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What’s your exit strategy? The ultimate guide to the use of exit popups


What’s your exit strategy? The ultimate guide to the use of exit popups

Unfortunately and inevitably people will always leave your website at some point. However awesome your site is, however low your bounce rate is and however well geared your content and design is to keep people engaged…people will still leave eventually.

Betting is you have spent a lot of time working out how to get people to take actions whilst they are on your website, either through clear calls to action or attention-grabbing popups. But what about when someone leaves your page? Are you missing an opportunity to gather a lead or ignite an important action?

You are likely to have experienced a popup when you have tried to leave a website, you may have even engaged with it. Below we take a look at this tool and how it can be used to boost engagement on your website. 

What exactly is an exit popup? 

As the name suggests, an exit popup is a popup that appears when you try to leave or exit a page. It is likely you will have experienced one of these, either attempting to get you to join a mailing list, take advantage of an offer or come back into the website to find out more about a certain aspect of a business.

Although exit popups have been widely used by spam websites to stop people leaving, they are now being used more and more by legitimate businesses in order to grab peoples’ attention and get them to take an action once they have already spent some time on the website and gained some value from the content or information available. 

How can they be used? 

In basic terms, using an exit popup allows you to grab the attention of a website visitor after they have already gathered all the information they want from your site. The major benefit of this, is unlike popups that appear during the time the visitor is on the page, exit popups only appear once the visitor is totally satisfied with the site.

Imagine that a visitor to your website is reading a really interesting blog post you have written about your specialist area of expertise. They get 10 seconds into reading and a popup covers the page promoting that they should join your mailing list. The reader gets frustrated, they have lost their place in the article and decide to leave the site very disgruntled.

Now imagine that the same website visitor is reading the same article. They have gathered all the information they want from it, feel fully satisfied and unprompted to do anything else they click to leave the website. Now a popup shows up asking them to join your mailing list to get loads more great content like what they have just read. They agree…you get a new lead. 

How could I benefit from them? 

The major benefit of using an exit popup is the fact that it allows you to prompt desirable actions as visitors are looking to leave the site. These actions can include anything, for example:

  • Stop them leaving – for example “Check out this really cool article we have written”
  • Get them to buy something – for example “Use this code to get 20% off this product”
  • Build your mailing list – for example “Join our mailing list for loads for great content like this”
  • Get prospects to get in touch – for example “To book a free trial, call us on…”
  • Drive home a key piece of information – for example “Remember, our 50% sale finishes on…”

Fundamentally, an exit popup gives you one last chance to capitalise on the attention that you have earnt from enticing a visitor onto your website. However, using an exit popup is not always a great idea. 

Why aren’t they always good? 

Popups in general are not always a good idea for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is speculated that popups will negatively impact your rankings on search engines. This is especially true as mobile becomes increasingly important and the fact that popups are often very difficult to deal with and unwelcome by mobile users.

Popups are also often hailed as creating a bad user experience for visitors to your website as it disrupts the flow of their visit and makes them undertake an inconvenient additional action in order to continue with their ‘journey’. This reason is also attributed to a high bounce rate on websites, where people would rather close the site than close the popup and continue browsing. Of course, the additional bounce rate doesn’t matter as much for exit popups as they are already leaving. Although the additional work the user has to put in to leave the site may well leave them with a bitter taste about your brand.

Ensuring that you use popups to add a significant amount of value to visitors is a good way to mitigate these issues. For example, ensuring that it is as easy as possible for them to complete the desired action you are asking of them as well as giving them something of significant value in return will keep visitors happy. 

What is an example of a good exit popup? 

Many big websites use exit popups, just try browsing a few of your favourite websites and see if they try and grab your attention as you leave. One good example we have seen recently was this exit popup from RazorSocial.


This popup is so great because it very simply highlights exactly what they are offering you ‘the best tools’ to eliminate a potential issue ‘wasting time and money’, but also very easily gives you an opt-out. It also cleverly uses colour that will prompt which button is the best to press.

In this article we have given some considerations on exit popups. This has included a rundown of what an exit popup is and how it can be used to help you promote certain actions on your website. We have also covered why you need to be careful when using these types of popups and given an example of an exit popup that works really well at achieving its job.

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Peter Johnson
Peter is a Google AdWords specialist, with associated skills in Bing Ads, Twitter Ads and Facebook Advertising.