Popups, overlay windows, and other disruptive marketing tools are used because they work. In fact, they work well. Here’s an article about one small experiment that shows their impact, and our data clearly agrees.
As we also know, they’re also hated. Last summer I connected with @Jeffr0 from WP Tavern over in Cleveland, and he shared with me that when he first heard about 40N he was like, “Ah man, why are you ruining the internet?!!”
The conversation with Jeff sparked a good deal of thinking on our part. The fact is, we see ourselves as fellow travelers with every Small and Medium Business trying to make it online in the shadow of the world’s biggest companies. We want to provide tools that help them. We want those tools to return some of the human intuition of customer service to the digital. That was our goal, and in that sense we want to make sure that 40Nuggets doesn’t hurt the customer experience, but enhance it.
The talk with @Jeffr0 got our team talking about things we can do to encourage common norms of behavior within our clients. It’s obvious that just because a tool works doesn’t mean that we have carte blanche to use it without restraint. Striving to create a quality user experience is a common good. At the time, we therefore created strict defaults in our product that encourage our clients to follow best practices that enable them to achieve business goals while respecting users.
We thought we’d share some ideas that we included, and that can perhaps serve as standards for systems that interrupt, including popups, chat boxes, onsite bars, and more:
1. Do Not Bug: By default, interruptive marketing should be set not to target someone more than in a reasonable period of time for that business context. For example, it may be that in some businesses once a month or every few months, makes sense (stick news sites, for example), while in others, it could be more or less. We’re looking at our data and inteviewing clients and trying out different defaults. Never should the default be once a day, or once per session. While these may occasionally be justified (testing, for example, or urgent announcements), they shouldn’t be defaulted.
2. Personalizing by Behavior Rather Than Formula: This is a hard one, but we doubled on technology we built to use behavioral targeting rather than than exit-intent or timed popups. While we provide all the options mentioned, we encourage marketers to test out our targeting which assesses user behavior in realtime and tries to identify when they’re most ready to see a Nugget (what we call a popup or modal bar). This may included exit-intent, but it also may include other delay-formulas. We use lots of intelligence and testing to identify the best time for each person based on numerous factors. In this case you’re risking that some visitors may not see the popup at all – however you’re earning a better customer experience and, we believe, better overall results. From our experience conversion rates shoot way up.
Most simple popup and opt-in systems don’t have those granular targeting capabilities. We’d be happy to help with that if you want to get in touch with us.
3. Easy Out: Visitors should be able to close interruptions without having to “play the game.” This means that interruptions should by default have the standard convention for closing, an X in the upper right. I often experience popups that force you to press a button disagreeing with the offer (“No, I don’t want to be enormously successful”). That’s not fair. It should be incredibly easy to press the X and close the offer.
4. Don’t Double Target: Once someone fills out a form, that’s it – they shouldn’t see that form again. Period.
5. Allow for Segmentation: I often see onsite offers for things that are completely irrelevant for me. For example, I don’t live in the US, and therefore the free-shipping to US locations isn’t helpful. It’s pure interruption. Tools should give marketers ways to segment out traffic that doesn’t need to be interrupted, and thereby reduce the amount of interruptions. Marketers are usually happy to do this work if they have the tools because they’ll get better conversions.
These are some initial thoughts we had. We’d love your feedback, suggestions, and thoughts. We’d absolutely love to discuss this with you in the comments. If you want to check out 40Nuggets you can do it at 40Nuggets.com.