The sad truth is the majority of users spend under 15 seconds on a website without the intent to return. If you play your cards right, you can turn these visitors into leads and bring them back.
You probably have static forms and opt-ins that generate minimal conversions. Static sidebars convert around 0.4% (see the study) of users, but dynamic pop-up and slide-in overlay cards can convert 4-8x that. Dynamic pop-up and slide-in overlay cards are great tools to accomplish pattern interrupt, which reestablishes the visitor’s attention with an unexpected stimulus. We’ll talk about 5 ways to quadruple your website conversions using these dynamic overlay cards.
Think of getting a text message. Your phone dings or vibrates, breaking your concentration, spawning a necessitous response. The same holds true for these overlay cards. Their movement demands attention and with proper placement and timing they increase lead conversion.
There is an art to timing overlay cards properly. You want to strike while the iron is hot and gather leads that convert. There isn’t a concrete answer on which method produces the best results. Each method encompasses its own persona, it’s just a matter of how you want to project your brand and what your visitors respond to best.
Timing Overlay Cards:
You’re a dog that greets strangers with kisses at the front door.
Entrance overlays come up immediately upon opening a website. They are almost always presented as pop-ups and are typically considered the rudest since they ask you to subscribe before you truly know the value of the website’s content.
The home page of Crazy Egg, a web analytics platform, utilizes the idea of a full-page entrance overlay. It requests your website URL then your email in exchange for a heat map of your website. This method is like giving the visitor an ultimatum. The content on the other side of the card may be great, but the visitor has no way of knowing. Unless the visitor came specifically here for this heat map or already trusts the company, it is a big turn off and may end up not being the best solution for the visitor.
Without a doubt, entrance overlays will expand the number of subscribers you have, but we don’t recommend them unless your only concern is leads for leads sake. This method might inflate your subscription list with passive viewers instead of filling it with active leads.
- Exit Intent
You’re a carnivorous Venus Fly Trap that waits for traction before, literally, closing the deal.
Exit overlays are generally modal lightbox pop-ups that track user activity and launch when the mouse exits the window to close the page. Since the user is about to leave the page, this is the ideal opportunity to up the urgency and present them an offer or incentive to get them to convert into email subscribers.
Typically, exit overlays are used to sweeten the deal. For whatever reasons the user is leaving, an exit overlay may be the last opportunity to reengage a prospect, get a subscriber, or close a sale – just make sure it is focused on a benefit or interest of the visitor. Exit overlays also are particularly effective on high traffic SEO pages that have a high exit rate.
Neil Patel, a founder KissMetrics, a leading web analytics platform, offered a free consultation with exit-intent technology and increased his lead conversions by 46%. And, one of our customers gets hundreds of thousands of visits / year from their blog and, since implementing overlay cards, is getting thousands of conversions.
- Scroll Activated
You’re a chimpanzee that builds a resourceful tool before seeking food.
Scroll-activated overlays appear after the user has scrolled a certain percentage down the screen. They are great since they allow the user to see the quality of your content before appearing and requesting an action.
Generally, scroll-activated overlays are slide-ins used on blog posts. These are great to gather engaged subscribers or promote related materials like webinars, blogs, or ebooks. Good practice is to have them appear when the user is engaged with the content and will find the supplementary content intriguing. This gives the visitor time to familiarize themselves with the quality of content and doesn’t interrupt their concentration before deciding whether to subscribe.
Scroll activated overlays are best used on content that is of interest to the visitor and you want to hook them further. One of our clients uses scroll activated overlays on their public HTML whitepapers. Since the user is already finding use in the content, it is the perfect time to ask for a subscription or promote additional content.
- Time Activated
You’re a bat waiting until dusk for a feeding frenzy.
Time activated overlay cards are just how they sound. They appear after a certain amount of time, hopefully in that sweet spot between engagement and abandonment.
According to one study, that sweet spot is after the user has been on the page for 5 seconds. The idea is the user has enough time to see what the site is about, but not enough to get distracted. So, is 5 seconds the end all be all? Of course not. Another study found 10 seconds is the best time to allow users to interact with the content but still be interested when the card appears. Yet another study, from econsultancy, showed 15 seconds to be the most effective time. Other experts believe that 60 seconds is the best time to display that pop-up or slide-in. While waiting 60 seconds might result in fewer subscribers compared to 5-15 second displays, the quality of the leads will return much stronger.
While there isn’t a clear answer, these work well to allow the visitor time to get to know your content and choose if they want to commit to you. Really, the best way to determine ideal timing is to test out different display times on your website to see which result in the highest ROI.
One of the best places to display a timed overlay card is on the product page. Each visitor is at a different buying stage, which is reflected in their time spent looking at product solutions. One client used their analytics to find the average time visitors spent on the products page before converting. While they wanted more leads, they also wanted to provide a positive user experience for their target audience. They balanced these by displaying slide-in overlays after 5 seconds of being on a page and having it disappear after 30 seconds; they tested this method on five separate pages. After 30 days, these cards generated 5% of their total lead conversions. Notably, these cards have captured engaged leads that are converting into sales. Once the overlay cards are deployed to all pages, we anticipate they will generate 10-15% of their leads.
- Frequency of Display
You’re a bear hibernates and stores energy for opportune moments
Choosing how often to display overlay cards is just as important to consider as when they appear on the page. If a user does subscribe, you definitely do not want to ask them again. A better opportunity would be offering them personalized content. Now, if a user has been to your site before but chose not to subscribe, should you ask them again? This is where it gets a little more complicated.
Effective frequency is the idea that a prospect has to be shown a message a certain number of times (varies with the person) before they will convert or before they get irritated.
A study finds that the most effective overlays appear once in a 24-hour period. Other experts report that you should set them to appear once a week or once a month. But your customers are unique and so is your content; the only way to really know how your conversions will change is by testing it out! Ultimately, how often you choose to display overlays cards really depends on the visitor. Where they are coming from, why they are there, and what you’re offering need to be considered when choosing how often to display the cards. The more engaged the visitor is, the more likely they are to convert on your offer. To make sure your visitor is engaged, a great rule of thumb is to display the card after a certain number of pageviews or after they visit certain pages.
Pro-tip: If you want to display the overlay more frequently, make sure you have an easy to see and click/touch close button.
Time to Get Popping
Overlay cards are excellent ways to draw attention and increase your subscriber list. Remember that choosing when to display them will give your site a personality that interacts with the user. Test out different timing and frequency intervals to see what converts the best for your visitors.