When it comes to popups, most people think that to convert more visitors, you just need to display a powerful message.

Catch their attention with a killer headline.

Make the case for signing up to your list.

And offer a lead magnet visitors can’t refuse.

But is that really all?


You see:

Visuals affect your visitors’ willingness to avail of your offer as much as other elements on the popup.

However, most of the time, we just don’t realize their influence.

And so, in this post, I’ll show you five clever ways to use visuals to increase your popups’ conversions.

Ready? Let’s not waste time then.

#1. Use Images to Direct Visitors’ Attention to Your Key Message

You know:

We can’t resist following the gaze of other people.

Just think about it. If, during a conversation a person you’re speaking looks at something, do you follow their gaze?

Most likely you do.

You’re curious. You want to know what has caught their attention.

But this behavior happens not just when we interact with others but also when we just observe or look at them. Even if they are nothing more but images on a screen.

For instance, the eye-tracking study that analyzed viewers’ reaction to a Sunsilk ad discovered that most people have followed the woman’s sight and looked at the product too.

However, users ignored it when the ad featured an image of a woman looking ahead.

how images increase popup conversions

(image source)

You can target the same behavior on a popup.

If you’re featuring images of people on a popup, have them look towards your headline of any other element you want a visitor to see.

If you have them to look elsewhere, you’ll risk distracting a visitor from noticing whatever you think would convince them to sing up.

In this example, the woman’s gaze at the horizon makes a visitor look in that direction too, omitting the sub-headline or the signup box.


Here’s another example where the image makes you look away from the popup, instead of reading its copy.


#2. When Offering a Lead Magnet or a Discount on Something Specific, Show It on a Popup

Sounds like common sense, right?

And yet…

How often do you see popups that feature an icon, a generic image or another visual irrelevant to the product?

Now, I can’t deny, using icons for eBooks or other lead magnets has its benefits. After all, we process symbols super-fast. In fact, on average, it takes us 150ms process it and 100ms to attach a meaning to it.

However, symbols offer no insight into what you’re really offering.

A download icon will immediately suggest a person that they’re getting a digital asset. But will it tell them anything else about it? Not really.

However, an image of the actual eBook’s cover will connect with the person. If they like the cover, they might consider getting the eBook.

Here’s an excellent example of a popup using this strategy. Instead of featuring an image of a bunch of people celebrating their victory in the contest, it shows the award. And the beautiful photography makes the notebook a really must-have, doesn’t it?


This is another great example of using product photos on popups. This popup informs of a new product arrival.

But instead of just showing the product, it presents it in context.

Look at gentle cues, the way the person’s dressed, where she’s at, and what she’s doing. They immediately help you create a mental image of who she is. And if this lifestyle relates to your aspirations… bingo, you’re most likely to click on the popup.


#3. Use a Video

You know:

Images or graphics aren’t the only visuals you could use on the popup.

In fact, adding videos to your popups could help you boost engagement beyond belief.

Why? Because, for one, videos engage visitors regarding of the category or product you use them for.

According to Treepodia, videos increase conversion rates across almost any industry.


Videos also build trust and help educate visitors.

Granted, most of these stats relate to movies on webpages. However, I’d image that they generate the same kind of engagement on popups too.

Coupled with a strong headline and a call to action that pushes the person on a path to conversion, videos can help stop visitors who leave your website or get them to consider buying your product.


#4. Display Photos with People

We’ve already discussed the effect images with people looking at crucial elements on your popup have on conversions.

But that’s not the only way photos with people help convert more visitors.

You know:

Just seeing a photo of actual person makes more people to trust your message more.

That’s what Medalia Art discovered when trying to improve their conversions. This online art dealer featured painted portrait of artists they represent on the site (which naturally tied in nicely with what they do).


However, when they replaced them with actual pictures, click-throughs to the artists’ portfolios increased by 95%!



In another test, replacing a generic phone icon on a contact page with a photo helped Jason Thompson from 33sticks increase the number of reach outs by 48%!



Why have images such an effect on conversions?

Because they help us connect emotionally with the other person.

We naturally seek an emotional connection with others. However, it’s hard to develop that connection with an icon, a painting or any other abstract graphic.

A photo, however, makes us connect at an instant, particularly if it shows the person’s face.

#5. Help Visitors Visualize the Outcome

You can’t question the motivational power of visualization.

Successful people like Oprah have used this technique to motivate themselves to achieve more and become the person they want to be.

In 1990 Jim Carrey, a then-struggling actor famously wrote himself a check for $10M. He dated the check for Thanksgiving 1995 and added in notes: “for acting services rendered.”

He then visualized the check every day and … BAM! By Thanksgiving 1995 his film fees reached twice the check amount.

True or not, the story shows that visualizing the outcome makes us more determined to get it.

And you know what, you could use this trait of our behavior to motivate people to act on your popup too.

How? By showing them the outcome of doing so.

For example, showcase the product you’re promoting being used in a situation your target audience aspires to.

I’ve already shown you earlier in this post how a seemingly innocent photo of a new product could communicate cues that speak to your audience’s aspirations.


Or show them the outcome of using the resource you’re promoting.

Here’s a negative example.

This popup promotes free advice on growing a WordPress site (I take it, the author means acquiring more traffic, leads, and customers).

But look at the image it shows:


Now, perhaps I miss some reference but to me, it has absolutely nothing to do with what’s being offered.


  • Pawel Grabowski