Conversion rate optimization

4 Popup Mistakes That Will Hurt Your Holiday Sales

Let’s be honest about something:
In spite of their bad reputation, popups do work.

And I don’t say this just because popups is what we do. There’s plenty of data out there to prove the point as well.
And if you’ve used popups on your site before, then you know first-hand how well they convert visitors into leads.
But here’s the trick, we’re about to enter the holiday shopping season.
It’s a time when your shoppers will be in a rush.
They’ll frantically scout the web looking for coupons, discounts, and other offers…
They’ll get easily irritated…

And so, they’ll react to your popups in an entirely different way.
A popup they’d usually act on might now cause them to abandon your site.
An offer they’d love to avail at any other time of the year could drive them away.
So, you should ensure that you’ve optimized your popup campaigns for the holiday shopping.
And in this post, I’ll show you the 4 most common popup mistakes that will hurt your holiday sales.
So, let’s do it.

Mistake #1. Using Full Page Overlays

Tell me:
What’s the biggest challenge you face with popups?
If you’re like most online retailers, then your answer will probably be to get visitors to notice your offer.
After all, they’re so used to them so much that they close your popups without thinking, right?
An obvious solution to this problem is to cover the entire screen with your offer. By doing so, you’ll get your visitors’ undivided attention, without having to rely on a headline or other elements to achieve it.
And rightly so.

But during the holiday season, when your visitors are in a rush, a full-screen display might be a bit too much.
You might make a person trying to shop in your store feel like as if you’re forcing the offer or a lead magnet on them.
A solution: Keep your holiday season popups small. Make sure they don’t take more than half of the person’s screen.
If you want to use overlay to separate your popup from the rest of the site, make sure the Opacity isn’t reduced to zero so that visitors will still be able to see what’s around the popup.
Then, instead of relying on the size to grab a person’s attention, optimize your headline, display scenarios, visuals, and calls to action to achieve the same effect.

Mistake #2. Showing the Popup at a Wrong Time

You know:
When it comes to using popups to collect visitors’ emails or increase your sales nothing is more important than timing.
You can write the most engaging headline, but if you display a popup too soon, you’re going to annoy visitors who haven’t had the time to learn more about you, and build up an initial trust in your store.
And if you schedule a too long delay, then they might be set to show after a visitor’s left the site.

So how can you know exactly when to display a popup?
Luckily, there are a couple of ways.

Analyze your last year’s holiday shopping data to find out how long, on average, visitors spent on your site. Then, set the display delay at about 50% – 60% of this time. This way, you’ll avoid scheduling the popup to show after a person’s could have moved to another site.

If you’re launching campaigns that will show popups only on specific pages, conduct a similar research but focus on time spent on that page. And then, set the popup to display before that time is out.

Use other triggers to activate a popup. Time-delay isn’t the only way to show a popup. You could also target specific behavior, like scrolling to a specific element on a page or clicking on a particular link.
And by focusing on behavior, you can ensure that a person’s ready to see your popup when you display it.
Ready to take your popup campaigns to the next level? Learn more about Wisepop’s powerful display scenarios for online stores.

Mistake #3. Presenting an Irrelevant Offer

Look, it goes without saying:
Your popup is only as good as your offer.
If you show a weak or irrelevant deal, then it doesn’t matter if it came on screen at the right time, it’ll still fail to persuade visitors to act.
On the other hand, show a relevant offer they find useful, and you’ll hook them straight away.
So, your challenge is to, first, identify what information the holiday shoppers will find exciting and valuable, and then, create popups to communicate it to them.
Luckily, you can use insight into what offers consumers find the most valuable during the shopping season to plan your campaigns:

  • Discounts and coupons. Needless to say that holiday buyers  will look for bargains and discounts.
  • Price reductions. According to Google’s data, 91% of shoppers will consider a low price as an important in the decision to buy.
  • Free shipping. After all, it’s the second-most-important factor influencing the online buying decision.

However, they won’t be interested in:

  • Lead magnets,
  • Content recommendations,
  • Surveys,
  • Notifications (apart from those relevant to the holiday season, of course).

Mistake #4. Making It Too Hard to Close the Popup

We’ve all heard it:

  • “Popups are annoying…”
  • “Disruptive…”
  • “Trying…”

But I’m sure you’ll agree, they’re more annoying or disturbing when you can’t close them.
Just imagine a visitor frantically looking for a way to click off a popup they found irrelevant. It doesn’t take much to guess how they’re feeling, and in turn, what they think of your offer.
Although it might be tempting to hide or delay the close button, don’t.
At best, visitors will consider this a cheap tactic designed to force them into your offer.
Make sure that your visitors can decide whether they want to view the popup or click it off:

  • Place the “X” button in the top right corner of your popup.
  • Allow them to click the popup by clicking outside of it.
  • And consider including a second call to action to provide a negative option visitors could use to decide whether they want to act on your offer or not.



The holiday season is the most exciting time of the year for any online retailer.
At the same time, it poses many challenges to anyone selling products online.
And one of them is displaying offers that won’t drive holiday shoppers away.
Hopefully, this list will help you identify if you’re not making any potential mistakes that could hurt your holiday sales.
Ready to take your popup campaigns to the next level? Learn more about Wisepop’s powerful display scenarios for online stores.

Pawel Grabowski Pawel is an SEO and content marketing consultant working exclusively with SaaS brands.

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