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"Should I use those annoying popups?"
Last Updated March 6th, 2014

The answer is YES!

And I tell you why in my new video.

But here’s the deal:

I know I’m going to get flak for this.

People are going to say things like:

“I never read websites with popups.”

“Derek, I hate your popup and I thought about unsubscribing”

And maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll get the “Tech-I-Hate-Marketing” people to flood my comments with other nonsensical diatribe that’s based off nothing other than their anecdotal experiences with popups and things their friends said.

But as you’ll see in the video, it doesn’t matter.

Because at the end of the day, if you’ve got an email list, and you want to grow it, you NEED a popup.

If you’ve got a business, and you want to increase revenue, you NEED a popup.

And if you’re concerned that it won’t work for you, you could bury your head in the sand and not use one…

…or you could just test it. Because that’s what a pro would do.

Now tell me how you really feel about popups on websites.

And most important: If you’ve got one of those silly friends who refuses to use them, just pass this video along to them. Or share it on social media.

(Side note: If you’re going to come at me with a bunch of hate, please watch my video on “How I Deal With Haters” first).

P.S. I tell you why I like the color purple at the end of the video.

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159 comments Leave a comment

First time I’ve seen this site, landed here from a search on how to get rid of the ultra-annoying full-page popups CNN has started to put on every story. Immediately I get a large popup, in front of a conversation about the wonder of popups.

All I got from this thread is a mental bookmark to instantly close the page if I ever by accident wind up here again on any subject whatsoever. I might wind up doing the same for CNN. Yeah, popups work — to alienate a reader forever.


I do not stay on a page that immediately slaps me in the face with a popup.
I google the topic that had me interested enough to click on the link.
Find a link without popups.
So much information in the web about social triggers.


I hate your pop up. 🙂

Haydrion Rayel

I have thohs plugins too, but I will not use them on my website, reason why is simple .. I really hate it when you are try to read a post on some website and 2 seconds later a popup shows up in the middle of the post with .. like us on facebook. My attention to read the post will be gone in no time

    Haydrion Rayel

    and because I hate popups, I can’t even spell ..
    post above is Those popups not thohs


Popups and email marketing is designed to pray on people with low intelligence.


Look at all these douchebags talking about getting ready to implement their popup shit! Say goodbye to whatever tiny readership you have now, because as soon as you implement that crap, you’ll lose whoever you have plus any prospective members!

I use AdBlock which blocks all of that crap. I never see the shit you people shove down visitors hard drives 🙂

If you use ABP, you’re only two clicks away from permanently eliminating any popup crap, overlay shit or anything else these blog drones want to inflict upon you. Search for Ad Block Plus (free) and say goodbye to these idiotic annoyances and anything else you don’t want to see on a web page! Personally, I block everything but the article I’m reading, including that floating nav bar shit, right column crap and all social media “share” shit!

With ABP, click, click, poof! All annoying shit gone forever!


Please don’t.

Instead you should consider writing really great engaging content that people want to hear more about and will subscribe anyway.

Please, don’t be that site.


I can’t say that pop ups don’t work. According to these studies, I guess they must, right?

But I almost never even see what the pop up is trying to sell me. I am too busy looking for that microscopic X. And if the pop up seems extra flashy, I don’t even bother with the X. I just navigate the hell out of there.

Where are these people the pop ups actually work on? I have yet to meet one.

Sylviane Nuccio

Hi Derek,

Great point and I agree with you 100%.

The reason why I found your post is that I’m about to turn on my first pop up in a couple of days, and I decided to do some research and see what people had to say about popups.

I know there’s lots of controversy on the subject.

The first post I landed on was a post from Copyblogger from someone who said having even received hate mails because of her pop up to the point of taking it down.

Now, I don’t care who they are, but I don’t want to do business with anyone sending hate mail to anybody. So that alone would not make me turn my pop up off.

I will be writing my own blog post about this very interesting and rather hot topic. Either way, more and more people do get pop ups on their blog.


Rachel R.

I don’t know about anyone else here, but I’ve been using the internet — yes, as a READER — pretty much since there was an internet to use. It annoys the crap out of me if there are multiple popups, a popup I can’t close (that’s the worst!), or (sometimes) if there’s a popup that appears at a really inconvenient time (generally just as the page finally finished loading and I just started to read).

But I don’t mind a single, well-placed popup that I can simply close when I decide I don’t want to see it. (What annoys me far more is those blasted bars people are now putting across the bottom of their screens that can’t be removed, and take up a solid chunk of real estate on my widescreen monitor.) I have my own popup set up so it should only appear for any given user once every thirty days. I’m honestly sure if I would even REMEMBER by the end of thirty days whether I’d seen a popup on a particular site before, so I don’t think that’s overly much.

Weiss Fox

The real answer is no!!!!

Please for the love of all things good, stop putting these things in your websites. They absolutely destroy mobile functionality. And I cannot tell you how many sites I wont visit any more because of the implementation of this garbage! It only serves to piss of your client base every single time they visit your page.

If you don’t understand than you clearly haven’t been browsing long enough to make an informed decision as to whether the implementation is a good idea or not.

You should never and I mean never force your prospective clients into registration popups, any seamless browsing they may have been doing during their current session is abruptly stopped with your message, and I can tell you that I wont register with sites that use the tactic.

Marketing on the internet has become so bloated with popups and pleas by every company that any good surfer will simply ignore anything that is presented to them. And trust me annoying your customer base doesn’t help anyone! Annoyance can easily turn into rage after enough pestering. (just look at the other guys post, he is clearly pissed to no end, and yes, these popup practices are certainly to blame)

If you have any desire to market on the internet than you need to realize a few things about it’s real purpose and functionality. It is a destination and not a path. People go onto the internet with purpose, this purpose is to find what they are looking for as fast as the can possibly achieve it. This of course doesn’t apply to social media and the like, but you should pay attention to the fact that big companies don’t market on social media.

Why don’t large companies market on social media? Because it”s not worth the money! And there are so many scam ads that nobody pays any attention to them any longer.

If your not part of the entertainment then you are part of the problem!
The internet is a giant entertainment box for the masses, and by doing anything that might offend or break that entertainment you simply become the enemy of the masses.

If you do want to use these popups you need to implement a cookie to allow your visitors to [ignore forever] as an option, this way you still have the traffic, and they may very well subscribe after a few visits, seeing as how there not being asked directly any longer. (it’s a fair compromise)

It is very likely that the companies who provide such marketing services are behind this guys video, internet marketing is definitely a money grab for the marketing companies, and they will prey on anyone not in the know! (this guy really stinks of it!)

Jesse Best

Currently testing with some popups-to test their use
Ive noticed a lot of the big guys using this HUUUUGE popups recently on screen-and the price from the company has been crazy per month

Have you actually seen growth from this new popup system or is it all aff pop up software for all these bloggers?

Jody Heath

That’s some kind of classic rant….. “deleting further shit form u” 🙂


Pop ups are like begging they are desperate. I NEVER remain at a site that tries to force me to stay i just get really pissed off. I notice only sites that have those pop ups are ones that i hate and NEVER good sites NEVER NEVER NEVER can u imagine if TIFFFANY’s or some other high end site had such a pop up …god damn it WORSe THE WORST are those sites which hold u hostage u click the back arrow and u cant leave so u must close out the whole fucking window which might have other shit u love i HATE this it is THE most horrible thing to do if my life depended on it i would NEVER NEVER go to that site again not for all the money in the universe I HATE being manipulated and controlled as i told u Derek take a weekend off or go seek some therapy for u man got it all wrongand ur puffy under shirt in the AFTER image makes u look like some creature from another planet u have NOT progressed from the BEFORE u have definitely slid down the slopes if u really believe that AFTER makes u look like some weathy successful person the first….could be… second reminds me of when i worked in the bargain basement as a teenager as sales clerk and the guys who worked there all dressed just like your AFTER…i wouldnt follow any of your advice for anything and iam now deleting further shit form u.


    Your response seriously doesn’t make sense especially since Derek uses a popup on every page. If you have popup websites and will never go back to a website with popups, then why are you here on this website?


You can delay the popup with javascript and jquery. This is an example of why they say JavaScript regulates the behavour of your website. With javascript you can even make it so that it doesn’t pop up in Smart phones, but pops up on everything else. There’s a thing called Twitter bootstrap that you can copy and paste the code into your website and make it work. The instructions for how to do it are on the Twitter Bootstrap website. It’s a bit technical, so if you’re technically challenged, don’t expect it to be real easy. You could even make it popup over the sidebar so that it doesn’t interfere with the reading if someone is reading your content. Figuring out what works best with your users would be a real good split test project.


    And you can save asking the girl if she’ll sleep with you on the first date until the dessert rather than blurting it out over the entrées. That’s so much more classy, don’t you think?

    It doesn’t matter when you inflict a popup on your visitors. You’ll still be perceived as a jerk when you finally get around to acting like one.

charlotte crowder

fine fine, I’ll learn how to make pop ups. I noticed in my web builder that you can program your mouseovers based on the number of times you have passed over. this being the case, I imagine there must be a way to program the timing of your pop up so that it does not happen on page opening. those are the pop ups we all hate. when we can’t see the content because the pop up is blocking it. but if the pop up occured after enough time to get through the content had passed, perhapse when more time than is necessary to accomplish the page goal which could be an indicator the person is lost or looking for something, like where to subscribe. I have avoided popups because my adroids hate HATE light boxes. I cant see them, they cut off, I can’t fill out forms, the tiny x is difficult to click with a giant finger. but thats what mobile sites are for right? I just prefer to use my phone over a computer as you can tell by my lack of punctuation.

Rachel R.

It’s REALLY annoying when, like on this page, multiple things pop up from multiple directions, so you have to spend a good bit of time looking for “close” buttons and closing them all out before you can even view the content.

(FWIW, I did not watch your video OR subscribe to your list – or whatever it is your popup wanted me to do. I honestly didn’t even read the popup.)

At least if you’re going to have a pop-up, stick with ONE.


The little popup on this post on the right is just fine, but even that can be annoying for mobile browsers


If you are reading an article and half way a popup is showing, it is annoying and people are not waiting for that. Do you know how many people are using ad blockers to get rid of those social media popups with Like me on Facebook ? I am not use any ads, popups at all. I am fine with that, so does my visitors

Carma Spence

As a user, not a bit fan of pop-ups … especially when I’ve already signed up, like I have with you, Derek. That said, I’m not going to let that annoying pop-up get in the way of watching your fun, informative and engaging videos.

I use a pop-up on my site. I’m not 100% with its implementation, but I have noticed and up-tick in sign ups since using it. The key is to have a offer on that pop-up that is just as enticing and engaging to your target audience as the content they came for in the first place.



I feel more confident about using pop ups after watching your video. And also I feel more confident about valuing my own work. Why it only works when someone else tells you that? 🙂


Got a good understanding about pop ups. Thanks Derek.


I’m convinced.


Can anyone tell me which pop up for “recommended for you” thats used on here?

Ive read it somewhere but can I find it…..noooooo

Thanks in advance


Jason Swenk

I love how bold you are and you are absolutely correct Derek. I started using pop ups on my site a month ago and they are only triggered when your mouse leaves the main part of the page. This has resulted in a 50% increase per day in opt-ins. I also use a great plug-in called Magic Box. And no, I am not an affiliate. 🙂 Hope this helps and keep putting out great content.


I wasn’t even thinking about pop ups! but now I’m convinced that having email subscribers via pop up is an option.
But I like pop ups which open AFTER reading the content, this way, first reader is convinced that the content is his solution and second the pop, ups! and subscription is achieved.
I really like your videos but please include a podcast along with your videos for slow connections.


Ha, I must have missed your pop-ups… you must have hidden them well 😛 Sure, pop-ups for getting subscribers and keeping in touch with them sounds awesome 🙂 Now I just need to learn how to implement them… google here I come… or maybe you have an article/video I missed about it? If you do I wouldn’t mind getting another of your awesome links 😉

Alan Dingwall

Hey Derek. I haven’t launched my official blog yet, but when I do I want to use popups.

Now I’m on both sides of the fence when it comes to popups because sure they’re a great way to get new email subscribers and they certainly are a eye catcher; But I’ve seen some websites where they have lots of popups on like every new page I go on to.

That’s what the problem is. If a site uses one simple popup then that’s completely fine, but when it’s on every page I visit it gets really annoying.

There are many places where you can promote your email newsletter so there shouldn’t be more than 1 popup I feel.

You can promote it at the top of the side bar, at the top and bottom of your posts, you can promote it through a popup on the home page or through some sort of a system that stops more than 1 popup displying on screen after the person has gone off it and you can even put a landing page for your email newsletter on Facebook and Twitter.

So I can’t say that I love them and I can’t say that I hate them, but they can become a little annoying on sites like that. Especially if you have never been on the site before because it’s going to take a lot more than 1 blog post to get someone to signup to your newsletter.

I think that it can be a great tool though.

Fiona McAllister

I really need to get the email list going. So thanks for the guidelines and the suggestions for pop ups. And you are right. If I really like a website, a pop up is not an issue. It is only an issue from sites that are already full of flashy adds that distract, so I don’t use those anyway.

Adam Roseland

noticeably missing are any responses from Derek… why is that??

Nelson Portugal

I am an obedient so I will test whatever that successful people recommends then I will see how is it working for me and if I can make any twicks that will enhance results.

It’s funny because I know Derek is working really hard on having this article seen by the biggest player on the industries and I believe he’s doing a great job because now I see popups averywhere.

Good one!


Joy Healey

LOL – interesting video.

I would never “hate” at anyone who is clearly more experienced and successful than I am, but the way I feel about pop-ups when I ENTER a site is that they annoy me, because I want to read what is on the site and see if it is valuable enough that I will share my email address with that person.

Until I’ve had time to evaluate a new site, I just automatically close the pop-up. If they pass my “value” test, I will LOOK to subscribe. Actually the other point Derek – which is probably too technically difficult to solve – is that I’m already on your list, so have no need to sign up again, and I so wish I didn’t get those 🙂 But as I’ve no idea how to solve that one myself I’m forgiving of others doing it.

What I do instead is use an Exit Pop-up, i.e. when people leave the site. At least that’s the aim, sometimes the technical stuff lets me down! Sigh….

Thanks for sharing your valued experiences. (And I too LOVE purple!)


Considering that these popups work, yet everyone universally hates them, I’m forced to conclude that all people are morons.

I hate the popups, you hate the popups, everyone hates the popups. Websites that have the popups are proven convert more readers to mailing list subscribers than ones that don’t.

This, people, is why as the human race, we can’t have nice things.

At the risk of over-generalising web page popup mailing list sign up forms to the scale of global problems that affect all of humanity; this is why we can’t effectively tackle climate change. It’s hot and the shop is a long way from my house, so I turn on the air conditioning and get in my car DESPITE these actions making things worse for myself or my children in the future, or some other person in another place. I’m too stupid and lazy to do anything else right now, I’m just gonna drive, in comfort, to get my snacks.

This is why we can’t tackle corruption and poverty. Everyone has a family to support. Everyone wants to take a shortcut and get a free ride here and there. I’ve done it, if you haven’t done it you wish you did.

The thing I hate most of all is that I myself have filled in a popup mailing list signup form. I have driven 100 yards to the shop on a hot day with the air conditioning at full bore to buy a snack.

Don’t fill out the popup. Walk to the shop. Pay full price for the genuine item.

Be the good guy.

Barbara McKinney

The honest truth of the matter is that they are used because, as much as people hate them, they respond to them. Many website owners have seen an increase in sales after adding pop-ups. However, you need to be careful and use un-annoying tactics when integrating pop-ups in your site.


Personally I think popups can be a great tool for getting more email signups. We all certainly have different perspectives – some people hate them, some don’t mind them. I also think it depends on frequency (how often you see a popup on a certain website) and timing (whether it comes up right away or when visitor tries to leave website).

On my business website, I have my email signup popup set to appear within 30 seconds and only twice a day (for the same visitor using the same computer). I think after that it would lose effectiveness.

I also think that as long as you are offering something truly valuable to the visitor (free ebook, free coupon, etc.) then you should use popups. If anyone doesn’t like the popup then they can just close it.


Great video, Derek!
I also find pop ups annoying – especially when I’m already signed up to the mailing list, BUT, like you say, it’s not going to stop me from reading the content. I just close the pop up. Simple!
I’m definitely going to get a sign pop-up installed on my website – and soon!!
Keep up the great work!

Naveen Kulkarni

Great article Derek,
Popups were annoying to me until I stumbled upon the pop-up at your blog. It’s very subtle and not really annoying.

I think, the moment, people feel that they are seeing pop ups very often when they are on a particular blog, it turns ugly.

At social triggers, it’s all good so far 🙂


Jet, it’s very hard to take someones opinion seriously when they abbreviate simple words to a letter (you does not equal u) it just doesn’t have the same oomph!

Derek again, I watched this video to learn (obviously) and have to admit initially I was thinking “yeah, not a fan of pop ups” as I dived into my memory bank though, I came to the conclusion that even though they are inconvenient, it has never stopped me from going to a web page.

After all that I know agree with you.

Also, a quick question. Does this same scenario work on all websites? for an example, would it would it be appropriate to put on mine?

Link is above.

Thank you, and keep it up! 🙂 and Yes lavender with dark hair and fair skin is never a fail, but do the socks match???

Hashim Warren

Know what else works.


So, when will the cleavage appear on your opt-in form, Derek? You’re an idiot if you don’t at least test it.


yup popups are great and not annoying at all.


Derek, you are all about psychology studies and market research, that’s how you justify your message and why we adhere. In this particular case how do studies back up what you say with figures?


No…u are an idiot. I hate pop ups for me they demonstrate that a business is desperate. I do not deal with desperate people or businesses. Who know, i might have book marked their site but am in a rush and need to turn off my pc. This has happened and then i UNbookmark their site. Also i never UNsubscribe for i refuse to give any business more info on me. Capisce!

I am only a ‘hater’ (your word) b/c i am busy and most spam that reaches my inbox arrive over and over again never giving up and i know that anyone who spends their time pitching me some million $$$ formula and claim they are multi millionaires and if i buy their thing i too will be a multi millionaire but thing is multimillionaires do not spend time creating trashy looking squeeze pages pitching for stuff that works for $9.99 or $99.99 they having too much fun skiing or on the beach in Tahiti and getting their flunkies they can well afford to do the grunge work while they have their own personal banker who is investing well and making their money make more money. This is the way it is. You dont know this or u would not be working your ass off doing what you do. I admire people who work hard as you do what i do not admire is people who claim to have got rich off their ideas STILL pitching and claiming to be doing so as some sort of paying forward of helping humanity or some other Xrist like nonsense. Basta btw i already got this vid before u better get someone off Fiverr to keep track of who u send your vids too i realize there are only so many hrs in a day but surely u got five bucks a day to get some poor slob to keep spreadsheets or why not try some Filippino outsource company trust me they are far better than the Indian ones due to the fact that their accents are not difficult to understand compared to indians dont get me wrong i love indians almost married one but no one but me could understand him although highly intelligent and probably had better handle on the enlish language than i do because he alwayse beat me at Scrabble but his spoken english as is most Indians is just too difficult to understand go with the Filippinos great people and contact me for the cheapest and best to do a not so costly test drive for a month then u have al that time to stop with this silly stuff when u so rich already and trust me, life is much shorter than u can possibly imagine trust me u will remember my words soon enough. JET

    The FitJerk

    Not only are you trying to sound more important than you actually are, but the fact that you took an hour to write an essay on a site that actually uses pop-ups is a clear sign of your foolishness.

    And it seems you’re also a racist (seriously, what the fuck does the ethnicity of an outsourcing company have to do with pop ups?)

    …it’s too bad you daddy didn’t pull out in time.


Brilliant. Partner still not convinced so I went onto YouTube and showed him the selective attention test with the dancing gorilla. He didn’t notice it and now is sold ! Thanks for this as we are days away from launching our website.

Nikolay Sisoev

It all depends on your product.
If you sell porn and want to have your promotions stack in dummy’s eyes, then you MUST use pop-ups.

On the other hand, if your product is for intelligent users, the pop-up windows will get you the so called dead-soul subscribers, sheepish followers which you don’t really need. Such practice will deceive you, and hide from you the real number of your worthy followers.

From psychological point of view, pop-ups are seen as offensive to the visitors intelligence and tend to drive away the valuable part of the audience. Even worst – the intelligent reader sees such practice as a desperate action of a needy author or seller.
There are many other more intelligent and non-intrusive ways to drag your visitors attention to promotions and actions.


You should be proud of Social Triggers’ offering 🙂 You provide applicapable awesomeness and deliver it wearing an invisible purple tie – who else can say they do that!?

Mary Kathryn Johnson (@SayBumpandTweet)

It usually takes me at least three times visiting a site before I stop closing out the pop-ups and actually read them. By that time, I’ve consumed enough content that speaks to me, and I’m ready to sign up. Otherwise, I don’t go back, and don’t see the pop-up again.

Yes, I will add pop-ups to my new site, and maybe even to my original business site…never even considered that one.

Thanks Derek!

Chris @ Shared Appetite

I always thought pop-ups were going to be annoying to my readers and not work at all, but since using a pop-up to gain email subscribers, my newsletter list has grown six times it’s original size. I offer a free recipe eBook to all subscribers, which I also think has been helpful in getting people to sign up.

Tim W Roberts

Thanks Derek, this is a good video to show my partner who is not a big fan of pop-up’s…

I was so waiting for a pop-up immediately after your video… lol

Kelly @ The Nourishing Home

I always open your emails because you always have such great advice and I love your no-nonsense writing/speaking style. Yes, I HATE POP UPS, but I know you’re right, and it’s not because you personally like them, it’s because you’ve shown with stats their effectiveness, so thank you!

lawton chiles

Hey there, I agree that it makes 100% sense to use them even though people hate them, unless the info is something THEY WANT.

Which popup company do you use? Thanks!

John Nemo

“If you don’t use PopUps, you’re an idiot.”

I love how Derek is using his own strategy of CONTROVERSY to drive page views and engagement. Well done!

Also great content as always!

Connie Habash

I’m still not totally convinced, Derek, for my website…. but you made some good points to consider. Since I’ve created my website as a peaceful oasis of spirituality, away from advertisements and obvious marketing, I’d have to find what would be appropriate.

What I’m looking for is technical information on how to create the _right kind_ of pop ups… I like the little one you have in the bottom right corner that suggests other articles to read. That I don’t mind.

I also might consider a pop up that slowly fades in… a more gentle way of introducing my newsletter (and perhaps fades in on one side, rather than in the middle). So if anyone can point me in that direction, email me. Thanks!

I also


Hey Derek –

The answer to the stated question is definitely “No” – true pop-ups are significantly more distracting to users and are most often automatically blocked by browsers. You’re referring to overlays.

Normally, I am a lurker, but I am qualified to comment on this one, so bear with me.

Hysterics aside, in general I agree with the notion that overlay subscription boxes “work”. In an A/B test, you would expect a large subscription box, with lots of contrast, appearing out of nowhere, to catch your attention and ultimately harvest more email addresses than a smaller CTA or form field in a footer or side column. Pop-ups are excellent for building an email list, and have consistently proven to improve both the volume and percentage of sign-ups.

The problem with “subscription pop-ups (overlays) work” lies with the context. In certain specific, testable, instances – they absolutely do. But it’s not wise to make the assumption that they will always be successful, for reasons including:

• What’s your definition of success? Increase the volume of sign-ups? Reduce bounce? Conversion rate? Average Order Value? LTV?

• Do you have content that is MEANINGFUL to the user (relevant is not enough).

• Do you provide enough value to obtain the subscription, whether its a coupon, an information product, or something else? Some sites take it so far as requiring a user to sign-up (an intentional hurdle or friction point) if they want to continue. What you offer within the overlay matters just as much as the overlay itself.

• Pop-ups/Overlays are deemed “annoying” because you’ve interrupted a user’s progress towards a goal before you’ve aroused enough curiosity or demonstrated enough value to make it “worth it” to that user – what point is the homepage of your site in their journey? Is that an appropriate point? Would it work better on another page? Maybe at Point X, after they have viewed Y number of pages? Can you figure that point out?

• Most users don’t arrive at your site on the homepage, in fact, it’s been shown to be the least influential page on an entire site – while you don’t mention the homepage specifically, untrained people might make that assumption that you’re referring to it.

• Is your site littered with other CTA’s that distract the user from their objective? What’s the tipping point where someone decides it’s too promotional for their taste? Every user is unique and sees the world through their perceptions and filters, can you identify your target users and accurately design your site for them? It’s difficult to figure out the right solution and even more difficult to execute it. A one-size-fits-all solution just won’t work for everyone.

• If you have an overlay, is it designed in such a way to minimize the interruption to a user’s flow? Or is it designed to maximize interruption? Does your site have the means to test options and find a balance that says to a user “Yeah, you’re interrupting me, but you’re providing a lot of value and actually I am pretty interested in getting some more…” that must be the user’s perception, not yours.

• What about mobile? How will it display on mobile? Is your site set-up to handle it? What percentage of your traffic is from mobile? Does that matter? You can go deep here.

• An email list is a big responsibility – what if you have the best overlay of all-time, and collect millions of emails…and then sit on the list? You need a strategy moving forward to manage and nurture that list, otherwise it will damage a business’s credibility.

Subscription overlays are extremely powerful tools and generally work well for information product based businesses, well-niched businesses, companies with a loyal following, and companies that rely on an email list to sell. It feeds a positive cycle by offering added value.

However, completely disregarding people who complain about it being “annoying” (essentially labeling them as trolls) also disregards those who silently click away, never to return. There is an opportunity cost and you likely ARE losing some people forever. Some sites measure this with a simple bounce rate, and others use more advanced metrics. It’s important to note that this is separate from weeding out users who don’t fit your niche. I’m talking specifically about people in your niche, who are interested, but not yet interested enough to sign up and get turned off by CTA’s, never to return.

The question then becomes not “Do overlays work?, “ but “When do overlays work?” If you look at the scenario as a journey – your overlay becomes a barrier to progress in that journey. Have you aroused enough curiosity that will compel a visitor to sign-up, dive-in, and ask for more? Or are you rehashing known information?

The amount of curiosity that you’ve aroused in a visitor will determine whether the overlay is successful or not.

Distractions have actually been shown to improve recall in users – meaning your visitors are going to remember how they FELT, not the action they took (because of how memory works) and they will associate that emotion with your brand going forward. So, if you get it right, it’s going to work really well – your users will love you. And, if you mess it up, it’s going to be a spectacular failure.

As a UX Designer who uses cognitive psychology and split-testing on a daily basis, I appreciate both your and Ramit’s work, and am on both of your email lists (multiple times), but I feel the answer to your question “Should I use those annoying popups?” is MAYBE. It’s disingenuous at best to take such a strong stance with a one-size-fits-all approach.

It’s dangerous to spread the idea that everyone should do this. It leads to inaccurate conventional wisdom, joining other web design/conversion myths such as “no more than 3 clicks,” “users don’t scroll,” “make it intuitive” and “people are rational.”

A story – I work for a (public) parent company that owns a several large retailers in the same industry. We do not have a good reputation both within our industry and with our customers. Our marketing strategy involves forcing products on our customers, disregarding LTV, and focusing on short-term gains. This isn’t because we are “evil”, or mean to – but because people making decisions follow out-of-context rules-of-thumb such as “pop-ups work”. The people making the decisions think they are “providing value” by following web conventions. As a result, we have several scenarios that trigger overlays across all of our sites. It’s consistently complained about – in surveys and people who actually CALL in to complain. The thing is – it’s not just the overlay they’re complaining about. It’s their entire perception of our brand, products, and service. This is their tipping point. They liked our brand(s), and over time, they’ve become increasingly annoyed to the point where they now feel compelled to let us know about it. We’ve been able to figure out when we think it’s safe to fire overlays. But instead, they fire all over the place – including the home page for first-time visitors. So, the first impression of our site is a poorly designed, in-your-face, email subscription overlay.

Not surprisingly, our email list includes only tens of thousands of subscribers that produce conversion rates that hover around 0.0002% (combined – that’s an incredibly poor number). We have millions of unique visitors per month.

It’s a completely different scenario from a site and business model such as this – thus my point – should you use a subscription overlay? Well, it depends.

So, my real issue here is the delivery of the message. I’m disappointed that you didn’t qualify it more strongly, instead of using Ramit’s schtick – calling people IDIOTS – for not using an overlay, which you mistakenly called a pop-up. I understand why it’s done this way, but there is a lot of nuance that is glossed over and it’s a topic that deserves a deeper dive than can be provided in your quick-hitting, energetic videos.

The bottom line is this – the behavior you observe, is the behavior you designed for – whether intended or not.

I spent the time to point all of this out because I do appreciate your work, believe you have good intentions and would take this into consideration.

Thanks and best of luck.

    Bill Thomas

    Very well thought out comment, I appreciate the info!

    In Derek’s defense, nuanced intelligent content just doesn’t drive clicks. I submit Gawker and Huffpost as evidence. 😉

Rok Sprogar

I am currently getting quite a few weight-loss related visitors daily, but lately I have been struggling with getting them to subscribe to my mailing list. I have been trying different opt-in form positions, but so far, I could not get my subscription rate above 1%…obviously there could be a lot of reasons for this (for one thing, I know my value proposition needs some polishing), but just when I was about to give up trying to find the perfect spot, your email arrived in my inbox. Not only do you create great content, it looks like you’re timing it perfectly as well. 🙂 Well, I’ll try the popup and we’ll see what big of an “idiot” I really am.


You made some important distinctions, Derek. What I appreciated a lot was that if you are delivering second-rate content, a pop-up isn’t going to help much. But if your content is awesome, a pop-up will help tremendously.

I’m definitely going to do some testing with that concept to see the numbers for myself! Around March/April the numbers are usually settling down, so it’ll be a good test.

Thanks for the advice!



It’s not the single one shot popup that’s annoying but every time you visit some sites, in spite of cookies enabled and kept, you get challenged again and again. Some sites re-challenge you on any page you go to until you sign up.


    This! As popups are fine, it is annoying when the popup follows you around till you sign up. SocialTriggers and many other professional sites don’t have this issue. But smaller blogs tend to get irritating after some time.


Hey, good point.

It doesn’t hurt to admit, every now and then, that I’m an idiot! Why? Well, I didn’t like the popups others use.

Even you have a slider-kind-of-pop-up at the bottom AND a sorta-pop-up screen right away, when a visitor (like me) gets on your site, here.

Bottom line: recommend a few of them please – which pop-up-slider etc do you fancy?

José Silva

As always you drove the point home with the data on the ‘passing gorilla’ Great.


It can be a little annoying for your pop-up to appear when I’m already signed up. I came here from your emails to watch your videos and honestly, I don’t let that pop-up stop me from doing it because I know even before coming here that the video will be awesome.

The thing about the broken finger was hilarious by the way.

Kay Ross

OK, then I’m an idiot. No matter how much I like the content and products/services of someone I like and respect, I still hate hate hate popups. It feels like someone is screaming at me. And it annoys me that they interrupt me and waste my time when I’m trying to read the actual article or watch the video. I never click on links in popups. So because I hate hate hate popups, I refuse to inflict them on my readers. But hey, I’m not earning nearly as much money as Derek Halpern or Marie Forleo.


Great video Derek. I’ve got to say I HATE pop ups. It’s the last thing I want to see on a website when I’m browsing.
However, does it stop me browsing? I don’t think it does so I guess your point makes a lot of sense. I’ve heard a lot of anecdotal evidence that it pisses people off and hence, have never had them on my website. After listening to your vid, though, I might give it a try.


    I think for people like Derek, it makes a lot of sense to include pop-ups because you’re actually doing more of a favour to people than a disfavour to them. The pros of it outweighs the cons. But in any case, the very idea of pop-ups alone IS annoying as hell.


When I first saw the Social Triggers popup, not only did I sign up using it, I also told my web guy that I wanted one! people are way too sidebar blind these days.

As long as you don’t get the popup all the time, then they’re not really annoying.
I would only say they can be a pain in the butt when viewing stuff on mobile though I find

Star Khechara

Good advice as always Derek, you rock the lavender too! 😉

I’ve just invested in HybridConnect and will be setting up my popup/fly in today!

My previous business website (the micro-biz I told you about selling) had a pop up and it really did increase subscribers hugely and no one ever complained.

Holly DeWolf

I’ve been lurking on your site for awhile. I love your content.
I’m also one of those “engineering types” that generally disagree with pop-ups because so many people use them poorly.
What if you got a pop-up for finger growing on a health website… when you still had all 10 digits?!
As many commenters have pointed out in one way or another, if your pop-up is well timed (asking you to sign up after you’ve cut off your finger and not before) then they can be very effective and not that annoying.


Okay, I’m sold on pop ups! Now how do I get them on my site? Does anyone have any software recommendations? Thanks.


Hi Derek,

You’re absolutely right. If a site offers great content , a popup isn’t going to be an obstruction. Matter of fact , you’d sign up because you’re looking forward to more great content. But , in cases where the content gets stale I simply unsubscribe. Definitely going to include popup to my site ,at least for a trial. See how it impacts the site overall.Thanks for this.


I like header bars more than pop ups. Header bars are a mid way solution to annoying pop-ups and worry to make a email list. And with a free giveaway, header bar converts better than plain pop-up.


What really sucks about your pop-up is that I see it every time I come to your site to watch your brilliant videos, and I’m already opted in!

Geniece Brown

Hi Derek! You always look sharp and deliver high-quality content that is off the chart engaging and valuable. Purple’s my favorite and looks great on you. I’ve never given pop-ups much thought personally for my blog but will definitely look into it going forward as I want to grow my list and my blog following this year. Got some work to do. Thanks!!

Justin Brooke

Using an in-line header opt-in instead of a pop-up increased my opt-ins by 25%

To each their own

Rayzel Lam

LOL pop-up haters. That made me laugh. Yes I am excited that my site will soon be on genesis and I WILL have a pop-up. I had one on my current theme that conflicted with a plugin or theme somehow so it didn’t actually sign the people up like it was supposed to, BUT it did have a high conversion rate! It sucks that I lost out on a few hundred subscribers because of that coding conflict or whatever it was. They really do work and I totally agree that people will love you regardless if you have a quality site.

Syed Balkhi

Agreed. I’ve used popups on my site and they’ve increased sign ups by over 600%, and get this we saw 0 change in bounce rate.

Those who’re not using popups for email signups are simply missing out.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I’ve been on the fence with this for a while but i think i am converted to add a pop up to my website. i’m wondering if there are any rules to this… like it pops up only after someone spends some time on the site (a minute delay) for example?

The Get In Shape Girl

We love the popup at thegetinshapegirl.com It’s been temporarily removed, but it is going back up. People can easily click off of it if they have already signed up or aren’t interested.

But I will say, I think they key is to give something you know your readers are going to REALLY want in exchange for that email address. People aren’t dumb – they know they are gonna go on your email list, but if you provide great content, they will want to be on that list!

Ron Lum

Great arguments, Derek.

I’ve always hated popups… but it is true that they are effective in generating visibility for a sign up (or whatever) and if the content or site is legit, then people won’t mind, in the same way that I don’t mind watching a short commercial for a good Youtube video (but only from a quality producer who I like).

One thing to note is that not all pop ups are the same — the type that many marketers use are in-browser pop ups. The kind that most people hate are the ones that pop up for sexy camera shows, viagra pills, porno, or how to make quick money trading stocks by using a secret formula. Those pops give pop ups a bad name.

Take care.


Anthony Tran

Awesome video Derek! You said it best… you should definitely use Pop-ups. I agree that people who have a bad attitude and make silly rules like not reading someone’s blog because they use a pop-up isn’t your ideal customer. Thanks for all you do and love the video blogs.

David Bennett

I’m looking forward to some of the great interviews you used to do.

Michael Belk

Derek, I feel like the blog owner should win my confidence or let me buy into reading their blog before asking me for my email.

I have seen blogs that use a pop up before I get to read one paragraph.

I like the unobtrusive way you are applying here. At lease you let readers make it to the next page.

Devani Anjali Alderson

I agree. I like simple pop-ups.

But the one’s I don’t like, are when you subscribe, then EVERY time you go back to the site, the ‘subscribe’ is there… I know there are ways to know that the person has already signed up, and I want to do that with my site.

I don’t want the pop up showing for people who have already subscribed to my content … just for new folks.

Anyone know of a solution for that?
Thanks.. and great post!

    Eric Jacques Leucome

    Yeah i’m thinking about implementing a website subscription with a quick facebook/google/twitter login option. So it will be possible to disable popups adds and other things for those who are logued in.

      Devani Anjali Alderson

      @Eric.. Good idea! Do you already know what plugin that would be, or you still looking for one?

        Eric Jacques Leucome

        I have not found a plugin that do all at once. So I curently try (oneall Scocial login) combined with (Shortcodes Ultimate) for shortcode that hide or display content. I still need to create a cute popup with the register form, scocial button and newsletter. A popup that also rescale when displayed on a phone.


Sorry, Derek, I’m not going to use pop-ups. They’re an extra annoyance for people like me who use screen readers to access the Web.

Kevin Kermes

Feelings vs outcomes. I hate pop-ups. They annoy me. But, since I began using them last month on our sites…opt-in rates are up 527%!

I still don’t like pop-ups, but I absolutely love those numbers. I’m ready for some more emotional divestment that nets outcomes like that :-).

Connie Trowbridge

Dude you must’ve read my mind! I purchased optinMonster and was having trouble getting it to work. I started doubting if maybe having a pop up would lower my conversion and if it was truly worth getting someone to fix this technical issue. Then bam, there you appeared in my inbox and provided the best points for having a pop up. Now I have someone working to fix my pop up tech problem. Thanks for this!


I agree pop ups are effective if used sparingly. I will usually give pop ups a chance if their pitch catches my eye.

The cold truth is though, within a month over 90% end up in my junk mail folder. This is because the majority use repetitive marketing techniques once they have me email address. They send me emails daily often using price beating or discount strategies to try and get my attention. By saying nothing new they become like a boring annoying person that I tolerate. Eventually I decide they have little value and are taking up too much space and time in my inbox and they get canned.

I like your content Derek and appreciate how you don’t spam email accounts and waste my time with repetitive boring content. I look forward to receiving your emails thanks Derek.



I agree with this philosophy. If people don’t like ’em, they probably aren’t your customer anyway.

I’ve been experimenting with LeadBoxes with great success. Has anyone else tried it?

Ryan Simon

Definitely great advice. I was once one of those web developers who was against pop-ups, but I’ve come around after implementing pop-ups for several clients of mine.

It’s pretty incredible what a well-designed and well-timed pop-up can do for newsletter sign-ups.

For those who mentioned they were looking for a great WordPress pop-up plugin, check out OptinMonster. Yes, you’ll have to pay for it, but it’s the best one I’ve found in my research.

Here’s a direct link to them if you’re interested in learning more: https://optinmonster.com/

    Derek (but not that Derek)

    “Well-designed” and “well-timed” are probably the key words. There are a lot of people who build web pages who seem like the type who are disappointed that the [blink] tag has been deprecated. (HAH!)

Tim L.

OK, I’ll bite.

Here’s my test: I was at a travel bloggers conference where one of the panelists asked, “How many of you have clicked the back button or closed the browser tab because a pop-up came up on your screen?

2/3 of the room raised their hands. With the general public it’s probably worse.

Telemarketing works too for a small percentage of the people you call. Same for ads in movie theaters. But you pissed off 98% of the others in the process.


I think you mean “flak” (not flack). Flak could shoot your finger off. Then the pop-up would be an imperative, finding the right one might be hard though.

I agree, occasional pop-ups don’t annoy me when the content is good.

However, if you’re doing a quick scan of a site looking for something and not finding it, i.e. the content isn’t what you want, then they become annoying.

Overly gaudy and too-frequent pop-ups are annoying too, a bit like loud music that you haven’t chosen to listen to. Hell it’s a pop-up it’s in your face already, so it doesn’t have to hurt your eyes!

And at the end of the day, if it works it works! You just can’t argue with that.


I like the sign-up pop-ups that appear after you scroll down the page a bit. I feel this takes care of most of the concerns people have about them.

Also I like to make sure the pop-up uses a cookie to not appear after the person has signed up.

A smart pop-up if you will.

Avelardo Lopez

Great Video Derek. Like how you keep it all real. This video was insightful. Thank you for sharing. And keep those e-mails coming.


This is an incredibly simple-minded analysis. OF COURSE popups will increase your conversions…you could have thousands of people visit your website, and if just one of those people opts in because of your popup…boom, you have increased conversions…that’s obvious.

What you’re not accounting for, is the long term impact of having popups badgering your visitors. Whether it’s badgering a new customer who has no idea what you’re offering, or badgering an existing subscriber that is already opted in, or badgering someone who doesn’t want to be opted in…the net effect of having a popup can be hugely detrimental to your site traffic long term. All you do to counteract this point in your video, is give one anecdotal story about a guy who subscribed even though he hates pop ups. That’s great! What about the thousands of others who didn’t contact you to say they hated popups, and have actually never come back to your site?

Just imagine if you went into Walmart and was badgered by a sales person every time you go down a different aisle…he’s trying to sell this great new soap they have in stock. Surely, he will sell soap to some people…but does that make the campaign a success? How many people walked out of Walmart that day for the last time ever, instead opting to go to the nearest Target or grocery store the next time they went shopping, just for some peace while they shop? What would YOU do?

Now of course, there’s a difference between digital bits on your screen and in-person badgering, but the effect is still the same. I know of several sites off the top of my head that I will 100% avoid because of being hounded to opt in or download an app, or fill out a survey.

There are ways you can tastefully create a popup that only shows up once, or only on certain pages under certain circumstances…and I’m okay with that. But even those solutions aren’t optimal since there are people who clear out their browser cache/cookies after every session.

Bottom line: Annoying everyone is not a good trade off for a few more opt-ins. It’s easy to track those opt-ins and feel like you made the right decision…but it’s very difficult to track the people who got annoyed and will never visit your site again. Also, don’t take advice from someone who owns a company that has a vested interest in making you believe popups work.


    These are some great points.


I think you mean “flak”.

Fred Williams

Now that’s my type of blog post Derek. Tell it like it is my man.

I am a big proponent of using popups, and I always will be until I see that they just don’t work anymore.


P.S. that video was funny as hell too. 🙂


I have a new pop up products and was wondering if I can add this youtube video to the bottom of the product page where I explain benefits, features and installation instructions page.

Please, let me know.
Very informative video

Thank you,



Zach – I think the difference is that Walmart’s already got your business. You know why you’re going to Amazon. They don’t have to try and reel you back in periodically. You’ve paid for PRIME, and they’ve got you by the wallet.

But, when someone’s checking out your site for the first time, why make them do an extra click?

Back in the early days of “web user optimization,” the matra was to make it take as few clicks as necessary to get to the information the user wants. Pop-ups are unnecessary clicks.


    Derek – Thanks for the reply. For some reason, it didn’t notify me you had replied (Hence, the late response).

    I tend to agree. Again, I pinged my friend and here’s what he said after I shared what you had written with him:

    “He makes the assumption that someone is checking out your site for the first time, which isn’t always going to be the case…what about return visitors? Even if we assume a first time visitor, is that really the impression you want to leave on them? Its not like Amazon is checking if you’re a first time visitor to pop something up in your face.”

    Thoughts on this?


I haven’t ever commented on SocialTriggers before, but I always love reading what Derek writes. I shared this post with a friend of mine who is also a pretty good marketer (He used to work for Ebay before starting his own business). I asked him to give me his comments, unfiltered.

Here’s what he had to say. @Derek, would you mind commenting and/or offering a rebuttal to his counterpoints?

“This article is way too simple-minded, OF COURSE popups will increase your conversion…you could have thousands of people hit the popup, and if just one of those people opts in…boom, increased conversions…that’s obvious what’s not so obvious is what’s happening to those 999 other people in a lot of cases, it leaves a bad taste in their mouth and they don’t come back but that’s not tracked as easily.

Imagine if WalMart had a dude at the store exit trying to sell you one last thing before you leave…sure, you may sell a couple of those things, but at what expense? a lot of people are going to feel uncomfortable with the sales technique and shop at target next time.

If it were a legit marketing strategy, you would see places like Amazon do it.

There’s a reason they don’t, and that’s because the amount of items they sell in the short term would not make up for the amount of customers they would annoy and lose in the long-term.”

Okay, in that light, anyone care to comment? I’m not trying to start a fight or anything. But, my friend was so vehement against this sort of thing, I thought I’d bring it to Derek and the experts!


So who gets credit for the 1st popup …
MTV … ‘everybody talk’n ’bout it … pop music’


I’d say that, from a user experience point of view, that popups are still terrible and should be avoided. But not everyone is aiming for perfect UX when building a site.

I don’t doubt that they work and there are numbers to back that up.

I think that, instead, email signup forms should be prominently displayed either above or within the content. They’re not unavoidable, and, if your blog is engaging enough, interested people will sign up anyway.

A better solution may even be some section that “pops” within your content, but doesn’t require the user to click out of. This would bring the attention to the email signup without being obnoxious and interfering with content.

Laura Fuentes

UGH. I hate it when you are RIGHT. I’ve been toying with the idea of the pop-up thing for months. You sealed the deal today.


Hey Derek,

Your videos and content are a mind candy ! I LOVE what you are saying, the way you are presenting it too. Watched all your Creative Live courses, almost all your new emails (with the vidéo)…

Good job, keep going and… of course, i subscribed in your ‘annoying’ popup lol

Ken Hammond

The trick is to not show the pop up when someone is clicking from an email… they are obviously already subscribed. (Unless you have multiple lists)

For one of my clients, I show different pop ups/specials depending on whether they are coming from CPC, Organic, Email, direct, etc.

And take it a step further by showing a different pop up depending on the landing page…

Fun personalization usually always increases conversions!

– Ken

Gabriel Ducharme

What is the best wordpress plugin/extension? I know I could do a fast google search but anyone has a favorite they can’t live without?

Would love to add one to my website: http://www.gabrielducharme.com


Connie Rossini

Derek, I read about pop-ups at Social Triggers back in December. I set one up on my blog (with a giveaway) and my number of subscribers has more than doubled since then. I’m getting about 3 times the number of subscribers per week that I was before. Everything else on my blog is the same. It works! Thanks!


FIRST, listen to Derek he is great with this. After optimizing subscription flow per Derek, my business consulting site went from 1 to 2 subscribers per week to 5 to 7 per day. It kinda has me scared.

Second, is a question for you, Derek. You don’t serve the pop-up to everyone, right? If I click on your latest and greatest from email, I am recognized as a subscriber? I get a pop up when I go to your home page or other entry point. Is that correct? Actually, I can’t remember your pop up now at all. Would be funny if you were in a guerilla costume… and those were all really one question.


Hi I could not agree more! IF I land somewhere that is of real interest to me OF COURSE I will not be annoyed by a POP UP. WHY WOULD I IF I AM NEEDING SOMETHING…not just some silly thing that i happen upon…but something is intriguing or something I really want. But generally the sites that have pop ups are those sites that i must have been drunk and end up getting spam mail that i not interested in. I find u good sometimes and annoying sometimes. So u are someone who i find good sometimes and other times i dont care for. You are one of the better ones. But u know what….Tiffany’s doesnt have pop ups and KARE which is such a splendid place with one of the most beautiful websites i have ever seen. And usually the high end online places do not have pop ups and i generally am checking for unique sites and really different sites not the ones that for $7.99 or $39.99 or $99.99 that are all seemingly so despeerate and when i leave those sites pop ups pop up lolo and this makes me feel they are desperate besides the fact that if they are claiming u will be making 7 figure incomes for 30 hour work a week…i am not wishing to offend but all my life i have lived amongst top tiered folks and not one of them has EVER got to such a level by purchasing some program for such a piddly amount of money nor from NOT working more than half an hour or even 4 hours a day. Sure i know of people friends even who spend most of their time “on vacation” mostly sitting under palm trees at private exclusive hide aways…i have watched them come into the bar and pick up their cell phone and chit chatted for 5 or 10 minutes and perhaps spent a couple minutes on their laptops only to return for a dip in crystal clear tropical water and spending just for their room over $500 a day and drinking $500 US D bottles of wine wiht their dinners…but trust me, they did not get to this sort of lifestyle off some $69 buck course and this is so. So ok pop ups ARE ok IF i am seeking out precisely what i am lookiing for OR something extremely intriguing or if i am really in a weird mood or drunk hahaha which is rare but does happpen otherwise i wont give them the time of day and btw i NEVER UN subscrible to ANYTHING…this as u know well just gives others more info on me. Peace to you and to all and enjoy your weekend and do NOT waste your time complaining about the NSA…u are NOTHING to them if u are reading this…TRUST ME 🙂

Cathy Sirvatka

My biggest issue is I don’t want to have a popup in my face the first time I visit a website. How do I even know what’s in the website yet, but you want me to sign up for your newsletter?? The other thing is… you talked about the gorilla; that’s how I treat popups now. I automatically X them out without even looking. I assume, that if I look at the site and like it, there will be a form for me to sign up within the site itself. BUT, I do trust your research so I may consider adding to my own site, in spite of myself.

Estevan Montoya

Thanks for the great vid, and as always, the humor is enjoyable. When you paused for Ramit, I couldn’t stop laughing…

Anyway, yes I use popups. I have been a loyal user of Popup Domination and I use it on my clients sites as well. Some are a little hesitant, but when I help them create a funnel and offer, they see the results.

I think the key is a great offer that brings them into a value funnel in which the 80/20 rule is applied (80% content/20% sales).

Estevan Montoya


pop ups work – agreed! But there are good pop-ups and there are bad ones.

Bad pop ups open a shadow box the moment I arrive at a site, prior to earning my email address. I *always* close those pop-ups without providing information.

Bad pop-ups keep popping up after I’ve already signed up. On different pages of the site or different visits. How many times must I provide an email address??

Good pop-ups let me read a little about the site and as I begin scrolling, because I want to learn/read more, then ask for my email address, and I most always provide it.

It would interesting to see how the different implementations of pop-ups convert.


    Connie Habash

    Thanks for the comment about scrolling, Dave – that’s a good indicator of someone truly interested. Helps me to sort out the proper way of setting up one for my site.


Alright, I’ve heard it over and over again that pop-ups are great to increase your newsletter subscribers, but now that you’re calling me an idiot I am finally going to give it a shot 🙂

Any suggestions for good WP pop-up plugins?

Thanks a lot


What do people think about using a pop-up for a product based site vs. an information/content driven site? Does it matter?

Also, anyone know good software/apps for platforms like Shopify? I’m sure most people are WordPress, but any help would be much appreciated! Cheers!

connie curtis

Yes I think I am going to use pop ups when I redo my website. My contact form is just there and when it gets filled out its by people not really interested. B School I am starting so its a learning experience.

Nancy Marshall

You are hysterical. I love the finger analogy!

Thanks for giving me a good laugh this afternoon.



Great video… again! Do we need a designer to install a pop-up or is there a (WP) plug-in that I could use?


    Nathalie Lussier

    Hi Eileen!

    My husband and I just developed a free popup plugin for WordPress called PopupAlly that works out of the box. You can get it for free here:


Jessica Kupferman

Dear Derek, Thank you for helping me grow back my finger. Jess

Christina Salerno

Derek… are you sure you’re not psychic?

I just added a test pop-up to my website this morning. BEFORE your email. Shame, guilt, self-consciousness made me question the validity of this action.

If I get haters, I now have a link I can forward to them 😉

Sean Nisil

I recently updated my site so that there are three opportunities to opt into my list PLUS a pop up when you scroll to the bottom of any post. Before I only had one static subscription box in the top right.

I’ve had more subscribers in the last month than the last quarter.


I love having a pop up, but I don’t know why it doesn’t always show up when you go to my site. I have the same issue with people asking how to get on my list, even my own family members were confused!!


I actually totally agree with the idea of the popup, even though I never saw one on your site or the other 2 you mentioned which I recently signed up for as well … Maybe I’m just used to immediately clicking out of them until I see what the site is about …

But here’s one place the pop up does NOT work … on a phone! I have had the pop up come up and it’s too big to Enter your Email or Close out so it acts as a complete barrier to entry!

Janet Huey

Wow! The video made me do a 180!
I was an anti!

Kes Craig

Great video, but where’s the popup? First site I have ever been to where I waited 6+ minutes for a popup. Mildly disappointed! But I will be using popups now.



Thanks Derek.You gave me some food for thought.Always enjoy listening to you.Btw love your tie , color and all…


Thanks for the information, Derek. Thought it was a bad idea to use pop-ups – you convinced me it’s not.

Tammy Hawk-Bridges

Hi Derek,

The only problem I have with pop-ups is most people are now reading with their handhelds and I just feel like its too intrusive and it can cost you readers. It was fine from a desktop but a handheld is just too small. I think that an embedded form that is part of your layout is much easier and friendly to the handheld user. You can check out mine at Perfect Marketing Equation or an even better example is on Amy Porterfield’s site http://www.amyporterfield.com I love hers! Just a thought. Cheers!

    Eric Jacques Leucome

    I had similar issue while I tried to make my site 100% readable on a phone. I went with a realy small one until I find a proper code to test the screen size.

    Jody Heath

    Actually, the better quality popups are usually very mobile friendly requiring no squinting or resizing.


Derek – I keep hearing from “idiots” that Popups don’t work. However they haven’t done the research. I love your take no prisoners style. Tell it like it is.


Hi Derek

I agree pop-ups are the way to go – I’m getting my Tech guy to implement one on my website. However, I have to say you post made me laugh so much. Have a great day.

Linda Ursin

I use one on my front page only, because it’s distracting to have it on salespages and elsewhere, where I have other CTA’s

Jeremy Montoya

I’ve already implemented some ways to capture emails on my site, but have yet to do a pop-up…

I think this is great for people and companies bringing great value to the world for the right reasons!

It should be fun to see the results!

Thanks Derek

The FitJerk

Derek, there’s definitely a time when you shouldn’t use popups.

For example when you hate making money.
Or hate your life.
Or just hate people in general.


    Robert Stover

    I’m giving this comment a +1 or a “like”


Gemma Regalado

This! This exact thing! As a web designer, I used to be the type of d-bag snob complaining about “annoying pop-ups” and could list every reason under the sun why they would cause you to send visitors fleeing in terror – and in fairness, popups circa 2002 WERE the bane of the web.

Times have significantly changed, as has the technology. I realised a few years ago that popups were an easily-forgotten mild annoyance at worst, and pretty damn captivating at best.

I started to warm to popups, and installed one on my own site. My sign ups increased threefold. Nuff said.

Derek (but not that Derek)

SocialTriggers has pop-ups? Never seen one. Must be my browser extensions.

The problem isn’t the idea of “pop-ups.” It’s the implementation of annoying, repetitive and inescapable pop-ups.

If every visit to a site starts with the same pop-up that I have to click past to get to the content, I’ll start thinking about other sources for the information. Much of the time, any given site is NOT the sole source for information on a topic, so repeated annoyances can encourage customers to move away.

In my case, I suspect that many of the repeated pop-ups may be due to the fact that I don’t keep browser cookies from session to session. That means, even if a pop-up adds a cookie that says “Ok, leave this guy alone,” it’ll be gone the next time I visit the site. But I see the same behavior during a single browsing session on some sites. Every new page gives me the same “sign up for this” or “sign our petition” pop-up.

Maybe people who don’t use pop-ups are “idiots.” But I’m pretty sure that some of the people who write the code for pop-ups are “idiots,” too.

PS: I’ve not signed up for your mailing list because I don’t want another piece of mail that I probably won’t read. But I do subscribe to the RSS feed.

    Bill Thomas

    My shopping cart has a way to tag certain customers with custom tags. It lets me adjust pricing based on customer groups.

    I would tag you with our HM tag. That’s short for high maintenance.

    I adjust HM customer pricing to 120% to make up for the pain of dealing with them.

      Derek (but not that Derek)

      You’d tag me “high maintenance” without ever doing business with me and finding out what type of customer I’d be? Just because I don’t like pop-ups or cookies? Wow.

      That’s ok, though. When I run into retailers with that attitude, I spare them the “pain” of dealing with me. I give my money to their competitors.


    Actually I have put a popup on my site but have a delay of 8 seconds. If someone gets to my site and is not yet engaged I do not see any reason that they would trust me enough yet to sign up. But if I give them 8 seconds to get engaged then they will be highly likely to get on the list.

    I may lose a few people that leave before 8 seconds but these people were likely not interested anyway.

    Exit pop ups though… Never tried them and would love to hear what people think

      Derek (but not that Derek)

      I’ve been thinking about exit pop-ups. Those are the “You’ve seen our content, now don’t miss out!” messages that don’t bother me as much. Some of the entrance pop-ups seem to assume that clicking the link is enough reason to value the sites content – before, as you say, visitors are engaged.

      I’m wondering about pop-ups that show up based on scroll position of the page. The point when the readers get to the end of the content would be a good time to let them know how they can stay up to date on new content inf they’re interested.

        Christina Salerno

        I just discovered PadiAct which has a lot of variations of rules you can set for when a pop-up will be displayed. Seems promising. http://padiact.com

        Connie Habash

        Wow, I love this idea of exit pop-ups – I didn’t know about them! Does anyone have leads on apps for this for a WP site?

          Connie Habash

          another question – how would you set this up to avoid annoying people who are already on your email list?


    No one should be concerned by the fact that a few people “don’t keep browser cookies from session to session.”

    It will be a ridiculously small (close to zero) percentage of people who will actually buy.

      Derek (but not that Derek)

      Oh, I agree. Web designers can’t build sites trying to make all of us paranoids comfortable and still offer benefits to return users.

      I’m just acknowledging that PART of my issues with pop-ups is self-inflicted.


Hey Derek,

Thanks for your advice on popups… I agree that popups do help obviously increase the amount of subscribers you have, but are annoying to some people especially in certain niches. I like your reasons though on why you should have them and they make sense. And like you said, you should at least test to see if popups increase your conversions on your site because otherwise you will never know.

What WordPress plugin do you recommend to use for popups? I was looking into a few of them and I like Pippity for popup optin forms.

I was looking into another plugin to use for all the other locations for optin forms and OptinSkin looks pretty good.

Then lastly I use the Genesis framework and was going to code a feature box myself.

Rob McNelis

Totally agree! You have to have the mindset that its an extra opportunity to help people discover your high quality content/product. Only do it if you believe in your work though.


    Jim Wang

    I’d expand that last sentence to “only do work you believe in.” 🙂

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