Mobile device

Pop up windows on a mobile device

small Mobile deviceIt can’t be denied that pop up windows are one of the most annoying types of ads, especially if they occur on mobile devices. The touch-screen of a mobile device is often so small that it’s impossible to smoothly move or close the ad. Besides, they are normally so big that they cover our entire screen! This often results in unwanted frustration and ceasing the browsing.

If you’ve ever come across such ads, you’ll know exactly what we mean. And yet, many website owners still use this system, wanting to encourage their audience to make a purchase by advertising their products in such way. In other cases, they desperately want to evoke a conversation by throwing the pop up chat window at the potential customer.

But if such methods are your type of advertising, then then at least make sure that this process is carried out rationally. So how do you find the best solution to this issue? Is it possible to both to take care of the mobile customer and display an advertisement? Read on to find out!

Pop up windows aren’t appreciated by Google

Unfortunately, it’s not just the users who dislike the pop ups, Google is also against this method of self-promotion. The mere presence of general ads on the website theoretically doesn’t affect the ranking position of a website in a search engine, but the presence of onerous advertisements which in turn worsens the usability and responsivity of a website, may do so. However, whatever people and search engines may regard of pop ups, they are nonetheless a very effective type of advertising which increases overall conversions. The total abandonment of their use doesn’t have to be done, but under one condition: their design and means of displaying should be done cleverly, so that we, the audiences and search engines are all satisfied.

Poorly designed pop up windows for smartphones and tablets

mobileIn August 2016, an article appeared on Google’s blog with tips and guidelines for designing pop ups for mobile devices. Complying with these guidelines meant that Google would exalt the obedient websites and punish those that use the ad-form in a prohibited way. Google has been applying even harsher practices ever since 10th January 2017 – since then it has been able to reduce and lower the position of websites that do not follow the ‘recommendations’ – because they argue that by then it gave website owners enough time to adjust to new rules.

But what precisely is this breaking of ‘recommendations’? Well, first of all: displaying pop ups that appear immediately after entering the website i.e. those that overwrite the written content displayed when the page is first loaded (the user must close the ad manually to enter the site). Google treats this application as harassment of the user who comes online to enjoy himself but is instead greeted with a spam of ads. Secondly, pop ups in the page headers are also frowned upon, because they distract and potentially discourage the user.

Pop up windows on a mobile device – recommendations

The main problem that Google has with the pup ups is that they annoy and potentially discourage the internet user from further browsing. This is why pop ups may still be used, but in a moderate and tolerable way, so that the user doesn’t get frustrated with them – preferably so that he/she isn’t forced to perceive this ad. Read our recommendation list below to find out what you should be doing in order to create a perfect, rule-abiding pop up ad.


Pop up windows cannot take up too much space – rather, they shouldn’t exceed ¼ of the screen height. Ideally, they should be responsive, i.e. easily closed down or minimised and their size should automatically adapt to the size of the screens of different devices. For example, you don’t want the same sized ad on Iphone 4 appearing on a 14” tablet, it’ll be way to small! So perfect balance needs to be found and met.

The close button

As mentioned above, pop ups should be easy to close and minimise. If your close button is small, unresponsive or worst of all fake! then forget about meeting Google’s criteria, you’ll get punished straight away. The button should ideally be set in the standard place (the top right corner of the window) and be large enough for the user to locate it. There shouldn’t be any other clickable elements next to the button either, as the user may accidentally click on them to close the ad which is probably not the aim. Your ad can’t be a deceptive bait, be honest about your advertising, and if you’re creating something that would harass or frustrate you, then it’s likely that you’re not doing the average user any favours, and potentially risking a punishment from Google. It’s simply not worth it.

Background underneath the pop up window

Darkening the background under the pop up window until action (like ad closure) is taken is a very bad practice. A pop up cannot cover the remaining contents of the page. This violates one of the most important points Google is making, you are forcing the user to see and take action with your ad. They’re not friendly nor favourable.

The right amount of time to display your ad

It’s certain that pop ups shouldn’t pop out straight after the user enters have entered the website. It’s much better to display your ad content when the user views 75% of the page content, e.g. he/she scrolls down, and then stumbles upon a pop up ad which is nicely weaved in between the text paragraphs thus it doesn’t interfere with the text content, nor does it force the user to close it down or even pay attention to it. Likewise, if the user aims to leave the site, after, say an article has been fully read, only then an interfering pop up can be released, because the user has completed the action he/she desired and is now ready to notice an ad that does not block away the sight of the text, products, features they are browsing.

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