Are your Pop-ups and Overlays are Working Against You?

Apr 24, 2018
by Rakesh Tulsiani

Are your Pop-ups and Overlays are Working Against You?


Marketing has come a long way from traditional and conventional marketing to modern day marketing. With time passing by, we have witnessed several marketing tactics by marketers that have managed to grab our attention. While some of these are beneficial ways of marketing, others have gone down the passage as failures. Digital marketing or online marketing has become a sensation in the recent times. With more and more people spending time on the internet every day, traditional marketing has almost become obsolete with the rise of the digital platform. Two of the most striking components of digital marketing are pop-ups and overlays.

Pop-ups: These are a form of interruption marketing. They are short bits of displayed content that are loaded between two pages, making the website user stop what they were currently doing and take a different action. Pop-ups draw the website user’s prompt attention to what you need them to see. By displaying pop-ups associated with the content they are reading, you can retain them on the website for a more extended period and draw them down the marketing funnel.

Overlays: An overlay refers to a content box that is presented on top of another page. The overlay box usually is noticeably smaller than the underlying page or website. Usually, the rest of the background page is covered, leading to the use of the term ‘lightbox’ to explain this visual effect of heightened centre on the overlay content.

Since too much of everything is bad, usage of too many overlays and pop-ups can create confusion and annoyance, which can cause people to work harder to achieve the same task, and make content difficult to access at later times, by frequently breaking on mobile or smaller browser windows. In other words, the overlay and pop-up benefits are often overwhelmed by disadvantages, if not used correctly. At times, it can work adversely for your business and may cause your users to feel annoyed and disturbed.

Here are some reasons why your website's pop-ups and overlays can work against you:


Pop-ups and overlays are considered intrusive by many web users. Web surfers feel like they are having a product's marketing forced down their throats when it pops up in the form of pop-ups and overlays while they are trying to read or view content on a website. While they are useful in one way, meaning consumers will have more knowledge about the product, the hostility the website visitor can sometimes feel toward the intrusion can damage the reputation of the brand and even drive visitors away from the website and brand.


If not implemented correctly, it can shoo away your current audience. Excessively large pop-ups and overlays that fill the whole page can make them stop their browsers altogether. Hidden exit buttons that give them the idea that you are not giving enough option but to either download your material, like your page or enter their info can compel them not to visit your web page anymore.


The disadvantage is that each time a user clicks on a pop-up ad, the user's concentration is redirected to the advertiser, away from the site's main content. Also, if he clicks the pop-up, it will take the user to the advertiser's website, possibly making him forget about the original content website, to begin with. This creates a conflict for certain sites that want their information to be registered or viewed. So, the increased effectiveness of pop up ads can make this type of advertising less desirable for the website.


Multiple ones in different pages spread all over your website directly translate to “spam”. Your brand’s status can be affected negatively as a result.

Pop-up Blockers

Some tech-savvy consumers detest pop-ups that they configure scripts to block them out on their web browsers. If they don’t see your window, it apparently serves no purpose.

It should always be remembered that while marketing your brand through any digital marketing company in India, your customers must come first. Your users should leave your website more informed than before, with a good sense about your brand, and not frustrated. Users are looking for a consistent experience, but if used relatively, there is less of a backlash. Research seems to show that if you are giving users with quality content, they accept that they may have to take additional action in exchange for access to the free content. Depending on the nature or content of each pop-up and overlay, cookies can be used to ensure they only appear the first time a user goes to your website. Before considering an overlay or a pop-up, carefully investigate your motivations and think about your target users. If you still believe that overlays and pop-ups are the right design solution for you, move with care. Test repeatedly on different browsers and devices to make sure that your design and the motive does not break.

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