The Disadvantages of Pop Up Ads

By Lee Morgan

Pop up advertising on the Internet was once seen typically as a sneaky way to advertise adult websites and illegal software downloads, but today they are common on major commercial websites, advertising everything from car insurance to cell phone ringtones. The ads are triggered when a user navigates to a page or moves the mouse over a particular portion of a page, causing the ad banner to "pop up" to the foreground. Advertisers use this strategy as a way to force computer users to see their advertising, but there are some disadvantages associated with this practice.


According to the AKA Marketing website, pop up ads are 50 percent more likely to be noticed by computer users than a typical stationary banner ad on a website. But they are also 100 percent more likely to be considered intrusive. Web surfers feel they are having a product's advertising forced down their throats when it pops up while they are trying to read or view content on a website.

While pop ups are effective in one way, meaning consumers will have more familiarity with the product, the hostility the user can sometimes feel toward the intrusion can hurt the reputation of the brand and even drive visitors away from the product. It can even make people avoid certain content sites where the pop ups tend to be a regular occurrence.

Pop Up Blockers

If consumers never see advertising, then it obviously serves no purpose. While banner ads will appear regardless, a pop up ad can be blocked by specialized software. Many browsers have a pop up blocker that will prevent the ad from appearing on the page. If a user's browser will not block the ads, then free software can be downloaded to take care of the task. As pop up advertising becomes more rampant on the Internet, the use of this type of software will become more commonplace. Once blocking software is widespread, the effectiveness of pop up ads will be severely diminished.


Websites that allow advertising on their pages can charge the advertiser for the placement of the ads. Often, the rate that they get for allowing the advertising on the site is based on the amount of traffic the site generates for the advertiser. This is often measured in the number of "clicks" the ad actually gets each month.

If a company's site only generates 20 clicks per month on a pop up ad, they will be hard pressed to charge $500 per month for the privilege of appearing on the page. But if they generate 10,000 clicks per month, it can be worth it. But the downside is that each time a user clicks on the intrusive pop up ad, the user's attention is redirected to the advertiser and away from the site's content. In addition, if he clicks the pop up, it will take the user to the advertiser's website, potentially making him forget about the original content site to begin with. This creates a conflict for some sites that actually want their own information to be read or viewed. So, the increased effectiveness of pop up ads can actually make this type of advertising less desirable for the site.