Conversion rate optimization

All You Need to Know About Exit Intent (and a Bit More)

The exit intent technology allows you to detect when a visitor is about to exit.
It’s the technology used to trigger exit-intent popups.
Cool, isn’t it? Let’s see how it works and how you can make the most of it.

How does exit-intent work?

Exit intent detection relies on mouse cursor tracking. When a visitor is about to close the page she’s on, she has to move her mouse upwards to reach for the close option.
The exit intent script detects this mouse movement and sends a signal triggering the popup to appear. Here’s an example from Leesa.

an exit popup on
An exit popup on

The exit intent technology relies on javascript.
An important thing to notice is that as it analyzes the user’s mouse movements, it doesn’t work on touch-screen devices such as mobiles and tablets (you’ll find a workaround for these devices at the end of the article).

Why is using exit-intent so interesting?

Relying on exit intent to trigger popups is particularly effective.
First, because they allow you to display a message to your users just before they leave your website. As such, they don’t interrupt your visitor’s navigation and don’t have any negative impact on your user experience.
Second, because they provide a last chance to reach your visitors before they navigate away from your website.

How can exit popups help you generate more sales?

Curious to know more about the superpowers of exit-intent popups?
Here are 3 examples of exit popups who can help you supercharge your website.

Collect emails

Exit popups are particularly powerful to collect emails. Early 2017, we studied thousands of email popups created by our customers. We discovered that popups triggered on exit collect 5% more emails on average than those displayed on landing.
But we’re not the only ones who noticed the amazing results of exit popups to build email lists:

  • Jane Friedman, a blogger, was able to double her email list with a single exit intent popup (link to the study)
  • Brian from Backlinko also doubled the number of email addresses he was collecting by adding an exit popup (link to the article)
  • Omnisend, an email solution, tried adding an exit popup to the website of one of their clients. They increased their client’s email list by 66% in one week only (link to the case study)

Here’s a quick example from one of our clients, bookbaby.
an exit popup displayed during the checkout process

Retain abandoned carts:

According to SalesCycle, up to 74% of carts are abandoned on e-commerce websites in North America. Exit popups provide a simple option to retain those abandoned carts.
Here’s an example on The popup offers a free shipping coupon to convince visitors to complete their purchase.
a cart abandonment popup example

And another one from

cart abandonment popup example 2

This kind of popup can help recover as many as 20% of abandoned carts. Let’s do the maths together.

  • Let’s say your website receives 30,000 visitors/month.
  • We multiply that figure by the average add to cart rate in the US (source: Monetate Quarterly Study), 8.32%, we get 2,486 carts.
  • 75% will be abandoned. So you’re left with 624 confirmed purchases.
  • If you recover 20% of your abandoned carts, you’ll save 374 additional purchases.

Impressive isn’t it?

Ask for feedback

When you’re collecting feedback, timing is key.
Ask too early and the user won’t have anything to say. Ask too late and she/he might be gone already.
Using exit intent allows you to catch your visitors at the right moment. The user is about to leave so she/he knows what navigating on your website is and she/he can still provide feedback.
One of our templates for feedback collection.

a popup survey displayed on exit

On average our customers get a response rate of about 5%.

How to create a desktop exit intent popup

  1. Sign up on WisePops
  2. Pick a template or start from scratch
  3. In the display scenario section of your popup, under triggers, select Exit

How to create a mobile exit intent popup

As we mentioned earlier in the article, exit intent detection doesn’t work on mobile devices. But there are interesting alternatives:

  • Using scroll percentage. Once the user has seen more than 80% of your page, we can consider he/she will probably move to a next page quite soon.
  • Using scroll up detection. You can consider that scrolling up is a sign of exit intent.
  • Using “X pages viewed”. You can also simply display your popup once the user has seen X pages on your website or spent X minutes on it.

All these options are available in WisePops.

a mobile exit popup
A mobile popup triggered on scroll on GQ.

And voila!

Greg D'Aboville Greg is Head of Growth at WisePops.

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