Bad Popover Design

Popovers That Display Immediately – Does This Strategy Make Any Sense Whatsoever? (Hint: No)

In a world where people doing insane things is more and more common, we are hard pressed to think of a more insane marketing strategy than to show a full page popover IMMEDIATELY after a user arrives at a website. It’s like punching them in face.

The number of websites that utilize this strategy is actually scary. In almost all cases, the mistake is compounded because there is no Persuasive Free Offer (PFO) attached to the popover. It’s just some lame attempt to get you to join their email newsletter. Ugh!

This strategy makes no sense for several reasons:

  • Instant Interruption. The user has no idea if this content they came for is useful to them because they are interrupted right away.
  • Swat So Fast. The user has no reason to read the popover; they swat it away immediately to read the content they came for.
  • No Rapport. If the user does happen to read the popover, they have no reason to trust the site and little if any incentive to hand over their email.

If this strategy is so crazy, why is it so common? Well, there might be some rationale:

  • It is possible that companies display the popover right way to maximize visibility and catch the attention of visitors that bounce right away.
  • It is possible the popover is connected to ads elsewhere on the site and they want to expose the user to as many impressions as possible.
  • It is possible that companies care only about the number of email addresses they collect, not the quality of the prospects.

Our experience indicates that interrupting the user right away with a full page popover does not create the desired outcome and generally serves to insult the visitor and put them on the defensive so they are less likely to engage. We avoid this approach and advise our clients to do the same.