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Battle of the Tech Nerds: Black Friday Pop-Ups

Posted on: 24/11/2016

Pop-ups can be annoying. You know those little boxes that appear on your screen uninvited, whilst you’re trying to browse a website? And yet they are an excellent way for businesses to draw attention to their latest offer or increase newsletter subscriptions.
 
With Black Friday weekend approaching, the internet is rife with them, which has led to some heated discussions in the Dewsign studio. In a bid to get to the bottom of the debate, two of our Developers - Marco and Jacob - have gone head to head in a pop-up battle. 
 

 
So, what exactly are pop-ups?
 
J: They are boxes that interfere with your website interaction, distracting you from what you’re trying to look at. They jump out at you, usually trying to get information from you. In my experience, they are never built in a way that actually works for the user.
 
M: There are lots of different types of pop-ups, but they can be a good way for a website owner to collect leads and generate sales. When you’ve got a busy website with lots of content and calls to action, it is a way to draw attention to something valuable to the visitor that they’d otherwise miss. 
 
Why do clients usually ask for them on their websites?
 
J: When a client asks for a pop-up, I tend to advise against it. More often than not, they are wanting to push something on people that’s not relevant to them. 
 
M: A client will see a lot of traffic on their website, but have no idea who the users are. A pop-up can be a good way of finding out this information, and I’ve seen some incredible results.
 
You clearly disagree on the matter. Marco, why do you think pop-ups are a good idea?
 
M: Don’t get me wrong, I have found pop-ups to be annoying too. But that’s because, like many things on the internet, they can be badly designed and overused. It really depends on the purpose of the pop-up. I’ve been on lots of sites where I’ve consumed content that I’ve found interesting, and then been asked to sign up for similar content. It’s worked for me. 
 
And if someone wants a pop-up for Black Friday, what would you recommend?
 
M: Creating a decent pop-up isn’t a five minute job; you should go there with caution. It needs to look good on a tablet or mobile device, across different browsers and for varying user journeys. If you don’t know your current bounce rate or how many people sign up for your newsletter every day, you shouldn’t be using a pop-up to generate quick sales. There needs to be the right strategy and agenda behind it first, so you can measure the pop-up’s effectiveness. 
 
Jacob, what alternatives would you recommend?
 
J: Well, you never see the likes of Amazon or Apple using pop-ups. In the run up to Black Friday, they have big banners at the top of their pages promoting upcoming offers. If you’re looking to increase newsletter subscriptions, you could go for a footer slider that subtly hovers at the bottom of your page and is less obtrusive than a pop-up.
 

 
So there you have it - two rather differing opinions on pop-ups. What’s clear from both Marco and Jacob is that you need to have a digital strategy and think carefully about how the user interacts with your website. Rather than just putting up a quick pop-up, work with a digital partner to develop the right technology and long-term planning to grow your business effectively. 
 
If you're interested in finding out more about digital strategy and taking your business to the next level, email us on [email protected].