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Screen shot 2011 12 06 at 6.05.55 PM 300x152 Why This Blogger Uses Popups  : Blog PromotionPop ups and I have had a rocky relationship.

I can’t deny their email list building power. Put a pop up on your blog and you’ll boost your sign-ups. Period. Email sign-ups are super important for almost any social media publisher and it hurts to put this tool back in the box.

On the other hand, 1 out 100 people who see them here on Pushing Social fire off a disappointed email scorning my bad taste. I suspect another 9 silently leave my blog shaking their heads in disgust.

Most of the time, I listen to the vocal 10% and pull down my pop ups. But, I might be falling off the wagon (again).

The real problem with Pop Ups

Modern pop-ups are (actually) quite sexy. They are well-designed and perform exceptionally well. The problem most readers have with them is that they rudely interrupt their experience with an irrelevant message.

If you could fix (or at least lessen) the interruption and find a way to make the messaging relevant then list-focused blog publishers would be ecstatic.

Well there’s a war brewing between two options that profess to have finally solved the popup paradox.

The Contenders:

First we have the reigning champ - Popup Domination (PUD for short). PUD has been chipping away at this for a few years now. It uses a pop-over style that sidesteps popup blockers and shows its pop-ups in a lightbox effect.

Most of the pop ups you see on many sites are using PopUpDomination.

In the other corner we have Pippity the newcomer. Pippity has positioned itself as a “sexy” pop up alternative. It still uses the same pop-over effects but their team has worked hard on offering better creative templates and filtering options.

Who wins?

Here’s my review after testing both options for about 2 weeks:

The Install:

PopUpDomination

Painful.

I installed (PUD) on a WordPress blog and spent hours trying to get the first pop up to show. In the end I gave up and emailed support for help. I’m pretty proficient with customizing my blog and negotiating PHP but still had problems with the plugin. I’m afraid that less tech-savvy people will be asking for a refund within 10 minutes. I didn’t try the standalone version of PUD which may offer a better experience.

Pippity

Easy. The entire upload and installation process happens within the WordPress admin area. It took about 5 minutes to complete. I was concerned that my Cloudflare installation would interfere with the plugin but was pleasantly surprised that Pippity worked as advertised.

Winner: Pippity

Customer Support: 

PopUp Domination

Frustrating: It took 24 hours on average to get a response back from customer support. The customer support website offered a lightweight FAQ that didn’t answer any technical questions. The customer support area also lacked a Forum too allow more knowledgeable users to help out. Personally, I believe you either need a rapidly updated FAQ or a Forum to support DIY software.

Pippity:

Thankfully, I haven’t needed to contact Pippity support. But, like PopUp Domination, Pippity support only offers email support.

Winner: Tie

(I didn’t have an opportunity to gauge Pippity’s customer response time.)

Template Designs

pippity themes Why This Blogger Uses Popups  : Blog PromotionPopup Domination

The actual popup designs are quite good. The original draw for PUD was its clean and eye-catching graphics. The templates are plentiful and the PUD team continues to add options with every update.

Pippity

Pippity comes with a 18 themes that can customized at an extremely detailed level. The designs also look modern and are different from the common pop-over design popularized by PopUp domination. Pippity also allows custom CSS for the CSS ninjas out there.

Winner: Pippity

Usability:

PopUp Domination

PUD is a WordPress plugin so you will configure the app within the WordPress admin area. The configuration screens are easy to navigate and are simple to understand.

Pippity

Pippity’s configuration process is easy and well-designed. One minor pet-peeve is that the “Save and Continue” button for each of the configuration screens can get overlooked. Also each pop up you create needs to be activated from another screen which I didn’t notice for entire day.

Winner: PopUp Domination

Popup Targeting:

PopUp Domination

PUD gives you the option to delay activation of the pop up. This means that a person visiting your blog will have a chance to read the article before getting the popup. A nice feature that goes a long way to fixing the interruption problem.

The plugin also has the option of restricting popup display to specific pages or post categories. This is a big improvement over prior versions of the plugin and a killer feature for this plugin.

Pippity

Pipity has the same page and category filtering options as PopUp Domination. That’s where the comparison ends. Pippity pop ups can be configured to display on specific posts or restricted from showing on certain posts. By including a simple AND/OR boolean “power filter” Pippity gives you the ability to show custom designed pop ups for each post on your blog. This is super powerful.

Pippity’s Power Filtering offers the best ability to turn pop ups into a complementary tool for giving your readers additional information and offers based on specific criteria.

Winner: Pippity

Analytics

PopUp Domination

The analytics capability is fairly simple. Basically you get a report on views and conversions for 1 month and 5 month timeframes.

 

Pippity analytics Why This Blogger Uses Popups  : Blog Promotion

Pippity

Pippity’s analytics offer a few more helpful options for deeper performance analysis. Options include full time-range filtering, time on page, and average time on pop up. This information along with power filtering will help the studious marketer zero-in on the best performing pop up variations.

Winner: Pippity

Split A/B Testing

Popup Domination

PUD will allow you to Split test two pop ups and keep track of the performance of each. This functionality is fairly straightforward and performance depends on your expertise with testing.

Pippity

Pippity’s Split A/B testing isn’t as robust as Popup Domination. Basically you can use the “clone” function to easily create minor pop up variations for testing. It’s up to you to compare and determine the effectiveness of each creative variation.

Pippity makes it easy to overlay the performance charts of two pop-ups to help determine the winner. However it seems that the Split A/B feature set is incomplete.

Winner: PopUp Domination

The Verdict:

Screen shot 2011 12 06 at 5.21.52 PM1 Why This Blogger Uses Popups  : Blog Promotion

Pippity is now the pop up that I use.  The popups will only show after you've the article you came to see.  It will only show once every 2 months.  But most of all, I'm working hard to offer specific information that pertains to the post you've read, that way you are not treated like "just another visitor".

I'm interested in what you think...talk to me in the comments below.

 

 

 

 


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  • http://www.donnaandtora.com Tora

    Great article, thanks. I didn’t get a popup though, either, so does that mean you’re not using it anymore? I am still on the fence about popups.

    • Stanford

      I’ve set my pop-up to only show in very specific circumstances. I only want to show it when the reader is comfortable with the blog.

  • Liz Jamieson

    Have you taken Poppity off the site? No pop-ups showed for me apart from the SimpleReach one at the bottom right.

    Poppity seems quite good from your review, however I’d like to see it offer slideups as well as pop-overs. Slideups that start from and remain at the bottom of the page don’t interfere with browsing as much as popups do.

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  • PurposeSocial

    Great article – thanks for the review! I’m sold on Pippity – now do you have a coupon code we can use or an affiliate link to give you credit for referring us? Thanks! Erin @PurposeSocial http://www.purposesocial.com

  • SallyE

    Stan: I’ve been wrestling with this whole pop-up idea and say that you were using Pippity. I looked it over and was impressed. As to the pop-up idea, if you are convinced it works, I’m going to take your word for it and give it a whirl. Thanks for taking the time to compare these two. What a time saver that was! -Sally

    • Stanford

      @SallyE Test, Test, Test! I care a lot about connecting with people via email here. Pippity is the tool to make that happen in a way that (hopefully) will keep my core readers happy. You have to see if it works for you.

  • GlennPWallis

    Interesting article thanks very much. As a relative newbie I had assumed pop-ups were out of fashion even though I have seen a few. I accept that I am in a sample of one, but as soon as I got to the bottom of this post and the pop-up appeared I closed it. So maybe there is a bit of a generational thing here in that those who were brought up on the net to see them as an interruption need re-educating, through articles like this.

    • Stanford

      @GlennPWallis Hey Glenn. Thanks for the feedback man. You know 99% of the folks who see the pop up close it. I just want to make sure that the pop up doesn’t interrupt you when you are trying to read the articles! It sounds like that it worked as advertised.

      The challenge now is creating article specific offers. I believe the best pop up strategy is for the offer to be so good and relevant that the reader don’t care that it’s a pop up