Clever Popup Ad? No Thanks.

So these days, I’m seeing more “clever” popups when visiting various websites. For example, do a search, see a result, click to visit.. and then before any content is shown, I’m hit with some annoying popup ad for whatever thing the site is trying to push.

What happens

When a popup happens, I click the back button so fast you can hear a small thunderclap as I return to the search results to find something better. And by better, I mean any relevant site that doesn’t pop some annoying advertisement up in my face.

For example, when writing my books and articles, I gather references and resources to include in posts and pages. In the process of doing this, I often find what looks like an awesome/useful resource, but as soon as I arrive on the page — BAM — popup ad in my face. So it’s click, goodbye as I move on to the next resource. I don’t even care what was on the page beneath the popup, it doesn’t matter because the last thing I want to do is send my readers to a site that so blatantly devalues their time. There always is something better.

The same is true when looking for YouTube videos — I won’t use any video that includes some annoying/irrelevant advertisement. I do this because I care about my audience and want to keep the focus 100% on content, not tricks or gimmicks or other tactics.

Popup ads = garbage

I never thought I would be posting on this topic, as popup ads were for a long time generally understood to be what they are: trashy, greasy, pathetic and desperate. Popup ads are equivalent to getting a salesperson up in your grill when you go to the store. Somewhere along the way, many site owners seem to have forgotten (or never knew in the first place) that popup ads are horrible and annoying.

So this post is just to remind people, or reinforce the idea that popping stuff up in your visitor’s face is almost always a bad idea. Especially if it’s an advertisement. If I am visiting your store, or website, the last thing on earth I want to see is an advertisement pushed up in my grill. If it’s on a website, I leave. If it’s in a store, you get to hear about in real time. And then I leave.

Pros & cons

So why are so many site owners choosing to popup their junk in your face immediately or within a few seconds of visiting? I reckon it’s because they read somewhere, or were somehow influenced to believe, that it’s a good idea. Like, “hey, maybe a good way to improve the quality of my site and get more customers is to push stuff in their face as soon as they arrive.” Or maybe something like, “I don’t care how many people I annoy, I think its worth it to get more people to sign up or do the things.”

Honestly, I don’t know what people are thinking when they decide to put popup ads on their site, perhaps a pros/cons list will help to clarify things. First, here are the pros:

  • PRO – maybe get more people to do the thing

..and the cons:

  • CON – annoy visitors
  • CON – lose visitors
  • CON – lose credibility
  • CON – lose respect
  • CON – increase bounce rate
  • CON – waste time and energy
  • CON – cheapen the perceived value of your site

Does that help? Maybe. But I think that people who want to put popups on their site are going to do it regardless of how many people turn around and leave, complain, mock, or whatever else. All I can do is report my own experience and hope that people are listening.