Love ’em or Hate ’em, Pop-up Ads Work

By Bob West

The pop-up, roadblock or interstitial web ad… You know the one — it suddenly shows up right in front of you as you peruse your favorite site, forcing you to take action before you can resume your activity. You absolutely hate these ads, right? Of course you do. But it’s highly likely this ad interests you more than the other ads on the page.

A new study conducted by Ipsos ASI surveyed more than 3,000 web users regarding their attitudes toward different high-impact web ads, and the larger, more interruptive ads scored the highest.

Meister Media’s analysis of nealry 1,400 ads from its eight different B2B websites in 2013 certainly underscores the effectiveness of these ad units — pop-ups generated an average click-through rate of 2.66% last year, compared to an average click-through rate of 0.38% for all other display ads.

The study “found bigger ads drove more brand recall, since consumers are likely to remember big ads that interrupt their Web surfing,” according to an article on “But it is surprising that respondents said they liked full-screen takeovers the best. These ads received likability scores that were 30 to 49 percent higher than standard display units, according to [the study].”

These figures run counter to the current buzz regarding online ads, which favors integrating online advertising into the look, feel and flow of websites via ‘native ads.’ The study’s authors don’t discount the value of native ads, but they suggest that the ability to make an ad look like content on a website can limit the likelihood of the audience remembering the ad.

These high-impact ad units aren’t right for every company or for every situation, but they clearly warrant attention from companies looking to make an impact with their advertising.

The author is the Director of Interactive Sales for Meister Media. He can be reached at 440/602-9129 or