The Problem with Pop-Ups

As public relations professionals, we often become so passionate about our clients and work that we can’t wait to find some way to share it with the masses. From television to the blogosphere, we are always looking for a new medium to share information. Unfortunately, our goal to gain readership and increase awareness can often cause us to place our content in the wrong areas. The case in point: pop-ups.
We are all familiar with websites that, upon visiting their homepage, load a pop-up asking us to join an email subscription list or like an external Facebook page. We are even more familiar with, after scoffing and feeling annoyed, clicking ‘no thank-you’ or leaving the site all together. While the point of having the content appear in this fashion is to drive consumers to content, it often goes too far, making the consumer less inclined to interact. Here are a few issues I have with pop-up content:
  • Pop-ups force the user to commit, via an email subscription or Facebook like, before they are even able to engage in the content. Let the user see what you have to offer before shoving a commitment at them.
  • When users are greeted with a pop-up, it makes them more likely to leave the site before reading anything. While your goal was to commit them to receiving more content, you push them away from your brand completely.
  • Pop-ups are normally associated with things like spam and computer viruses. You never want your brand to be associated with things that can bring harm to consumers – even their computers!
In a social media savvy world, of course we want users to sign up for email subscriptions and follow our social media accounts, but there are other ways to achieve this goal:
  • Include links to social media profiles in a sidebar or after a post. Including clickable images after content allows the user to make an informed decision instead of being coerced.
  • If you posts contain a lot of images, consider adding a ‘Pin It” button feature so that users can easily share your content to Pinterest. If you have one, be sure to add a link to your Pinterest account as well!
How do you feel about pop-up content on websites? Share your thoughts!
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