Pop-ups have long been a mainstay tactic for online advertisers looking to grab the attention of prospective buyers. And while they’ve worked for many marketers, they’ve also annoyed their fair share of consumers. In fact, pop ups have become such a nuisance to some that Google has taken steps to punish advertisers who use them. Is it enough to get marketers to stop using pop-ups altogether? The insights shared here can help you decide.
Search engines—primarily Google—have been on a mission to enhance the experience for those who use their search engine. Ads that interrupt searches or tease consumers with promises of access by clicking through (i.e. pop-ups) conflict with this mission.
So, Google is trying to strike a balance that minimizes interruptive advertising. Is it fair to marketers who rely on pop-ups to generate leads, and ultimately, sales? Maybe not. However, an old adage, “the customer comes first,” is in play here, and pop-up advocates are caught between their desire to interrupt and Google’s quest for a perfect user experience.
However, while it’s a fact that Google is tipping its algorithm away from pop-up users, they’re not abandoning advocates altogether. Instead, they’re tweaking the system so that the most egregious users—those who annoy the heck out of searchers—aren’t rewarded for their efforts.
For an interesting perspective on Google pop-up policy changes, check here.
While pop-up use is being discouraged, Google recognizes that not all are created equal. So they’ve created some guidelines for advertisers to consider if pop-ups are currently part of their strategy.
First, they need to understand that the pop-ups being targeted are ones that completely interrupt or derail the search experience. These are typically ones that obscure content, or withhold it until the user clicks on a box. They also include ads that take up a majority of the screen, for instance, as users scroll through content on their mobile device.
But pop-ups that take up a reasonable amount of space, according to Google, are acceptable, which leaves a lot up to interpretation at this point. One rule of thumb you can use, is to put yourself in the searchers shoes. Ask yourself if your pop-up would annoy you, or if your search experience would be compromised by it. If the answer is yes, steer clear or reinvent. To further quantify what reasonable means, Google has provided a loose rule of thumb indicating that a pop-up that occupies a smaller upper or lower part of a screen, it would be deemed acceptable.
What to Do
As a marketer, the decision to use pop-up ads rests with you. But it’s also a decision you should consider for the short- and long-term. If you believe pop-ups can work for you and that you can abide by the rules that keep them acceptable, then go for it. But if you feel you can’t, or that consumer trends will continue toward fewer pop-ups on search engines, perhaps now is the time to revise your strategy.
Only you can make the decision to stay with or away from pop-ups. By considering the information provided here, you can make sure the decision is an informed one. For more insights into the effectiveness of pop-ups, check here.