My Data Shows Email Popups Work and Don’t Hurt

I’ve had several conversations with marketers about email subscription popups like the one new visitors to my site see. Many of the most experienced and results focused are in favor, but there are some “marketing gurus” who are very vocal in their opposition. Never one to leave a debate like this to gut feeling and guesswork, I decided to actually look at my own stats to see what story they had to tell.

These stats are from a single data point, this site. Your site may be different, you should experiment with any tactic like this to see if it works for you, don’t just accept the platitude of your favorite author at face value. I have yet to see any real data to suggest that popups produce any measurable decline in visitor behavior.

Between late January and early May of 2011 the popup on my site was temporarily disabled, which allowed me to go back through my Google Analytics reports and construct a time line of both my email subscription rate (overall site visitor to email signup percentage) and my bounce rate. I’m using bounce rate as a way to measure visitor dissatisfaction: are new visitors really turned off enough by the popup to just leave?

I found that during that period my signup rate dropped dramatically. I was collecting far fewer emails from visitors. Also during that time, there was no noticeable change in bounce rates. Viewers didn’t seem to mind the popup at all.

I then compared direct with-popup and without-popup numbers to get specific about the changes the popup made to my site. I found that my signup rate doubled with the popup and there was an insignificant change to my bounce rate.

To me this i a no-brainer. It’s not even a trade off between any kind of measurable visitor dissatisfaction and more emails. It’s just more emails. So what do you think? Have you tested email popups on you site?

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