E-commerce Onsite Marketing

What is a Popup? Definition, Meaning, Features

There’s a little confusion surrounding the word “popup,” and its meaning and effectiveness in advertising. Many are even unsure about the spelling (“popup” or “pop up?”)

If you’re one of them, keep reading. We’re here to clear up any confusion.

In this guide you’ll find:

What is a popup?

A popup is a window that appears (“pops up”) while browsing a website. They are used for many reasons, including discounts and offers, lead generation, and content promotion.

There are several popup types, including banners, full-screen, and exit-intent. The business’s goals will determine what type of popup they select. For example, a banner popup might be more effective for event promotion while exit-intent popups generate more leads.

The word “popup” is routinely spelled as “pop up,” “pop-up,” and “popup.” Confusing, right? Do they even all mean the same thing? Let’s see.

Pop up is a verb that describes the action of appearing suddenly.

Pop-up is used both as an adjective and a noun to refer to website popups.

Popup is the most popular spelling used to refer to a website popup, despite being grammatically incorrect.

The bottom line is, though, that people use all three versions to refer to website popup windows. We’ll stick with popup here.

Popups: Pros and cons

Popups often get a bad rap because many websites deploy them without considering user experience (UX). This has unfairly tainted their reputation. But the truth is, they can improve the user experience when designed and deployed with the customer in mind.

Here are the pros and cons of using website popups.


  • Generate leads
  • Promote content
  • Reduce cart abandonment
  • Convert more website visitors
  • Share awareness of events, promos, and sales
  • Drive traffic to landing and product pages


  • Reputation of being annoying
  • Can be blocked with special software

As you can see, user-oriented popups have a lot of potential for both your business and your customers.

Features of the best popups

By “best,” we mean popups that are relevant to the user experience and have some value for them. As a result, they generally deliver the best results for the business. It’s win-win!

They share some of these features:

  • Valuable. There are many ways that businesses can make popups valuable to customers; a common way is to provide a discount, free access to content, or other perks.
  • SEO-friendly. The SEO compatibility ensures that they have no effect on a website’s ranking in Google.
  • Non-intrusive. Businesses can tailor when and how often a visitor sees a popup to reduce intrusiveness and prioritise the UX. 
  • Visually consistent. They can be designed using the website’s color palette and style to look like a natural extension of the site.
  • Have engaging copy. Effective popups engage site visitors with copy that aligns with the brand’s personality.
  • Contain branded images. Interesting, original images related to the content of the popup catch the viewer’s attention.

Creating website popups with these features is easy with the right software. You can build custom popups or customize pre-made templates, which is easy even for people with no previous experience.

If you want to see examples of the best popups, check out the next section.

Tip: These 11 Popup Software Apps have the best reviews from online businesses.

Here are five great examples of popups from online businesses. These examples demonstrate best practices and convert hundreds, and even thousands, of visitors every month.

1. Spin-to-Win, Faguo

Faguo popup example

“Want to win a pair of exclusive sneakers? Just type in your name and email.”

That’s the basic idea behind this creative popup by Faguo. By having people participate in the giveaway, this French fashion brand has engaged over 48,000 visitors so far and improved lead generation. This example shows how a popup can creatively engage customers.

Best features:

  • Clear value. The prize is valuable to Faguo’s website visitors, who are interested in quality fashion.
  • Gamification. Visitors can engage with this popup, which increases their interest.
  • Short, clear copy. The popup explains the contest with just the headline and one line of text, so visitors can understand the idea in seconds.
  • Original, quality visual. Faguo is an environmentally conscious brand, so the visual is a reminder of the brand values.
  • Encouragement to participate. The popup mentions the previous winner and the fact that prizes are awarded weekly, which can increase credibility and encourage people to engage with the popup.

Faguo generates 5,000+ quality leads every month with website popups. For more ideas on how to create such engaging popups check out the Faguo Case Study

2. Product Survey, Asphalte

Asphalte exit intent popup

This example demonstrates how useful popups can be for collecting customer feedback for Shopify stores. Asphalte relies on customer feedback to create their fashion collections, so this popup was designed for visitors to share their thoughts.

Best features:

  • Attention-grabbing headline. The headline grabs our attention and uses humor.
  • Engaging copy. The creative text in this popup sounds like a conversation rather than a marketing message, which aligns with the brand personality.
  • Brand-inspired visual. The background image is used only in this popup and features one of Asphalte’s models.
  • Brilliant call to action. Asphalte put a creative spin on the call-to-action phrase by making it sound like a continuation of the conversation.
  • Easy to close. The closing button is clearly visible, so visitors can easily close the popup and continue browsing.

Besides collecting valuable product feedback, this creative popup generates 4,000+ leads for Asphalte every month. Get more details here: Asphalte Case Study

3. Newsletter Signup, Matisse

Matisse popup

This popup is a great example of a non-intrusive website popup. As you can see, it’s displayed as a banner, so it allows visitors to continue browsing the website. This popup type is also great for promoting sales and special offers because most visitors will see it.

Best features:

  • Non-intrusive. The popup sits at the bottom of the browser window, so it doesn’t block visitors from viewing the website.
  • Easy to close. Visitors can easily close the popup if they choose, which is in line with the best UX design practices.
  • Headline with clear value. A large font ensures that the visitors understand how they can benefit from signing up for the newsletter.
  • Description of the benefits. To encourage visitors to sign up, the popup promises notifications about new arrivals, special discounts, and other perks.
  • Design consistency with the website. This popup is created with the brand’s fonts and colors, so it fits the website.

Displaying popups in targeted situations can greatly improve conversions. Take a look at these 5 Best Popup Display Scenarios to get more signups.

4. Cart Abandonment, The CE Shop

The CE shop popup

A cart abandonment popup is a good way to convince visitors to complete purchases before they leave. This simple popup, for example, reduces order cost with a 20% discount. This is a great cart recovery tactic, considering that discounts are a top reason to buy for 41% of customers.

Best features:

  • Easy to benefit. Visitors just need to remember the short discount code or copy it to reduce the cost of the order.
  • Concise, clear text. A brief and simple text will help to get your message across in several seconds, which is important especially when visitors are trying to leave
  • Benefit-packed headline. The headline clearly states the benefit for the visitors (saving 20% off the products in the cart).
  • Straightforward design. The overall design is simple, which, along with a readable font makes the text clearly visible.

5. Newsletter Signup, Ecco Bella

Ecco Bella popup

If you’re thinking about creating a sales-oriented popup, check out this example. Ecco Bella’s example gives away a discount and a free consultation, which is a great incentive to convert website visitors. It is attention-grabbing, friendly, and generous.

Best features:

  • Intriguing headline. “Love free stuff?” is a good option to attract the attention of website visitors and make them read more.
  • Value-packed copy. The text lists the many free gifts that visitors can get for subscribing to the newsletter.
  • Easy access to the benefits. There’s only one field to fill out, which makes it super easy to take advantage of the offer.
  • Text written in first person. The popup copy sounds like a conversation thanks to the use of first person speech, which could increase clicks by 90%.
  • Striking, action-oriented button text. The action-packed “Send me my free gifts” call-to-action button complements the popup text beautifully.
See examples of popups from successful businesses: Email popup examples

Summary: What is a popup?

Popups are multifunctional marketing tools that empower brands to interact with website visitors, drive traffic to specific pages, get email subscribers, and achieve various other goals. When designed with the best practices in mind, a website popup can improve the experience for website visitors.

We hope this guide cleared any misunderstandings you might have had about popups. If you feel like trying them for free for your website, sign up for Wisepops. It’s a beginner-friendly popup software you can use to create popups like the examples in this article.

Pawel Lawrowski Pawel is a Head of Growth at Wisepops and a Lead Generation&Pop-up Expert.

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