The Conversion Illusion – Real business objectives are being obscured by forced engagement

The Conversion Illusion – Real business objectives are being obscured by forced engagement
March 2, 2017 Benjamin Shapira

We see it all the time, popup boxes (modal boxes) that encourage users to register or sign up for newsletters; obscuring website content within moments of a page load. What seems like a quick win for businesses (gathering consumer data) obscures the real purpose behind a businesses website – selling products, services, driving leads or soliciting donations.

We’ve all been there. You go to a website to research or buy a product or service only to be greeted with a modal box loading over top of the very content you are trying to engage with. While there are many good reasons to use modal boxes, most, if not all website owners should reconsider using them.

Guaranteed High Conversion Rates

It’s ironic that modal forms have a high rate of conversion given that they are so intrusive, but wait, maybe there is a serious downside lurking in your data. Fake email addresses clogging your CRM.

Users choose the engage with these modal for one of three main reasons?

  1. Older users believe that they are forced to in order dismiss the modal and access the data behind it
  2. Because some website owners purposefully hide the close button (National Geographic for example)
  3. The website owner offers a discount code or other incentive in exchange for the data

Users know that by entering their data, they give the website owner permission to email them – meaning users know in advance the spam will soon arrive. Fake addresses – or secondary addresses used specifically to capture these offers are often the result. In simple terms, modals lose sales in exchange for fake data.

The impact on your bounce rates

As a business owner, your website is a sales tool, information source or lead generation tool and never sleeps; but forcing users to engage with a modal is turning them off your content.

The average site can see anywhere between 10%-25% increase in their bounce rate. This means that up to a quarter of your audience is abandoning your website before a single interaction is made.

Impact to your brand credibility

According to the Nielson Group, forced user engagement like modal boxes contribute to negative brand sentiment and negative brand credibility over the long run. The long-term cost of your short-term decision can be your downfall…

The Google Penalty

Google has and will continue to review user engagements as a metric in SEO page scores. Forcing user engagement will ultimately negatively impact your website performance in Google over the coming months and years – so why not deal with it now?

So how do you build a CRM without the side effects?

There are a few ways of building your CRM without the negative impact on data collection, sales/lead generation or bounce rates.

Consider a less intrusive location for your registration form. Try placing your form at the bottom corner of your site, side of your page, or as part of your checkout process.

Don’t fall into the trap

Make sure you set clear business objectives on your site and make sure the customer comes first. While the conversion rates for modal subscribe forms may appear promising, the downside to your more important objectives will suffer in the long run.

Benjamin Shapira


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