97% of pop-ups are dismissed on sight. And that’s the overall number so it’s skewed by high-converting pop-ups. The average pop-up is probably getting dismissed 99% of the time if not 100%. But your pop-ups don’t have to be another footnote in the 10-billion-page history of internet annoyances. You can get high conversions if you do them right.


Do you show a pop-up as soon as someone visits your site? It will be dismissed with a huge sigh of annoyance if the customer doesn’t run away immediately. Do you wait two and a half seconds to show a pop-up? It will also be dismissed.

Some people say you should wait five seconds. That’s also bad advice. You should wait as long as necessary. In fact, you should avoid time triggers altogether and only use scrolling triggers. Only show pop-ups after you get some engagement from the visitor.

There are the only two things you need for a high-converting pop-up:

1. Context, context, and context

2. A compelling offer


1. Context

A pop-up that fills the screen the moment a visitor accesses the site is not going to perform very well, if at all. These people barely know you. They don’t understand what you’re offering enough to know that you’re offering them the greatest deal of their lives.

Why are you offering visitors a discount on your homepage? Wait until the product page. Wait until they are reading the product description. At that point, a 10% discount would be a very welcome offer. The discount isn’t as compelling on the homepage. The customer will just dismiss the pop-up. A discount is only attractive if you’re interested in making a purchase in the first place. This is why the context of a pop-up is important.

The offer presented on your pop-up should be closely connected with whatever a visitor on your site is reading at that very moment. If your pop-up has nothing to do with whatever the visitor is viewing, the chances of success are low.

You should make an offer to the people most primed to accept it. Why should a customer sign up for your newsletter on the homepage? What value does something they’ve never seen hold to them? Let the customer read something you have written first. Once that’s done, signing up for a newsletter doesn’t seem like a daunting proposition anymore. They know what to expect.

Waiting may not be popular but it’s the right move. Sure, you may reach more people by triggering your pop-up as quickly as possible but many will dismiss it and those who act on it may not be the best quality leads. But once you have established some authority, people are less likely to dismiss you. You may collect fewer emails but they will be from people who are actually interested in what you have to offer, not people who sign up for everything and never check their emails anyway.

2. A compelling offer

This doesn’t need much explanation. The offer needs to be a good one with tangible benefits. Not some vague, “sign up for my newsletter which is just a thinly veiled advertisement blast” prompt. “Give me your email for a discount” is a much better offer. Just use better wording than “Give me your email for a discount.”