What Is a Time-Based Popup? A Comprehensive Guide
By Emil Kristensen CMO
@ Sleeknote

Have you ever visited a website and a popup appeared on your screen, asking you to subscribe to their newsletter or offering you a discount code? If you have, then you have encountered a time-based popup. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore all aspects of time-based popups, from their benefits to best practices, case studies, and mistakes to avoid. Let’s get started!

Why Use Time-Based Popups on Your Website?

Time-based popups are a powerful marketing tool for website owners and online businesses. They allow you to capture the attention of your website visitors and convert them into subscribers or customers. By offering a discount code or a freebie, you can incentivize visitors to take an action on your website, such as making a purchase, subscribing to your newsletter, or following your social media accounts.

Moreover, time-based popups can help you increase your website conversions. According to a study by Sumo, top-performing popups have an average conversion rate of 9.3%. This means that for every 100 visitors, you can convert 9 of them into subscribers or customers.

How Time-Based Popups Work

Time-based popups are triggered by a set of rules, based on the time a visitor has spent on your website or the number of pages they have visited. For example, you can set a rule that triggers a popup after 30 seconds of website visit or when a visitor has scrolled down to a specific section on your page.

To create a time-based popup, you can use a popup builder tool, such as OptinMonster, Hello Bar, or Sumo. These tools allow you to choose from a variety of popup templates and customize them according to your branding and message. You can also add opt-in forms, images, videos, or buttons to your popups to make them more engaging and compelling.

Types of Time-Based Popups

There are several types of time-based popups that you can use on your website, depending on your goals and audience.

  • Exit-intent popups: These popups are triggered when a visitor is about to leave your website, such as moving their cursor towards the close button or back button. They usually offer a last-minute offer or discount code to persuade visitors to stay on your website.
  • Timed popups: These popups are triggered after a specific time period, such as 30 seconds, 1 minute, or 5 minutes, of website visit. They usually offer a discount code or freebie to incentivize visitors to take an action.
  • Scroll-based popups: These popups are triggered when a visitor has scrolled down to a specific section on your page, such as the end of a blog post or the product page. They usually offer a related content or product suggestion to guide visitors towards the next step.

Best Practices for Designing Time-Based Popups

To create effective and engaging time-based popups, you need to follow some best practices, such as:

  • Keep it simple and to the point: Your popup should have a clear message and a strong call-to-action. Avoid cluttering your popup with too many elements or information.
  • Use eye-catching visuals: Use high-quality images or videos that are relevant to your message and branding. Avoid using stock images or generic visuals.
  • Offer a clear value proposition: Your popup should offer a benefit or incentive that is relevant and valuable to your audience. Avoid using generic or vague promises.
  • Make it mobile-friendly: Your popup should be optimized for mobile devices, as more than 50% of website traffic now comes from mobile.
  • Add a clear close button: Your popup should have an easy-to-find close button or a clear way for visitors to dismiss it.

The Pros and Cons of Time-Based Popups

Like any marketing tool, time-based popups have their own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore them in detail.


  • They can increase your website conversions and lead generation.
  • They can help you grow your email list and social media followers.
  • They can improve your website user engagement and bounce rate.
  • They can offer valuable insights into your audience behavior and preferences.


  • They can annoy some visitors and hurt your website credibility.
  • They can slow down your website loading time and affect SEO.
  • They can reduce your website user experience and accessibility.
  • They can attract low-quality leads or subscribers who are only interested in the freebie or discount code.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Time-Based Popups

To measure the impact of your time-based popups, you need to track some key metrics, such as:

  • Conversion rate: The percentage of website visitors who completed the desired action, such as making a purchase or subscribing to your newsletter.
  • Engagement rate: The percentage of visitors who interacted with your popup, such as clicking on a button or watching a video.
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors who left your website without taking any action or exploring other pages.
  • Revenue or ROI: The amount of money generated from your time-based popups compared to the cost of creating and running them.

Case Studies: Successful Implementation of Time-Based Popups

Let’s take a look at some real-life examples of websites that successfully used time-based popups to increase their conversions and grow their audience.

1. ConversionXL

ConversionXL used a time-based popup to offer a free ebook on landing page optimization. The popup appeared after 30 seconds of website visit and had a clear benefit proposition and a simple opt-in form. As a result, ConversionXL increased its email subscribers by 80%, and the ebook became its most successful lead magnet.

2. Silver Jewellery Club

Silver Jewellery Club used an exit-intent popup to offer a 10% discount code on the first purchase. The popup had an eye-catching design and a personalized message that addressed the visitor by name. As a result, Silver Jewellery Club increased its conversions by 26%, and the campaign generated a 250% ROI.

3. Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo used a scroll-based popup to offer a free trial of its content analysis tool. The popup appeared at the end of a blog post and had a clear value proposition and an easy-to-find opt-in form. As a result, Buzzsumo increased its trial signups by 20%, and the campaign generated a 300% ROI.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Time-Based Popups

To avoid hurting your website credibility and annoying your visitors, you need to avoid some common mistakes, such as:

  • Using aggressive language: Avoid using pushy or manipulative language, such as “Don’t miss this exclusive offer!” or “Claim your freebie now or regret it later!”
  • Using too many popups: Avoid bombarding your visitors with too many popups or campaigns. This can lead to popup fatigue and reduce your user experience.
  • Not testing your popups: Avoid assuming that your first popup design or message will work perfectly. Always test different variations and metrics to find the best performing popup for your audience.
  • Not providing value: Avoid using irrelevant or generic offers or promises. Always provide a clear and valuable benefit proposition that is relevant to your audience needs and preferences.

Tips for A/B Testing Your Time-Based Popups

To optimize your time-based popups and improve their performance, you need to conduct A/B testing on some elements, such as:

  • Headline: Test different variations of your headline or message to see which one resonates better with your audience.
  • Image or video: Test different visuals or formats to see which one increases engagement and conversions.
  • Call to action: Test different wording or placement of your CTA button to see which one encourages more clicks.
  • Timing or frequency: Test different rules or intervals for triggering your popup to see which one is the most effective and least intrusive.

Integrating Your Time-Based Popups with Other Marketing Strategies

To maximize the impact of your time-based popups, you can integrate them with other marketing strategies, such as:

  • Email marketing: Use your popups to grow your email list and send targeted campaigns to your subscribers.
  • Social media marketing: Use your popups to promote your social media accounts and increase your followers.
  • Content marketing: Use your popups to offer related content or lead magnets that guide your visitors towards the next step.
  • Retargeting advertising: Use your popups to retarget visitors who have left your website with a personalized offer or discount code.

Tools and Platforms for Creating Effective Time-Based Popups

Here are some of the most popular and effective tools and platforms for creating time-based popups:

  • OptinMonster: A powerful and versatile popup builder tool that offers a wide range of templates and targeting rules.
  • Hello Bar: A simple and affordable popup builder tool that focuses on exit-intent popups and lead capture.
  • Sumo: A comprehensive suite of marketing tools, including popup builder, social share buttons, and email marketing integration.
  • Mailchimp: A popular email marketing platform that offers a popup builder tool and a wide range of automation and segmentation options.


Time-based popups are a valuable and effective marketing tool for website owners and online businesses. By offering a clear and compelling value proposition, you can capture the attention and engagement of your visitors and convert them into subscribers or customers. However, to create successful time-based popups, you need to follow best practices, avoid common mistakes, and test and track your metrics. With the right approach and tools, you can optimize your time-based popups and maximize their impact on your website conversions and growth.