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Ask anybody what the most annoying thing about the internet is, and they’ll probably say pop-ups. Everybody has an adblocker installed so they can avoid those irritating ads that get in your way when you’re trying to use a site. In the early days of the internet they were everywhere, then some genius gave us the ability to block them. So if nobody is seeing them then your company shouldn’t be spending money on them, right? Surprisingly, a lot of companies are still spending a good amount of their marketing budget on pop-up ads, but do they work?

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Do Users Really Hate Ads?

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe everybody else is fine with pop-ups and they welcome them, so they’re still working. That’s not the case. In fact, 68 percent of internet users said they would rather a site was blocked from search results if it has too many adverts on there. In 2016 alone, there was a 30 percent surge in the use of adblockers. In fact, the majority of users don’t actually see pop-up ads anymore because most browsers already have blockers installed so surely they can’t be working?

How Do Users Interact?

Things get a bit more tricky when you ask this question. When pop-ups are used in the right way, they’re actually pretty effective. If you see a pop-up for a random product or website, you’re not massively likely to click on it, but the same goes for sidebar ads. When you get down to it, even though click-through rates are low for both, pop-ups get about 2 percent more responses, probably because it’s right there in your face.

The area where pop-ups come into their own is for internal purposes. Email list opt-ins and subscriptions have been shown to massively increase if you have a pop-up that encourages people to do it. This list has loads of great pop-up email subscription plugins that you should definitely be using on your site. It’ll help you to increase email subscriptions which is a great way of marketing directly to your customers.

So, overall users hate pop-up ads but in certain circumstances, they do really work.

Should You Use Them?

You’re probably thinking that I haven’t been that helpful so far and you’re still left wondering whether it’s worth spending a chunk of your marketing budget on pop-up ads or whether you should save it for something tried and tested like content marketing. The first thing to say is that you should ditch the original pop-up style that forces an uninvited advert into the face of your visitor as soon as they visit the site. This will just annoy people. However, the lightbox format whereby a pop-up will appear if they choose to hover over a certain ad is much more effective.

Another great way to use it is to advertise premium content. If you’re just advertising random things, they aren’t likely to be interested. However, if they’re already an avid user of your website and you’ve got premium content to offer them, that is something that they will be likely to respond to.

Pop-up ads are pretty annoying and littering your site with them is only going to turn people off, but there are actually certain ways that you can still use them to your advantage.