Tasting my own medicine with popups

By Ilana Davis

A few weeks ago I wrote about how long you should wait before having a popup appear on your page. I recommended a time limit, however, most email marketing platforms fire off either on page load or something like 30 seconds.

Another great option is on-scroll or even on exit.

It’s no secret that I despise popups. I find them frustrating beyond belief and I NEVER read them.

However, I do often recommend to clients they could try a popup and see if it helps with a goal they are trying to achieve. I figured, if I recommend it all the time because sometimes it does work, I should have a taste of my own medicine and give it a shot.

So I tested unscientifically what would happen if I had a popup on my site on-scroll and on exit.

Let me tell you, it didn’t matter. They both sucked!

Ok, I’m sure you’re going to tell me it’s because I didn’t have a freebie. You’re right.

Or you’re going to tell me my copy wasn’t good and that’s why they didn’t sign up. You’re probably right there too.

But here’s the thing.

Every person who saw the popup, regardless if it was on scroll half-way down the page, on scroll 100% down the page or on exit they all had the same experience.

As soon as the pop up appeared, they closed it.

Within a few seconds, most viewers closed the popup. A few let it sit there for a bit before closing. But they all closed it eventually.

What does this mean for you?


For me, popups aren’t my thing and I don’t intend to have them on my site.

Does that mean you shouldn’t either or that I would advise you against popups all together?


Each site is different. Each industry is different. Each piece of content is different. There are so many variables that advising you to omit popups as a whole would be irresponsible of me.

Here’s the interesting thing though. Spend some time on your site. Click through your pages, scroll through it like you’re reading through it and see how many times your popup appears.

The popup on my husband’s site drives me absolutely insane. Every page I’m on there’s a popup after about 5 seconds. No matter how many times I close it, as soon as I go to a new page, it’s there again. pulls hair out

What works for you may not work for me and vice-versa.

If you were to ask me if you should have a popup, my response will always be


If you’re concerned about what it’s like to browse through your site or your current popups, you might consider buying my Website Review. I consider experiences just like this and can diagnose dozens of other problems that impact revenue on Shopify & Squarespace sites.


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