Mobile Email Popups: how to build your email list on mobile devices and keep your visitors happy

This goes absolutely without saying – we live in a primarily mobile world.

It really doesn’t matter what products or services you’re promoting; you always need to put the mobile users’ needs first.

And there’s plenty of data to prove it:

For example, traffic from mobile devices has already surpassed its desktop counterpart.

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Mobile market share seriously challenges desktop too. Just take a look at the recent trend here in Australia:

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Heck, even Google openly refers to their users as primary mobile. Here’s an excerpt from one of their recent announcements:

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But here’s the trick:

In spite of all this, a year ago the search engine tightened their mobile email popups and overlays rules.

As a result, many online retailers consider them now as potentially detrimental to their business’ growth.

But are they really?

Absolutely not!

And in this post, I’ll show you how to successfully use mobile popups to boost sales and grow your list (without evoking the search engine’s wrath, at that).

Interested? Let’s get right to it.

Why You Actually Have No Option But To Use Mobile Popups

Look, the numbers speak for themselves – the mobile market is huge.

Here, just take a look the Australian market alone:

  • 14.9M of Australians use their smartphones every day. (source)
  • Smartphone ownership goes up by 2% year on year. (source)
  • And, according to a study conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Australia,45% of consumers said they purchased a product via a mobile device. (source)

Now combine that with typical results online retailers achieve with popups: Wisepops clients, on average, see email popups convert at about 5.9%

Mobile popups can help you convert a huge number of potential customers into leads. 

And if you’re wondering how – the answer lies in our buying behavior.

Because you see, often, we start the buying process on a smartphone, in a rush, far from the comfort of the favorite chair, couch or even the privy…

And more and more of us actually complete the purchase on their device too.

Here’s a breakdown of how we use our devices according to research by Google:

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Furthermore, smartphones have become our primary devices to search for information:

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And finally, a third of us use smartphones for shopping, both away and at home.

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OK Greg, but what’s the significance of this for me, I hear you ask…

Just think about it. Smartphones have become the main device your customers use to initiate a purchase.

And so, if you don’t convert them to your mailing list at that point, you actually might not get another chance.



But don’t beat yourself up too hard if you’ve been discounting mobile popups so far.

Soon, you’ll know exactly how to use them to convert more visitors.

So, without any further ado…

How to Use Mobile Popups to Convert Smartphone Users into Your List

#1. Set Up Dedicated Campaigns That Target Only Smartphone Visitors

First things first, don’t display the same popup to mobile and desktop visitors.

In fact, using that same popup for both is exactly what could get your site penalized by Google.

Why, because when displayed on mobile, desktop popups tend to obstruct user experience by covering the content they wanted to read.

Just take a look at the visual below. It shows the types of popups Google considers too intrusive.

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They cover most of the screen, and in the process, prevent a person from consuming the content they’ve come to the site for.

(Note, this problem is incomparably less severe on a desktop, where a popup covers only a fraction of the screen. Plus, you can position it naturally out of a person’s way.)

However, you can overcome this challenge by creating a mobile-only popup that meets Google’s quality criteria:

Using only a reasonable amount of screen space and being easily dismissible.

And the good news is, it’s not even that hard to do.

Our platform, for example, gives you the option to specify devices on which a popup will show.

And what about not triggering a Google’s penalty?

As said above, the search engine’s main concern is user experience. And so, as long as your popup doesn’t obstruct the content on the page, Google will consider it correct.

Here’s an example of mobile email popup that shows only on smartphones and passes Google’s quality criteria:

See how it covers only a small portion of the screen, about 25% – 30%?

But specifically, what would be the acceptable size, then?

To calculate it, we need to first look at the most popular screen size. In Australia, for example, most users have phones with screens at 750×1334 pixels.

Overall, however, the most common screen size is 780 x 1280, with a huge market share across multiple regions.

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[Note: You can also establish the exact breakdown of popular screen sizes in your target market here.]

And so, if we take 25% as the maximum height for your popup, then it should be no more than 320px high (25% of 1280 pixels)

In Australian market, you could probably create a slightly bigger popup, at 333px (25% of 1334 pixels)

#2. Use a Trigger to Display the Campaign

This is another strategy that will make your popup more user-friendly (and help you avoid a potential penalty).

Because you see, your popup doesn’t actually have to jump out on a person’s screen at all.

At least not without a person activating it first.

How’s that possible? With a popup tab, a non-intrusive call-to-action you display instead of a popup. By clicking on the tab, a user activates the popup.

Here’s an example of a popup tab. Note the “Get $10 button” in the bottom left of the screen.

Here’s another example, showing both the tab and the full popup it activates.

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But why tabs work so well?

First, they don’t interrupt a person in their journey through your site. Instead, they give them the opportunity to consume your marketing message when they’re ready for it.

And two, they also give them the option to go back to it if they’ve clicked it off by accident.

#3. Exclude Conversion Pages from the Campaign

I’m sure this goes without saying:

You should never interrupt a visitor who’s just about to hand you over their money.

Obvious, right?

And for that reason, always exclude conversion pages like cart and checkout from the mobile popup campaign.

Target only the browsing behavior, as at this stage; your visitors are the most likely to respond positively to your offer.

Closing Thoughts

Goes without saying, no? If you want to grow your business, you need to consider the needs of your mobile visitors seriously.

And as it happens, this also includes ensuring that you use the right strategy to engage and then, convert them into leads and customers.

After reading this post, you should have a good idea how mobile popups can help you achieve it.
Best of luck.

The author: Greg is head of Customer Success at WisePops, a website popup solution. You can follow WisePops on Twitter.