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Pop-up conversion: 5 awesome pop-up tools you HAVE to use in 2020

In marketing, it is important to know how to reach the right audience. Part of that includes understanding which tools are most effective and which marketing strategies are going to produce the best results. In light of this, many people wonder why the topic of pop-ups is being discussed. After all, it's been the general rumor for years that pop-ups are dead, or at the very least a major nuisance.

That’s the thing, though—it is just a rumor. While pop-ups can be annoying and some people might be “over it”, as a marketing tool, they’re still insanely effective when used properly. For example, people using the List Builder tool on Sumo collected more than 23 million email addresses in under two years using pop-ups. For businesses looking to grow their marketing reach and increase conversion rates, pop-up tools are a must have. Keep reading to find out everything that you need to know.


Related post: Conversion rate optimization - The ultimate CRO guide for 2020


Convert browsing shoppers

#1 What is pop-up conversion?

#2 Best practices: Don’t get blacklisted

#3 The top tools for 2020

#4 How to choose

#5 Important pop-up design tips


What is Pop-Up Conversion?

Pop-up conversion is a pretty simple process that involves using various types of pop-ups at various stages of the consumer journey to attempt to convert visitors into customers, or to encourage some other action. Conversion can refer to a sale, but it can also refer to things like:

  • Email signups

  • Newsletter signups

  • Membership enrollment

  • Clicking from a blog to a product page

Any action that a business wants users to take can be a conversion metric. By identifying the ways that you want to utilize pop-ups to assist with conversion rate optimization, it will be easier for you to implement the right pop-ups and find the best tools for the job.

Based on the same research mentioned above, which also analyzed nearly 2 billion pop-up ads, here are some important statistics to keep in mind:

  1. 3 out of 100: The number of people/brands that ever see pop-up conversion rates over 11%.

  2. 3.09%: The average conversion rate across all pop-ups

  3. 28%: The average conversion rate of the top 10% of pop-ups

Remember, the conversion rate refers to how many people saw a pop-up and took action as a result. Three percent might not seem like a lot, but if you get 100,000 visitors to your site, that means you’ll get 3,000 new subscribers, members, or other conversions as a result of using pop-ups effectively as a marketing tool.

Best Practices: Don’t Get Blacklisted

Like any marketing tool, the use of pop-ups is something that has to be done very carefully and precisely to ensure that not only the ideal results are generated, but that the company’s marketing efforts or conversion rates aren’t hurt by bad marketing tactics. At the least, improper use of pop-ups in conversion optimization can result in lower conversion rates. At the worst, it can cause your site to be blacklisted from search engines and all-but destroyed in terms of reputation.

In order to be sure that you don’t wind up on the black list, you need to be familiar with the best practices for pop-up conversion. The biggest key is to turn them from an intrusion into a useful interruption.

Here are some other best practices to keep in mind with pop-up and popover ads:

  • The best ones offer something valuable to the user

  • Offers should match their calls to action

  • More context means higher conversion rates

  • Headlines and offers should be crystal clear

  • Ads with personality are more interesting

  • If you use exit pop-ups, they need to be really big offers

  • Timing and placement are everything

Offer Value

When creating pop-up ads, you have to make sure that there is something of value for the user. Otherwise, what reason do they have to follow the action offered in the ad? If you don’t give them a reason to enter their email, such as a discount coupon, why would they bother? People want to know what’s in it for them. Make that simple to understand.

Be Clear

The biggest reason pop-up conversions fail is because they are unclear or too wordy. This is a short, attention-grabbing item. It needs to get to the point. Use simple headlines and make sure that your offer is explicitly clear so that a user knows exactly what they are getting. Conversions are far more successful when people feel like they’re winning, so give them the win with clarity.

Time and Place

Pop-ups can be used in all types of places on a website. The traditional entry pop-up is still popular, but it certainly isn’t the only option. Many websites are now using scroll-based ads that only pop up once a certain point in the page has been reached. Since there is a deeper level of engagement, these ads work more effectively in a lot of cases. They're also great for articles and blogs. However, they might not be ideal for e-commerce. In that case, a simple delayed pop-up or an interaction-based pop-up offering personalized experiences could be much more effective.

The Top Tools for 2020

Thanks to the increasing trend of pop-up conversion, there are a number of great tools available today. It's going to be easy to find plenty of options. Plus, with the tools below, increasing conversions with pop-ups will be practically guaranteed.

Wise Pops

WisePops offers an average conversion rate of 5%, based on millions of different pop-ups. The tool integrates with a number of platforms and applications, and is focused on offering easy use with targeted ads designed to deliver results. This platform has worked hard to create ads that get results without creating an intrusion, and has a variety of other features and tools, as well.


This tool includes a unique dynamic text feature, allowing marketers to target things like location, weather conditions, and other user-specific and personal details. It also allows simultaneous overlays for different targeted audiences, allowing for a little A/B testing while the ads are working their magic. The tool also includes 40 criteria for advanced segmentation and a number of other pop-up tools and features. For those who want all the bells and whistles in pop-up conversion tools, this one delivers.

Hello Bar

For those who want to have a really minimalist look, Hello Bar offers a less intrusive option that still makes quite an impression. This horizontal bar appears at the top of the page and can be set to scroll along with the user as they navigate through the page, staying out of the way but at the forefront of their mind at all times. This can be tailored to a number of specific goals, including things like email list growth, marketing promotions, coupons and discounts, and even social media likes.


Along with a full suite of other conversion optimization tools, OptinMonster offers total control and premium features for popup and popover ads, including targeted ads, display rules, and a variety of styles of ads. This solution may have a higher price tag than most, but it offers a comprehensive collection of marketing tools and resources for all types of conversion optimization for websites, landing pages, and e-commerce shops.

How to Choose

Any of the tools on this list will serve marketing efforts well when it comes to pop-up conversion optimization. Of course, there are definitely some considerations that each business or marketer has to take into account in order to make sure that they choose the best solution for their needs. Look first at the types of pop-ups out there and which ones will be the focus of the marketing campaign.

Some of the tools available will offer a variety of ad solutions and choices. Others, like Hello Bar that was discussed above, will cater to a specific type of popover or pop-up marketing. It’s important to have at least an idea of what type of ads will be most effective for your industry and business needs before choosing the various tools that will be used to implement and monitor the marketing strategy.

You can consider your budget, but never choose tools based on price alone. Obviously, a small business with a limited budget would fare better with a tool that is more cost-effective or even free, while a large corporation might be able to pick and choose what they want regardless of cost. You can factor your budget into your decision, so long as it’s only a tool to help you narrow down the best programs within your price range.

There are a number of considerations that may or may not cross your mind when it comes to pop-up conversion tools, but what matters is that every tool matches the needs of the business or marketing strategy set forth. As long as that is the goal, the right tool will be easy to find. Feel free to try a few out and see which ones meet your needs before making a commitment or paying for tools.

Important Pop-Up Design Tips

Even the best tools can’t guarantee that pop-ups will convert. It is still important to know how to design them and provide an attention-grabbing tool that will get the best results. Regardless of the type of pop-ups being used or which tools are employed, here are some important tips and rules to keep in mind.

  • Have a mobile pop-up design. Just as you need a separate website for mobile and desktop use, you also need separate marketing efforts. There’s nothing worse than opening a desktop pop-up on mobile and not being able to reach the “x” to navigate away. It’s the fastest way to get users to leave.

  • Make sure you choose the right pop-ups. For example, sidebar pop-ups might not translate as well to mobile or may take up too much screen space. Think about how you can make them welcome distractions rather than intrusive annoyances. The biggest goal is to enhance, not degrade, the user experience.

  • Use visuals in your pop-ups. In studies, it has shown that more often than not, people are more likely to convert with pop-ups that include a picture than those that don’t. Of course, this is unless the industry or business reflects a need for a simple, direct, or smaller pop-up that gets to the point. In most cases, pictures help.

  • Make closing options actionable and easy to find. Building trust means giving people what they need, even if that’s a way to navigate out of your pop-up without converting right away. The only thing worse than an intrusive pop-up is one that you can’t get rid of, after all. Give people an easy way out, but make sure they never want to take it.

  • Use contrasting colors to get attention and encourage action. If people can’t clearly see your message, they aren’t going to be able to do what you’re asking of them. Wherever the focus should be, use a contrasting color to direct people to take action appropriately.


Pop-up conversion is a great resource for digital marketers and brands today. While nuisance pop-ups are definitely a thing of the past, smart pop-up and popover marketing can change the game for so many brands when used effectively. It’s important to get to know the process and best practices before diving in, which is why this guide covered a variety of information to assist in getting even the most novice user started with pop-up conversion and pop-up marketing.

Pop-ups can be used to drive sales, build email lists, generate leads, improve the customer experience, and so much more. It is less about how you use them, though, and how well they are used, in creating a solid marketing strategy. Utilize A/B testing with variations to ensure that you make the right decisions regarding pop-up marketing and conversion optimization.


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About the author

Jo Molloy

Jo Molloy

Jo is passionate about brand storytelling and loves to write. A self-confessed chocoholic and TV addict, she is always on the look out for the latest trends and hopes to share her knowledge and enlighten you with her insightful blogs.

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