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Last updated Wed Aug 02 2023

How to Create an Eye-Catching Video Popup (No Coding Required)

People spend almost 50% of their online time watching videos, so we marketing folks also use them a lot. But getting people to actually watch them is not easy…

One of the best ways to do that:

Video popups.

In this post, we’ll explain how to create engaging video popups according to the latest UX requirements.

In this post:

What is a video popup?

A video popup is a popup window that contains a video that can be watched without leaving the website. In this sense, a video popup becomes “an onsite video player.” Video popups are great for promoting new products, driving traffic to web pages, and other marketing goals.

video popup

How to Create Video Popups

Here’s how to make a video popup.

First and foremost, you need a popup app. We'll use Wisepops in this tutorial—it's a top-rated (5 stars on Shopify) and is made for sharing video popups.

Or see examples of campaigns made with Wisepops.

Step 1: Find the right platform

Before creating the video popup itself, you need to host it. Here are the best options you can check out.


option for hosting videos

Yes, your viewers are already using YouTubeso it’s a great one to choose. But know YouTube’s primary goal is to display ads, so it can be difficult to remove ads or suggestions at the end of the video.


one more option for hosting

Vimeo is definitely a more elegant solution for your videos. They don’t suggest other videos to watch at the end of your videos and they don’t display ads. Their pricing is pretty affordable, too.

Plus, their player looks very nice, especially in a video popup.


another option for hosting videos

Wistia is the most business-friendly tool of the three platforms. Built with SMBs in mind, it offers a few options that will make your life easier:

  • The player is easy to customize

  • It lets you redirect viewers or collect emails at the end of the video

  • It provides advanced stats about your viewers

All in all, if you can afford the price ($99/month for the pro version), Wistia is probably an even better option than Vimeo.

If you'd like to make marketing videos for popups by yourself, we recommend PlayPlay.

This app solves the problem of video creation by giving you hundreds of ready-made templates, a simple drag-and-drop editor, and customization options to make videos truly branded.

Step 2: Adjust video settings

Once your video is up, it’s time to adjust its settings before you embed it in your popup.

✅ Size

We’ll start with the ideal size for desktops.

In North America, 93% of the screens have a resolution greater than or equal to 1280 x 800 (that’s the size of a Macbook Air’s screen). So we’ll take this value as a reference.

As a rule of thumb, we consider that a popup video should take at least 50% of the screen–if it takes more, it’s too intrusive for the visitor. If it takes less, it might be too small on large screens. So for a desktop popup, with the 1280 x 800 resolution in mind, your video’s width should be:

1280 / 2 = 640 pixels. With a 16/9 ratio, your video’s height will be 376 pixels.

With these settings, here’s what the video will look like on a 1280 x 800 screen 👇

A video popup viewed on a 1280 x 800 pixels screen

And on a 1920 x 1080 screen (the second most popular screen resolution):

A video popup viewed on a 1920 x 1080 pixels screen

We’ll use the same methodology for mobile devices.

In North America, 99% of the screens are larger than 320 x 569. On mobile, it’s OK to take a larger share of the screen, so instead of 50%, we’ll take 90% of the screen’s width. We end up with a size of 288 pixels x 169 pixels.

This is what a video with these settings looks like on a Samsung S9+ 👇

A video pop-up displayed on a mobile device

And this is what the same video looks like on an older phone, the iPhone 6:

video pop-up displayed on a mobile device

✅ Autoplay

Autoplay or not autoplay, that’s the question.

Fortunately, you don’t have to answer that question for mobile devices. Autoplay simply doesn’t work on phones and tablets. So if you’re designing a mobile video popup, don’t be surprised if the video doesn’t start automatically.

Still, the question remains for desktops. An update in browsers will help you decide: most navigators now mute the videos when autoplay is activated. In other words, it’s fine to activate autoplay if your video can be viewed without the sound, but it’s a no go if your viewers need the audio to fully enjoy your video content.

✅ Hide video recommendations (YouTube only)

If you decided to go with YouTube to host your video, you can deactivate recommendations at the end of the video. They could drive your visitors away from your website once the video is over.

To save some time, we recommend this tool that lets you adjust this kind of settings without having to edit YouTube embed code manually 👇

A screenshot of Codegena's YouTube Embed Code Generator

Step 3: Find the right popup timing

If finding the right timing for a pop-up is difficult for you, then feel free to display it on landing (that’s what most of our customers do).

Let’s take this example from Exito, the leading online retailer in Columbia. Their marketing team produced a video ad for Mother’s Day. To maximize views, they displayed it to all visitors landing on their homepage on the said day:

A video popup created to celebrate Mother's Day displayed on Exito.com

If your video will speak only to a limited audience, or if you think that your priority is for visitors to visit your website and then see the video, you can choose to display it on exit.

This is what the NGO Humanity & Inclusion is doing.

They’re displaying this video popup before visitors leave their website to promote a video series and collect email addresses.

Humanity & Inclusion's exit video popup

Step 4: Adjust video frequency settings

We recommend that you display only once per visitor instead, or if you want it to appear more than once, make sure to space out displays over time.

For example, in Wisepops, you can set your frequency like that: every five days and three times to every visitor.


Step 5: Customize the design

Let’s talk about the design of your video pop-up itself now.

Recommendation #1: Use an overlay

Watching a video on top of a website might be more comfortable with a lightbox popup effect that dims the background and help your visitors focus on the video popup.

Here’s a good example from Builbox. The opacity of the overlay makes it easier for visitors to watch the video in the popup.

Buildbox's lightbox video modal

Recommendation #2: Add user-friendly closing options

Not all your visitors will appreciate getting welcomed with a modal. Make sure to include visible and easy-to-click closing options.

Here’s a good example on Justrun.ca. They added a large closing X in the upper right corner.

Justrun.ca's video pop-up featuring a large closing X

Recommendation #3: Use your website colors and fonts

Some websites use video pop-ups to display ads. That’s the sad truth.

To help your visitors recognize that the video was produced by your company and is not a third-party ad, one of the best strategies is to design a lightbox that matches your brand colors and font family.

Here’s a video popup example from Comet Meetings. They included their logo, some brand patterns, and reused their company’s family font.

A video overlay on Comet Meetings' website

Step 6: Create a mobile version of your video popup

Google has a set of rules for mobile interstitials.

In short, you have three options to comply with these guidelines:

  • Display your popup on the second page the user views on your website

  • Make the popup smaller so that it doesn’t take more than 30% of the screen height

  • Use a call-to-action displayed in a corner of your website to trigger the popup (called a sticky tab)

More useful resources

If you’d like to learn more about popups in general or create other types:

Video popups: wrap-up

And we’re done!

We’ve covered the 6 essential steps involved in the creation of a video popup.

Now it’s time to create your own!

These step-by-step guides will help:

Pawel Lawrowski

Pawel is the Head of Growth at Wisepops and an expert in lead generation, popups, and onsite marketing.

With over a decade of experience in digital marketing, he has both build marketing teams from scratch and led strategic business growth projects.

Pawel has worked with countless online businesses on marketing strategies and is now sharing his knowledge on the Wisepops blog.