How to create popups with high CTR
13 September 2017

Popups, pop-up windows, notifications, web forms. Whatever you call them, the idea stays the same – it’s something that pops up at you on the screen when you are peacefully shopping online. In this article, however, we will focus on popups from a creator's point of view, and specifically – on how to increase the popup's conversion rate and make them work better for eCommerce websites.

Goal #1 – draw attention 

Consumers used to the fact that popups pop at them everywhere and consider them a kind of evil. In most cases, all the interaction with a pop-up notification comes down to finding that tiny little “X” in the corner to make it disappear. This takes just a couple of seconds. And a marketer’s goal here is to make a visitor notice something during this two seconds that would distract them from looking for the “X”. And something that would entice them to click on the ‘call-to-action’ button.

Try faces

The human brain is very good at recognizing faces, and not only those of real people. In fact, this is the result of evolution – those species who could not distinguish friends from enemies by their face, become extinct a long time ago. That's why we see a "face" on a bus, on the Moon, or when looking at text-based emoticons – such as O_o.

This can be used for our purpose – just replace a dull picture on a popup with a person's face, and visitors will notice it more, CTR will be growing. But our ability to recognize faces may work in tricky ways – both attracting and repelling visitors and prospects. You need to know your audience to make the right choice.

Faces on popups

Use symbols and familiar objects

Our brain is very good at recognizing symbols that are associated with something vital or something that brings out emotions (traffic light, coins, wrapped presents, gestures, etc.). Familiar images and visual metaphors (e.g. sea, the sun, cartoon characters, 18+, and well-known auto brands) are also very well “read” by people. This can be used to attract attention. But again, it is necessary to take into account the preferences and habits of your target audience. If a coin symbol is understandable by almost everyone, street signs may not work on people that don’t drive, for example.


Image vs text

This is no secret that visual information is perceived and remembered much better than text, and makes up the lion's share (90%) of all data that enters the brain. So everything that you can express in visual, should be expressed exactly in that way.

Visual information is processed by a human brain 60,000 times faster than text.

Spots of contrast

The human brain is trying to filter out unnecessary information. It ignores everything that is not distinguished from the general multi-colored flow of information. Therefore, your new popup, or rather the part of it that should attract attention, must be the most “contrast”, or visually distinguishable from the surrounding content.


Pointing arrows and people looking in the same direction

Do you know that if three people stand on the street and look up at the sky, then very soon a crowd will gather around them that will also peer into the sky in the hope of seeing something interesting? People are naturally drawn to look in the direction where someone else is looking. Or where an arrow points, for that matter. (After all, someone put it there for a reason, right?)

Use that knowledge to draw some more attention to the call-to-action on your popups:

Want to captivate visitors with great popups? Try Convead now!

People looking up

Goal #2 – spark interest

In most cases we act automatically during the day, using our unconscious mind. This is not bad at all, as it works faster allowing us to do dozens of minor things in a minute and save a lot of time and mental energy for creative work and important decisions. For that kind of thinking our "reptilian brain" is responsible, which we inherited from our distant ancestors. As its main function is to keep us alive and unharmed, the reptilian brain usually fears everything just in case and warns us of any potential threats.

The conscious mind, or rational thinking, works much slower. It’s rather lazy. To activate it, you need to give your brain something really interesting and important to think about, the mental food that the reptilian brain can not “digest”. 

Our point here is that you shouldn’t activate your customers’ conscious thinking. Usually, this is not good for business at all. ;)

For generating sales in most niches (no matter products or services), emotional arguments will work better than rational. This means that the conscious part of your customers' mind, always weighing up the pros and cons, is better not to be awaken when you are trying to sell goods such as clothes, cosmetics ("You’ll look 10 years younger!"), sport goods, electronics ("I want a new smartphone!"), products for children (let’s take a hat with ears… how rational it can be?), food, etc.

Well, in fact, almost everything fits in here, except, probably, coil wagon and oil deposits.

Now, how can we use that?

Address the Pain

The main purpose of the reptilian brain is to avoid pain. When your popup vividly shows the pain or demonstrates an easy way to avoid it – the reptilian brain instantly believes it. For example, you can apply the comparison method "before and after." Toothpaste suppliers can use this advice literally. Imagine a popup showing a person suffering from a toothache and then next to him – a happy one eating an ice cream. Nothing more to explain here.

Just a reflex

Surprisingly, in many cases, it’s enough to make a button or a popup image brighter, and the CTR increases. Aggressive colors attract more attention as the brain reads information faster and takes action reflexively, without much thinking. You can find other explanations of this phenomenon, but a fact is a fact – red buttons get more clicks than yellow or green ones.


Remember about egocentricity

Our reptilian brain cares mostly about its precious self. That means that on your popups you should "talk" about your customers rather than about your company or products. One of the best techniques is to choose an image where your product can be seen from the customer point of view as if they already own it.

Fear is your friend

Fear is a strong emotion that activates the reptilian brain to its maximum capacity. The feeling of urgency, as well as the fear of shortage and lack of time, make the purchase more desired, even if there are no objective reasons for the hurry ("There are only 3 days left", "Today only", "Only 2 days left to take advantage of 50% off"). Sometimes just a crowd of people on the photo helps dramatically.


One popup – one message

Here is a bad example: say, we offer a 10% discount on fur coats on a popup and immediately mention free shipping and also Sunday discounts for pensioners. Most likely a customer won’t read it at all and simply get scared off.

 You have a lot of interesting offers? Excellent! Make several popups of various types and show them at different times to different groups of visitors - the effect will be much stronger.

Easy-to-read text

Clear message, short phrases, one specific offer — that is our goal. The reptile brain is a lazy guy, and it is not going to make an effort to solve riddles without extreme necessity. Where is the pleasure in meditating on popups, after all?

Social proof

Show someone who has already benefited from your offer.

Let’s take, for example, one store providing products for fitness and training. Their target audience are women who want to lose some weight. The marketer decided to collect emails of visitors in exchange for an ebook with recommendations on losing weight. So he put on a popup photos of 2 girls — one was thin, well-shaped, and the other was not (yet). The image clearly demonstrated the results one could achieve after downloading the ebook.

Crystal-clear benefit

Don’t make people guess what benefit they can get out of from your offering in the future. Let’s compare the sentences in the table below. Which column do you like most?  

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Let’s summarize

Usually, a pop-up notification can capture only a couple of seconds of a visitor's attention. And this attention will be rather casual. The simpler, clearer and more specific your message is the more chances you have to get the desired reaction.

One popup – one message, with a simple and clear benefit for customers. The image, text, visual design – everything should work for one idea. People simply do not have the time and energy to decipher complicated sentences – they automatically click the “X” with no regret.

Try different approaches, run A/B tests on your popups and analyze the results: what works well and what doesn't quite hit the point. You can also try marketing tools that will help you achieve excellent results faster – such as Convead app for eCommerce.

Wishing you the highest conversions and sales growth! 

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