Email acquisition: to pop or not to pop?

Email address acquisition is core to the strategy of all marketers. The rise in “Join My Email List” popups that you see across every site you browse is a clear indicator of this. These popups make it easy for a marketer to grow their email list and remarket to high intent consumers.

The trade off is bounce rate. Consumers are often discouraged by the popup – and aside from closing it – may just leave the site entirely.

Every website should focus on growing their email list

Despite email being one of the oldest forms of digital communication, its still the most important key to interacting with a consumer on a long-term basis.

We see eCommerce sites like Sockwork offering a special offer incentive to join their email list (and they then convert those emails into ongoing customers). Content sites like Ravishly use email to send a weekly news digest. And then even non-digital businesses – such as Uncle Maddio’s Pizza – are focused on adding emails so they can remarket and drive in-store sales.


What to look for in email acquisition tools

There are many email acquisition tools out there. Some email marketing platforms provide their own “Join My Email List” widgets that can be installed on a website. And then there are third-party providers. What are the key things to look for? We believe there are three main features you want in an email acquisition widget:

1) Ease of Integration: How easy is it to install this widget on my website? Does the widget have a plugin to my website management software (WordPress, Weebly, Shopify, etc) to make installation even easier?

2) Customization of Popup: How flexible is the customization of the popup? Can I A/B test different popups to see which one performs better for my goals? Can I specify rules around when the popup should and shouldn’t appear?

3) Data Output: Once I collect an email address, then what? Some acquisition tools make it easy to auto-sync the email address with email marketing software, while others force a manual export. And then there are some tools that will send a simple auto-responder for you.

Should your widget popup? The data:

At Privy, we have a free email collection widget that any website can install to grow their email list and sync the emails with their email marketing software like Constant Contact or Mailchimp. The widget can be customized to “auto-pop” after a certain amount of seconds, or not pop at all. So what is the difference in email collection rate with the popup on vs. off?

We were able to aggregate data on email collection rates, bounce rates, and popup times across our network of ~2300 sites that use our widget. Here are the results.


Our data shows that you can increase your rate of email collection by ~600% by showing the popup Instantly or in within 1 second, compared with a 5+ second delay. The trade off in bounce rate is that a quicker popup will increase bounce rate by about 33% compared with a longer 5+ second delay.

Email acquisition: to pop or not to pop?

A business should consider their average value of an email address compared with their average value of an engaged unique website user to make the best calculation on what they should do. And test! But our data shows that there is a clear advantage in more aggressively collecting email addresses.

Dan Scudder

Dan Scudder is VP Business Development at Privy, a marketing platform focused on helping retailers grow their email list and convert them to in-store customers.