• This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Conversions at What Expense?

Posted on March 2, 2016 by Jeff Pollard

(sung to the tune of Meatloaf’s “I’d Do Anything for Love”)
“I would do anything for your conversion..but I won’t do that….”

There’s a hot topic brewing in the web development and user experience design community. Basically, it boils down to: “How far are we willing to sacrifice good user experience to get conversions on our websites?”

Even if you’re not in the web design/development world, surely you’ve noticed the trend. You visit a website to, let’s say, find out how to fix your dishwasher. You find a site that contains tutorials on how to fix dishwashers. And as you begin reading this helpful article — BAM! A popup window appears over the content, asking you to sign up for this website’s monthly newsletter. You hastily search for the close button to make this annoyance go away.

From the website owner’s point of view, they’re simply trying to convert you, the nomadic website visitor, into a loyal subscriber of their newsletter so that they can continue to make ad revenue from you.

And from your point of view, you’re just trying to use the internet to help you solve a problem – isn’t that half the reason (besides funny cat videos) that it exists?

As a marketer and internet user, I can certainly understand each group’s goals and frustrations. And to tell you the truth, as it pertains to pop up offers, I think the web has sacrificed way too much user friendliness in order to increase conversion rates. After all, ad blockers – including those that can block these pop up offers – are becoming more and more popular as users try to escape the frustration. But those same ad blockers may also block some legitimate content that you want your website visitors to see.

I think it’s time that we (the digital marketing community) all took a moment to consider what other tactics we can use to convert website visitors into loyal fans of our brands. Because let’s be honest: popping up an offer in someone’s face after they’ve been on your site for 10 seconds is a lazy marketer’s tactic.

Think about how you can offer them additional valuable content that will make them want to frequent your site. Or, offer related content at the bottom of the page that may give them a good reason to explore the rest of your site. There’s tons of alternatives to ruining your site’s user experience. You just have to put a little thought into it.

I encourage every marketer who has had a client request that they implement a pop up offer to suggest a few alternatives. You may be surprised how many conversions you can get when your users are engaged in your site and enjoy using it.

Nearly everything about the process of designing and building a website comes down to balance. For many websites today, I think the balance of good user experience versus the desire for conversions may be off just a bit. Let’s make the web a better place.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

About the author:

Jeff Pollard

Partner, Director of Technology

Connect on LinkedIn

Jeff is one of Torx's founding partners and serves as the agency's Director of Technology. He built his first website back in 1996 and has never looked back. Jeff wears many hats at Torx: front-end designer and developer, server administrator, and resident Apple enthusiast.