers to avoid overwhelming the same visitor.


Leverage the power of data to personalize popups. Use browsing history, past interactions, and demographic information to deliver tailored content that resonates with individual users.

Analytics and Tracking

Implement analytics tools to track the performance of your popups. Monitor metrics like conversion rates, click-through rates, and engagement to evaluate their effectiveness and make informed adjustments.

Practical Uses for Popus ( + Examples from Successful Businesses) 

Get More Email Signups 

Popups are attention magnets. A well-timed popup that appears when a visitor is engaged with your content can instantly draw their attention.

To encourage email signups, you must offer tangible value. This could be in the form of an exclusive discount, a downloadable resource, or access to valuable content – just like Dolce & Gabbana did on their website.

Their use of popups to drive email signups is great because it offers their website visitor access to all the news and events in their email box.

No need for them to scour through the internet to keep up with their favorite fashion brand.

Why We Love It:

Simplicity speaks volumes. The minimalist popup designs maintain focus on the value proposition and CTA, which are clearly highlighted in contrasting colors.

popup on dolce & gabbana website

Offer Useful Shipping Information 

A key aspect of boosting sales on your website involves providing useful resources at different touchpoints of the customer’s journey. Cartier, a name synonymous with elegance and luxury, understands this balance well.

Their simplistic and elegant popup conveys their message about shipping clearly. This is a great experience for a new user who’s never shopped from their website in the past. 

It’s also a fantastic way to show your customers that you care about them – much more beyond making a sale.

popup on cartier website

Why We Love It: 

Shipping costs are often a deciding factor in a customer’s purchase journey. People want to know what it’ll take to get their products delivered straight to them.

Simply offering information about shipping through well-timed popups that appear on the header of their website allows Cartier to reduce a significant barrier to sales conversion. 

These pop-ups provide customers with the incentive they need to overcome hesitation and complete their purchases. 

Display Special Promotions 

Tailoring your promotional messages to specific audiences and times is essential.

Just look at this popup example from Shopify that offers plans at a reduced price for first time customers.

It’s no coincidence that this popup sits on their “start a business” page to attract customers who may be considering starting a shopify store.

popup on shopify website

Why We Love It: 

This popup has the ability to instantly draw the eye with vibrant visuals and compelling copy, ensuring that the special offer doesn’t go unnoticed.

It also isn’t intrusive or interruptive that it disrupts the entire experience of the user.

Collect Leads With Exit-Intent

Sometimes, customers need that extra nudge before leaving your site. Exit-intent popups detect when a user is about to abandon the page and present them with an enticing discount offer. 

Exit-intent popups are strategically timed interventions that trigger when a user demonstrates behavior indicating they are about to leave a website.

This unique timing capitalizes on a crucial moment—when visitors are already disengaging—and presents a compelling offer that encourages them to reconsider. 

A clear value proposition, such as an exclusive discount, a valuable resource, or a newsletter subscription, used on an exit-intent popup seeks to interrupt the abandonment process and motivate visitors to take a desired action.

Why We Love Them

Who doesn’t love a good deal? You can offer a time-limited discount code or special offer in exchange for the visitor’s email address using an exit-intent popup.

Showcase Discounts & Offers

The moment a visitor lands on your website, you have a golden opportunity to make a lasting impression. An entrance popup, appearing right as the page loads, can swiftly inform your audience about the ongoing discount offers – just like Asos does on their website. 

popup on asos website

When customers add items to their cart, or click on the “Shop Now” button – as it is with this instance –  it’s a clear sign of interest. 

You can easily capitalize on this intent by displaying a popup that highlights discounts for the items they’re about to purchase. 

This not only increases the likelihood of completing the purchase but also encourages upselling and cross-selling, thereby boosting the average order value.

Tesla also used this strategy on their website but with tax credits.

popup on tesla website

Why We Love It:

Again, simplicity is at the heart of non-intrusive popups. Clear message, clear CTA, minimal use of elements and complementary colors are some of the reasons why we love these popups.

Deliver Relevant Content 

Popups can be strategically designed to deliver timely and relevant content to users. Whether it’s a blog post, an eBook, a whitepaper, or a how-to guide, popups can offer users the chance to access valuable resources directly related to their interests or needs.

These resources can position businesses as industry experts while providing users with valuable knowledge and skills.

popup on chatgpt website

In this instance, popups are used to offer use cases that’ll help small businesses utilize ChatGPT better. 

Drive Sales with Social Proof

Social proof is the psychological concept where people tend to base their decisions and actions on the behaviors and opinions of others. 

For e-commerce this is very important as potential customers are more likely to make a purchase when they see that others have already done so and had a positive experience. 

Think of it as word of mouth marketing but displayed on digital platforms.

It can take various forms, such as customer reviews, ratings, testimonials, and user-generated content. 

Harnessing social proof effectively can build trust and credibility, essential elements for driving sales conversions.

Showcase user-generated content, such as customer photos using your products or their experiences shared on social media; customer reviews and high ratings for your products or services; or display real-time notifications of recent purchases or sign-ups

Update on Company or Product Changes 

When it comes to sharing important updates, you want to ensure that your audience receives the information promptly. 

Utilizing well-designed popups strategically placed on your website ensures that visitors won’t miss the latest developments – even if it’s an update to your privacy policy just like the New York Times did with this popup on their website.

popup on new york times website

Countdown Your Offers

Countdown popups introduce an element of scarcity and urgency to your promotions. Human psychology is wired to respond to limited-time offers, fearing they might miss out on a valuable deal. 

The countdown timer reinforces the idea that time is of the essence, prompting visitors to make quick decisions.

Countdown popups can also be used strategically to collect user information, such as email addresses, through sign-up forms. 

Offering exclusive deals or early access in exchange for contact details can help you grow your mailing list.

Grow Your Newsletter Signups 

Deepening your relationship with customers requires more interaction than simply getting on a website.

You need to keep showing them the value that your business can offer to them. That’s why your popups should not only drive action on your website but also away from your website to your CRM.

Whether you’re utilizing popups for newsletter signups or email marketing, your creativity must shine through in order to get real sign-ups who are interested in what you have to say.

In relation to that, be sure to factor in mobile-responsiveness, user-friendliness, and triggers that optimize your popups. 

Avoid showing them immediately upon page load, as this can be annoying to visitors. Instead, use triggers like exit intent, scroll percentage, or time spent on the page. For instance, a popup could be triggered when a user has scrolled through a certain percentage of the content, indicating their engagement.

Wrapping Up

Now that you’re all set with practical ways to boost your lead generation efforts, why don’t you get started with our interactive and user-friendly popup builder to create beautiful popups that convert.

Get started here.

Idongesit ‘Didi’ Inuk is a Content Marketer at Poptin. She's driven by conversations about technological products and the impact they have on the people they're created for.