0-pMGBETNA-addAs a child growing up in the 80s I remember these big billboards at the side of the road. Huge 30 feet high signs with strong brand names presented for one purpose only- creating brand awareness. After you present the brand, the consumer is free to feel, think and behave according to the way he perceives it. Both my family, and the nice 70 year old lady driving next to us saw the same model in the same bikini but probably created a very different concept about the brand. Safe to say that most of us felt that these ads are not the most relevant for us “But hey, they are seen by thousands of potential consumers every day and might trigger some of them to purchase the product. That is a good enough reason to block your view.

The Evolution of Online marketing has gone through drastic changes in the past years. Marketers are now looking to create a meaningful relationship with their consumers rather than simply exposing them to the brand. From the consumer point of view they are now able to get a more relevant offers which will probably be more meaningful to their life style and will justify blocking their view for a couple of seconds. Using the same terms they used in the 80s, we now know: who sits in the car, what are their interests and where are they going. This gives advertisers a huge advantage, as they can now understand what their consumer are looking for. I’d like to think of Popups as online billboards. We now have so much information about consumers we simply need to match the popup to the right consumer and it will do the job.

Evolution processes are naturally slow and the changes they incur are based on past experiences. Marketers in this sense are still using their known paradigms to address consumers, only they now have the advantages of understanding their target audience online behavior. The CTR data shows that popups attract 2% of consumers to click on the offer –Source. If you didn’t click on the ad, you might simply be exposed to the brand and you now hold the familiarity effect. This means that you will favor the brand when faced with a choice between many other brands and ultimately increase the chances of purchasing it.

However, with evaluation comes complexity. Consumers are now looking for a relationship and relationships are complicated. This situation probably happened to all of us- you are on a news site. You look up a very interesting article but before you can read anything (and sometimes even during!) a popup ad shows you something that is not relevant to your current goal. First thing is to look for the big X that closes this irrelevant and bothering ad. If you’re lucky you’ve managed to close it fast. If not you’ll be exposed to the brand and you’ll see a great commercial about a dog who loves his owner, or a mom looking out for her family or anything of that sort. From the marketers view it’s a success, right? Wrong!

As we move toward a data based marketing processes, it is clear that some statistics, as impressive as they might be, do not reflect the consumer reality. Like our own human relationship, brand relationship are partly dictated by the company and mostly by the consumer. Here are three important things important to consider before setting your popup campaign.

  1. Most consumers wish they would have never seen your ad. If you want to base our marketing decisions on statistical data here are some hard facts about popups. You might gain 2% CTR but what about the 45% who get annoyed- Source. For them your brand is now paired with these negative feelings. Exactly like Pavlov’s dogs they now relate their annoyance to you brand! In terms of relationships, the popup brand is analogous to that friend who never knows when to shut up. Presenting him to your other friend will be something like “Yeah his great but…”
  2. Even the best Popup still blocks your view– Matching the popup to the consumer does not mean he will recognize and use the information about the product. Matching the offer to the situation is highly important in order to engage you consumer. If I am reading the news, or playing a webgame, this is what I am interested in. I might be the biggest fan of your brand but in the specific situation me and the popup ad are playing our special game – “How fast can you close me”
  3. Just like any good relationship you start with small steps– Any good pick up artist will tell you “Try not to come on too strong.” You want to be seen but you don’t want to bother. Dreamgrow Scroll triggered box are a good example for that. These popups appear at the end of the engagement with the page, right when the consumer is ready to hear your offer. From a relationship stand point, this is called respecting the other side and engaging them only after they have finished what it is they are doing. In marketing terms it is called common sense.

With progress comes change. The major change this era presents is the ability to have wider meaningful relationship with your audience. No more huge billboards targeting different consumers and blocking everyone’s view. What was once considered personal skills in intimate relationships, can now be used for your brand and its online relationship with consumers. So think big but also think personal!

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