Exit Intent Popups Explained

Last updated on Nov 08, 2023

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Exit Intent Popups Explained

Exit Intent Popups are considered to be one of the most effective tools for generating subscribers. As the name suggests, these popups are normally triggered when a user is about the leave the site. They show up in the form of an opt-in form or an advertisement and are often used as a last-ditch effort to keep the user longer on the website, get them to sign up for newsletters, or create conversions by offering special deals or discounts on your subscription.

While these exit intent popups are a great tool to increase conversions, overusing them could annoy users and result in a negative experience, harming the website’s reputation. It is important to use exit intent popups thoughtfully.

How do Exit Intent Popups work?

The purpose of an exit intent popup is to keep the user on the website for longer and suggest they carry out one more action. This can be signing up for a newsletter, reading your latest article, or subscribing to your podcast among other actions. These popups show up only if the user’s browsing pattern suggests that they may bounce after reading the first few lines of an article. For instance, if the mouse is directed toward the ‘close window’ option or the ‘open new tab’ option, then the exit intent popup may be triggered asking users to subscribe or opt for a free trial of their paid content.

The popup can also show up at the end of a news video clip, asking the user to sign up for a paid subscription that offers premium content on the website. These popups need to be triggered strategically and can be different based on the browsing habit of the user.

In the case of a digital publisher, if a user is about to leave the website after reading a small portion of an article, an exit intent popup can be triggered to offer them to read your latest article, watch your latest videos, or listen to your podcast, luring them back in. Asking users for their email addresses in exchange for access to exclusive stories or a discount on your paywall subscription is also an effective way to generate more subscribers.

Apart from this, exit intent popups can also be triggered to regain visitors by offering a free service. For instance, you can offer an additional article to read or even a free limited-time trial to paid subscriptions. News websites can also use exit intent popups to lead users to their social media accounts, to build subscribers on social platforms.

Do Exit Intent Popups work on Mobile? 

Yes, mobile browsers bring in a lot of traffic to websites these days. Therefore, exit intent popups are equally important to both desktop and mobile layouts. For mobile, the trigger points for exit intent popups are different. For instance, they can be triggered when a user presses the back button, or scrolls only a small part of the article. The popup could also trigger when the user leaves the page idle for a long time or decides to switch between tabs in a browser. The popup tools also gauge the exit intent when the user starts scrolling upwards on the mobile website instead of downwards. It is important to create a different kinds of exit intent popup designs for desktop and mobile sites.

Why Should News Publishers Use Exit Intent Popup

An exit-intent popup can be used by a news publisher to sign up for a newsletter, follow them on social media, and take some action to keep them engaged with the publisher's content. For example, a news publisher could use an exit-intent popup to offer users a discount on a subscription or an exclusive report in exchange for providing their email address.

Ultimately, the decision to use an exit-intent popup will depend on the publisher's goals and audience, as well as the specific context and layout of their website. It's essential to test different approaches and gather data to determine what works best for a particular publisher and audience.

10 Scenarios Where Exit-Intent Can be Used

Here are ten examples of exit-intent popups that are well-designed and have the potential to be effective:

  • A discount code: Offer a discount on a product or service to encourage users to purchase before leaving the site.
  • A newsletter sign-up form: Encourage users to sign up for a newsletter or other regular content by offering them a relevant incentive.
  • A free trial offer: Offer a free trial of a product or service in exchange for a user's email address.
  • A lead magnet: Offer a valuable piece of content, such as an e-book or guide, in exchange for a user's email address.
  • A survey or feedback form: Gather feedback or insights from users by asking them to take a survey before leaving the site.
  • A social media follow: Encourage users to follow the brand on social media by offering them a relevant incentive.
  • A special offer or promotion: Offer a special deal or promotion to users who are about to leave the site.
  • A live chat: Offer live chat support to users who are about to leave the site and may have questions or concerns.
  • A retargeting offer: A special deal or promotion to users who have already visited the site, but are about to leave.
  • A video: Play a video that explains the value of a product or service and encourages users to take action before leaving the site.

These are just a few examples of exit-intent popups that can be used effectively. The key is to design and execute the popup in a way that is relevant, valuable, and non-intrusive to the user.

How to Create a Good Popup

There are various popup plugins that offer ready templates that you can work with while creating exit intent popups. Users can try plugins like OptinMonster, HubSpot, Yeloni, Thrive Leads, etc. Choosing the right template or creating the right popup is essential for an increase in conversion rates. A good exit intent popup needs to have an immediate effect on the user, with an easy-to-understand copy, and bring added value to the user.

  • Design

Sync the exit intent popup with the color palette of your website. It should be pleasing to the eye and be designed differently for both mobile and desktop devices. The placement of your popup, the amount of space it takes up on the screen, the font of the text, and all of these details are extremely important to consider while designing the exit intent popup. 

  • Image

Exit intent popups often contain images to support the service or deal they are offering. These images need to be impactful and clearly give out the message that the popup intends to deliver. These images can be in-house generated one or sourced from free stock image websites like Pexels. If the image is too loud, then it could distract the user from the offer, and that can be purpose-defeating. Some popups do not require an image at all, so choose wisely.

  • Copy

The copy of the exit intent popup depends totally on what the website is trying to communicate. If it is an offer, then the communication should be bold and upfront. If it is persuading the user to sign up for its newsletter, then the communication should include the benefits of giving their email ID. A gauging headline with a short description should do the job of communicating the message. Too much text could disinterest the user easily. The copy should be crisp, to the point, and impactful all at the same time.

  • Call to Action

A simple call to action is extremely important. Words like ‘Enter your email ID here’ or ‘Click on Subscribe’ make it easy for the user to understand the next steps, thereby leading to conversions. If your exit intent popup offers a coupon code for a discount, then call-to-actions like ‘Click to get coupon code’ or ‘Get 15% Off Here’ are good examples. News publishers can also use motivational words as CTAs.

  • A/B testing

Running A/B tests help understand which exit intent popup design or strategy works better. You can create multiple designs and test them together to understand which works best for your site and customer base. News publishers may have to do several tests to understand what works for them and tweak their strategy in a way that brings them the most conversions. A/B testing is essential to understand what will work better on the website.

Examples of Exit Intent popups

Some of the most effective exit intent popup are applied by brands like GQ, Skullcandy, Cosmopolitan, Coursera, Zendesk, and more.

  • GQ


GQ pulls up a popup to ask users to sign up for their newsletter called GQ Daily. The design is minimalistic and the copy is crisp.

  • Skullcandy


The Skullcandy popup asks for the user's email ID in exchange for a discount and the chance to win a bicycle. The image of the Wu-Tang Klunker is impactful and the text is very minimal. The CTA which is ‘Get 20% Off Now’ is effective.

  • Cosmopolitan


Cosmopolitan tries to attract its readers with useful hacks and tips around makeup. Their CTA in the popup is aptly called ‘Unlock The Secret Hacks’. It’s a very effective exit intent popup that plays very well with the curiosity of the reader.

  • Coursera


Coursera uses the popup plugin to understand how the user heard about their brand. It asks the viewer to take a survey which just takes up ‘5 minutes’ of their time. This is a good example of one of the many ways in which the exit intent popup can be used. 

  • Zendesk


Zendesk offers a snapshot of its dashboard to let users understand what it offers, and how it compares to what they are already using. The popup leads them to a free demo, which will then eventually help generate more leads. 

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Tasneem Akolawala
Tasneem Akolawala
Tasneem Akolawala has been a senior journalist with over 10 years of experience. Over the years, she has tracked tech news, covered live events, reviewed gadgets, and wrote features. She has worked with Zee Media, Time Out, BGR India, and NDTV in the past. In her free time, she loves to read fiction, DIY things, and binge on Netflix.

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