When Should a Popover Form Appear?

Question: Would you ask a visitor to do something right away, or after they’ve had some time to get to know you?

Pop-up type forms make this something you need to consider. These forms can greatly increase your subscribers for your email marketing campaign. You can set how much time elapses before the form comes up, but the question is: how much time should that be?

Split testing allows you to set up a controlled experiment within your account to test and see when you should have your form come up. We had a couple volunteers try out this experiment, and we’ll be discussing their results and why it may or may not work for you.

Time to set up some tests

SA logo

Karen Baker runs the email campaign for this South Africa travel company. She has a pop-over form set up on the site to come up immediately:

She decided to set up a split test to see if this was optimal, so she also set up a form that would appear after a delay of 30 seconds.

After several weeks, we took a look at the results. The form that came up immediately had a 45% higher subscription rate than the other form, making it the winner. Satisfied with these results, this is the form that is on her site now.

ministry logo

Tony Kummer runs the email campaign for this site that has online resources for teaching kids about Christianity. He set up a pop-over form on Ministry-To-Children.com:

His pop-over comes up within 10 seconds of landing on the page. Like Karen, he decided to test how a form that comes up after a delay would perform in comparison, and he set up a form to come up after 40 seconds.

Again, we let the test run for several weeks before looking at the results. Tony ended up having similar results in that the form that comes up shortly after landing on the page was the winner with a 50% higher subscription rate.

What does this mean?

Having a shorter delay definitely brings in more subscribers for these examples. This may be because people don’t stay on a particular page that long, as they’ve found and clicked on a link they’re interested in before they’ve even seen the form. Another reason could be they are more likely to close out a form that comes up after they’re already looking at content, and don’t want to be taken away from that page.

It may also just be the visitors are prepared to fill out something that pops up shortly after they land on a page, especially if they’re already familiar with the company and know they want to be on the mailing list.

This is why it’s good to have an inline form as well. The inline form should be immediately visible upon landing on the page, and if possible, on all pages of your website.

When might this not work as well?

While having the form come up immediately works well for our examples, there are some situations it wouldn’t works as well.

  1. The page doesn’t have a lot of information. If the web page doesn’t have a lot of content on it, people aren’t going to be staying on the page long. They’ll be finished reading through the site before the form is scheduled to pop up.
  2. You’ve got some convincing to do. If you’re marketing a new idea or a new product, you may want to let visitors read over your information a bit asking them to commit to your mailing list.
  3. Required reading is your goal. Some businesses only want subscribers that have stayed on the site for a certain amount of time and read all the good stuff that’s up there. After enough time has elapsed, then they get the mailing list offer.

Do a split test to find what works for you!

Does your pop-up come up immediately or do you have a delay? Have you tested delays for your pop-ups? Why do you think your pop-up timing is important?