Do those popup cta's on websites these days ever work?

Hi, Just out of curiosity; there happen to be milions of websites last years with popups while you are reading the article, like ‘want to chat?’, ‘want the newsletter’. Some of them pretty brutal just covering the full page, or even multiple big popups at the same time even covering eachother.

If I’m at one of those websites and see them coming it doesn’t matter to me if I was interested in the first place, I leave immediately and never come back. I’m sure everybody find this things annoying. So I am really suprised even more websitebuilders are using this aggressive technique nowadays.
Even if I was interested for a product or whatever before, if a website uses this agressive technique disturbing me when just trying to read an article I instantly loose interest.

Do these popups ever work on people? Is there proof? Are there really people clicking on those Call to action popups? Is there any reason why more sites are using this technique to get subscribers and customers?

I really wonder.

The only time they are “useful” is when you are on a subscription site and it is either reminding you that you have to pay to view the content or that you have only a limited number of views before you need to pay to view more (some newspapers and almost all scientific research sites.)

Otherwise they are as annoying as hell. Especially the ones that load on every page turn. That just shows me their website people don’t know what they are doing and if they can’t handle that, how do I know they can handle transaction security.

Just as annoying are the ones that popup as you roll over the back button. Yeah, If I wanted your stuff, I’d have ordered it. You don’t have to remind me to look again. In fact, it’s one more reason not to look again.


I don’t mind a more subtle slide-in sort of pop-up that actually contains something potential useful and relevant to why I visited the website — just as long as it’s not obnoxious and that it permanently goes away once I get rid of it. The things that cover half the screen as I’m reading an article are enough to make me just leave, however.

What I hate more than anything, though, are the click bait ads from places like Outbrain and Taboola that try to disguise themselves as actual editorial material. I absolutely don’t mind a few legitimate ads since that’s how websites pay for themselves (like on GDF forum). But when I visit sites that ask me to turn off my ad blocker and then proceed to flood my browser with crap are sites that I just don’t visit again.

They do work! … kind of. It’s more of a marketing technique. Marketers use it to track clicks, views, and feed their data to push sells and grow their contact list. Even if you don’t click on it, that’s information in itself that goes into their marketing analysis.

“Working for marketers” at the annoyance of their customers isn’t what I’d consider “working.” If I get annoyed enough, I’ll go fill a shopping cart with an odd assortment of stuff, then leave the site.

Clickbait trash has gotten more and more absurd. Youtube is full of it too.

They work, but they can only make the marketers and visitors happy when there is really value being exchanged. Asking for an email address for a newsletter if I’m visiting your site for the first time ever is ridiculous. There are more sophisticated tracking methods to show it after you’ve read the 3rd or 5th article on the site.

I tend to do the “let’s chat” ones in case there is a real person at the other end. I usually ask them about their life and stay totally off-topic. It’s kind of fascinating how many people are employed to be gatekeepers at websites.

I think they all fail because the visitor isn’t really getting much value from them. Most people don’t want to commit to a weekly email or a conversation with a customer service rep if they’ve only been on the site for a few minutes. The timing is totally off.

Thanks for your reaction guys! Some interesting thoughts here too.

Like @PrintDriver and @SurfPark I’m not really convinced about this. Why measure if your cta’s/popups give visitors a bad feeling causing them to leave and never come back? That seems the opposite of what marketeers want to accomplish. Than you indeed know they didn’t like the popup, but didn’t they know that upfront? Or am I missing your point here? Sorry if I do.

I agree. Although I can’t remember one site on the moment which had enough value to me to stay after those large popups.

Yes, I believe I’m thinking the same. I understand company websites need CTA’s and some of them are okay and fair. I use CTAs for my company website too. But I place them inline, so they scroll within the content (mostly not even inside the article), and only one max per page. And always try to make my content, like blogs, high value with a lot of information which (I hope) people really want to read and not just thin air click bait. I believe in the long run that’s a much better way to get customers than fooling visitors with clickbait and air. People aren’t crazy.

I was actually curious if there would be some research to state it actually works. But so far I have the impression there was one site once deciding having large popups that cover everything up is a great idea. And maybe more sites just followed blindly after it thinking this is the new big thing or something and so it should improve conversion rates?

But I’m still open to people thinking differently about this. Maybe I’m wrong and although irritating, it works in some cases.
Thanks for your responses!

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