Why You Shouldn’t Use Modal Ads

Believe it or not, there was once a time when ads had free rein to pop up as many times as they liked.

The Opera browser was the first to use pop-up blockers that now stop this from happening, and has since made them almost a thing of the past. Today, websites have found a way around pop-up blockers, through modal ads.

Have you ever gone to a site in the hopes of finding the information you’re looking for, but suddenly get stopped by a pop-up asking for your email? These ads that seem to pop up when you enter a site are modal ads, and according to a recent survey, they are considered one of the most disliked styles of ads. It’s no wonder why. Modal ads are often impossible to minimize and block the viewer from seeing the content on the web page. This is a major reason as to why people have rated it the worst type of ad that is currently being used on the internet. But if they’re so disliked then why are so many brands using them on their websites?

Well, the unfortunate truth is that modal ads work, at least for the advertiser’s purposes. The logic is that if you nag enough site visitors, a fraction of them will provide their email address, which may later be used to flood your inbox with promotions and other marketing materials. Although they know that only a small amount of people will provide their email and the rest will leave the page, they would rather increase their conversions than stop irritating their site visitors.

You’re probably thinking, “Well if it works, then why not use it”? One of the biggest reasons is that everyone and their mother hates them. A recent survey done by Nielsen Norman Group asked 452 participants to rate their dislike for different forms of ads on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being the strongest dislike. Modal ads were rated a 5.94 for mobile and a 5.82 on a desktop, with the overall score for all ads being 5.23. If you’re still not convinced, take a look at the millions of people who express their hatred for it on Reddit! There is a reason pop-up ads are no longer around, they frustrated web users and drove traffic away.

So what do we recommend that you do if we don’t suggest modal ads? Gather the email addresses of your site visitors by creating value for them in subscribing to your newsletter. By creating useful content that visitors want to subscribe to, or premium content and promotions only available to email subscribers, you can encourage visitors to divulge their contact details without harassing and annoying them.