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9 Intelligent Ways to Use Exit-Intent Campaigns (The Right Way)

  • Conversion Rate Optimization

Popups are ugly, intrusive and above all, worse of all, hurt the user experience…

…But NOT if you follow best practices (and ignore what everyone else is doing).

The truth is, a good exit-intent campaign CAN provide value and give visitors a reason to stay on your website.

In this article, I’ll show you how top e-commerce brands are using intelligent exit-intent popups to turn their browsers into buyers.

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1. Use Cookies to Target Specific Visitor Segments

Most consumers love to hate cookies.

But for marketers, cookies are useful because they give more information about a visitor’s behavior.

One of the most important aspects of an exit-intent popup (or any popup for that matter), is showing it to the right visitor.

And that’s where cookies can help you.

Cookies will let you know a visitor’s browsing history on your site if they’re logged in, clicked a link, added an item to their favorites, and more. Cookies also enable you to identify existing subscribers and hide your campaigns from them.

So, use cookies to make your campaigns more relevant.

Remember: these visitors are about to leave your site, so you have to give value if you want them to convert into a lead.

For example, let’s say a visitor browses your site and visits three different speaker product pages. Each visit leaves a cookie for that specific page, so the visitor now has three different cookies all indicating an interest in speakers.

Then, all of a sudden, the visitor chooses to leave your site.

You know they have an interest in speakers, so why not catch them before they leave and try to recapture their interest?

Here’s an example from Bang & Olufsen:

This campaign doesn’t use exit-intent, but it does illustrate how you can use cookies to provide relevant offers to abandoning visitors.

Here’s an example of what those cookies could be:

Takeaway: Create content for your exit-intent popups based on the information you have on your visitors. Create different campaigns that trigger on different cookies to determine what works best for your site.

2. Collect Feedback from Abandoning Visitors

As marketers, we’re always trying to get into the minds of our target audience. We want to know how they think, so we can market to them more effectively.

And the best way to learn what makes your visitors tick is to ask them. Or, even better, ask them when they’re about to leave your site.

Here’s an example from Novasol (the largest vacation home rental business in Northern Europe):

When visitors go to leave the Novasol website, this campaign shows, asking them two simple questions about their experience.

Here it is in English:

They’ve tested this campaign on their German and Danish website, and their results are impressive.

Novasol gathered 18,300+ responses from this campaign alone.

This type of campaign works because visitors are able to answer the questions directly in the popup. What’s more, Novasol lets visitors know what the survey is for and inform them that their answers are anonymous.

When surveying with exit-intent popups, limit the number of questions you ask. Visitors that are leaving your site don’t have the patience to answer more than three to four questions.

A lot of businesses incentivize participation by using as a discount code or a gift certificate. But this isn’t always effective because it can lower the quality of the participant’s answers.

If you ask visitors for their feedback—without an incentive—you’ll get better insights that you can then use to improve the user experience on your site.

Your exit-intent survey should only appear on relevant pages, depending on the questions you ask.

Here are a few examples of how you can use exit-intent surveys on different pages on your site:

  • Receipt page: Ask customers to rate their shopping experience
  • Pages with a high bounce rate: Ask visitors why they’re leaving. (You can use radio buttons or a comment field.)
  • Product pages: Ask visitors about their website experience or whether they found what they were looking for. (If not, why?)

Only your imagination limits what you can ask abandoning visitors, providing you keep it simple.

Takeaway: Create different exit-intent surveys for different pages. If you ask open-ended questions, add placeholder text to encourage people to elaborate on their answers. You can also use drop-downs to make it easy for people to answer directly in the popup.

3. Translate Your Popups for Different Audiences

It’s an ongoing discussion among marketers whether to translate ad copy based on each target market.

Often, translations are done quickly and without consideration for cultural differences.

Just think about when Pepsi tried to introduce their product to the Chinese market with the slogan: “Pepsi Brings You Back to Life.”

In Chinese, the translation read: “We bring your ancestors back from the grave.” Not good, especially considering how important ancestor worship is in Chinese culture.

But what about popups that appear on your website?

The answer is, if your website is multilingual, you need to translate all your popups into the target market’s language.

Take Kapten & Son:

Their website is in five languages:

  1. English
  2. French
  3. German
  4. Spanish; and
  5. Italian.

On each website, Kapten & Son have translated their exit-intent popup to match the language on the site.




By translating the popups into other languages, Kapten & Son personalize their campaigns which increase the likelihood visitors will opt in.

To do this, each campaign has a URL-specific condition ensuring the right popup shows on the right pages.

For instance, the French campaign is triggered on this URL:

When the URL contains an identifier for the language, you add that URL to the conditions of your popup and it will only show on that page.

(If you want the campaign to show on all pages on, say, the French website, you can add a “*” after the URL in the condition like this: https://kapten-son.com/fr/*)

You can also use geo-targeting to show popups for different languages depending on where visitors are based. (You can read more about that in strategy #8.)

Takeaway: If your website is available in other languages, translate your popups as well. Get a professional to translate your popups to ensure that they’re correctly translated both grammatically and culturally. (No one wants another Pepsi incident.)

4. Combine Triggers for Greater Exposure

Who says a popup can only have one trigger?

If you want to show your popups to more people, try combining different triggers.

You still have to consider your buyer persona and who you want to show your popups to. After all, you don’t have to show all campaigns to everyone (more on that later).

What triggers should you combine with the exit-intent trigger?

It depends on the purpose of your campaign.

If you want to promote a product on specific pages, but you want to wait until the visitor has scrolled a certain amount of the page, you can combine a scroll trigger with an exit-intent trigger.

If you set the scroll trigger between 60-70% and add the exit-intent trigger, you’ll avoid interrupting visitors when they begin scrolling. Then, with the exit-intent trigger, you make sure that visitors leaving the page before scrolling 60-70%, will still see your popup.

Another example is if you promote a discount.

Here’s an example from Pixojet:

This popup triggers on exit-intent AND has a timed trigger. This means that visitors will see the popup after 7 seconds OR if they try to leave the page before the 7 seconds have passed.

There’s a good reason the timed trigger was added to this campaign.

Imagine a visitor comes to your site and decides to buy something. They then go through your checkout. After buying something, they continue browsing your site, go to leave and then…

Boom! They’re offered a 5% discount

Not good, right?

They’ve already paid full price, and now they might be inclined to return that item because they weren’t offered the 5% discount before they checked out.

Pixojet used this campaign to collect email addresses and made sure that visitors who were already subscribed didn’t see this campaign with the newsletter subscriber condition.

They also wrote actionable copy for their call-to-action button that focused on the offer’s value.

As a result, Pixojet got 14,000+ new email leads from this one popup.

Editor’s Note

Watch the video below to learn how to create an exit-intent popup using Sleeknote.

Sam Thomas Davies
Head of Content

Takeaway: Combine different triggers for your popups. What message do you want visitors to see, and when are the optimal times to show it? Lastly, make sure your triggers don’t overlap with each other.

5. Reduce Cart Abandonment

I think we can all agree that abandoned carts are the worst, right?

Abandoned carts carry a lot of revenue potential, and it’s time to get some of that revenue back.


With abandoned cart popups.

When you use exit-intent popup in your checkout, there are two main purposes to choose from:

  1. Turning abandoning visitors into email leads; or
  2. Getting them to complete their purchase.

Here’s an example from minimum that focuses on getting leads:

When visitors opt in, the discount code is sent to their email address to increase lead quality.

Using exit-intent popups in your checkout is about providing value to visitors and helping them overcome obstacles that are preventing them from buying.

In minimum’s case, one can assume price played a big role. In fact, this specific campaign had a conversion rate of 37.4% when it was active.

Another option is to trigger your exit-intent popup based on the visitor’s order value.

Let’s say you offer free shipping on orders above $50. Then you can trigger an exit-intent popup when visitors with an order value above $50 are about to leave their cart.

Here’s what that could look like:

You can also trigger an exit-intent popup for visitors with an order value below $50. Then, you can ask them to add an item to their basket to qualify for free shipping.

Statistics show that 24% of visitors are willing to spend more to qualify for free shipping. But if you don’t tell your visitors about this, how will they know?

An exit-intent popup is an effective way of informing visitors about free shipping.

Here’s an example of how that could look:

Takeaway: Identify why visitors abandon their cart and eliminate that concern in your exit-intent popup. Use discounts sparingly and think about what other value you can give to abandoning shoppers. (For instance, offer to save their cart, notify them when items go on sale, invite them to get in touch with potential questions, etc.)

6. Inform New Visitors of Products or Services

You want to make a good first impression when a new visitor comes to your website.

You want them to see all the amazing things you offer, but you don’t want to overwhelm them with information.

One problem with not having all the information on your homepage is that new visitors might not find what they were looking for and then leave your site.

If you offer custom solutions to your products, for instance, but the main focus on your homepage is your ready-to-ship items and current promotions, you might run into problems.

One solution is to use an exit-intent popup to inform new visitors of your custom solution before they leave your site.

Here’s an example from Wallstickerland. (Note: the original is in Danish):

This popup makes sure that new visitors don’t leave without knowing about special products and offers.

It also gives new visitors a chance to get in touch with Wallstickerland in case they have any questions.

If visitors don’t find answers to their questions on your site, they’re more likely to leave instead of contacting you—unless you give them the option to.

To make sure that this popup shows to the right visitors on the right pages, you can set up a “New Visitor” condition along with a Specific URL condition. Then, you can add your homepage, or another page, as a URL condition.

You can also use this type of popup to redirect traffic to popular products or special promotions that might be ignored on your homepage or other pages.

Takeaway: Informing new visitors about your product or services lowers the chances of them leaving. Make sure that the content of your popup is unique to new visitors.

7. Increase Sales with Scheduled Holiday-Specific Campaigns

If you work in e-commerce, it’s likely that you have holiday-specific sales throughout the year.

Christmas, Black Friday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, Halloween…

The list goes on.

But what are you doing to promote these sales on your site?

Sure, you might have a banner on your home page with a link to the sale, but what about all the other pages on your site?

Not all visitors who enter your site will land on your home page.

You don’t want to take focus from your other products by promoting a sale on all your pages, but you also don’t want people to leave your site without knowing about the sale.

The solution is to use an exit-intent popup to promote your holiday-specific sale.

You can capture them as they’re leaving your site and you don’t interrupt visitors browsing other products. Win. Win.

Here’s a Black Friday example from BilligParfume.dk:

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BilligParfume.dk had this campaign active during Black Friday last year, and their popup had a conversion rate of 61.3%.

The best part about holiday-specific campaigns is that you can schedule them in advance with advanced scheduling.

Just enter a start date and an end date and your campaign will activate and deactivate automatically.

One thing to remember is to make sure that the popup doesn’t show on the actual page with the sale. You can do that by excluding that specific URL in your campaign conditions.

You don’t even need a sale or discounted items to increase holiday sales.

Take mother’s day, for example.

You could create a filtered search of your products that could be great gifts for mother’s day.

Then, you could create a campaign linking to your filtered search with an actionable CTA.

Here’s an example of what that could look like:

Try to give abandoning visitors a reason to stay on your site, and encourage them to buy something by making a choice for them.

Sometimes, too many options confuse people. By filtering products and giving visitors less to choose from, you move them one step closer to becoming a customer.

Takeaway: Schedule campaigns for holiday-specific events throughout the year in advance. Focus on giving visitors a reason to click-through. It can be great discounts, but it can also just be helping them make better purchase decisions.

8. Target Visitors with Relevant Messages Based on Geography

In strategy #3, I mentioned how to translate your messages to target your markets’ native languages.

This strategy can be used for that as well, but just as important, you can also adapt your message to the individual visitor based on their location (even down to city-level).

If you have a brick-and-mortar store in addition to your online store, for instance, you can target visitors who come from the cities where your store is located and promote store-specific sales.

By using geo-targeting to determine who sees your campaigns, you can make your exit-intent campaigns more relevant to the user which increases the likelihood of them staying on your site or giving you their email address.

Let’s take an example.

Imagine, you’re hosting a spring collection in-store event in one of your brick-and-mortar stores and you want to drive registrations for it through your website.

You don’t want to disturb visitors when they’re browsing (in case they want to buy something), so an exit-intent campaign is perfect to use because they only see it when you’re about to leave.

Here’s an example of what that could look like:

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Takeaway: Use geo-targeting to adapt your messages to the location of your visitors. It will make your exit-intent campaigns more personal and increase conversion rates.

9. Use Scarcity to Increase Conversion Rates on Time-Limited Campaigns

Scarcity is one of the best psychological triggers you can use in your exit-intent campaigns.

In fact, 68% of millennial consumers say they would buy something after experiencing FOMO, most often within 24 hours.

One of the best ways to add scarcity to your exit-intent campaigns is to add a countdown timer.

For example, if you’re throwing a time-limited sale, you can create a campaign with a countdown timer and ask abandoning visitors whether they want to miss out on your sale.

It could look like this:

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You can also add the countdown timer to a campaign in your checkout and offer free shipping on orders within a certain time frame to get visitors to finish their order instead of leaving.

Takeaway: Any time you have a time-limited offer or incentive in your exit-intent campaigns, you should include a countdown timer to increase scarcity and get more conversions.

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Want More Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies?

We’ve put together an exhaustive list of 100+ conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategies our fastest-growing e-commerce customers are using to turn more website visitors into buyers (organized for your convenience.)


Exit-intent popups can do wonders for your business when you use them intelligently.

You already collect a lot of information about your site visitors, so use that information to get more leads and sales without hurting the user experience on your site.

Want to try one of these strategies on your own site? Set up your first exit-intent campaign for free today.

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