Wary of Lightbox Ads?

Q&A on why you shouldn’t be.

Lightboxes may be one of the least favorite user experiences on the web. So why are they a growing trend and why am I touting their use? Because they work. (Some data on that later on in this piece.)

First, if you don’t know what I mean by lightboxes (also called hover ads), just look at the example above. A lightbox is an ad that opens front and center of a webpage that someone is actively viewing, blocking the actual content. It may even darken the area behind it so the lightbox message really stands out.

Now, here are answers to some questions you may have:

Q. Why are lightboxes effective?

A. They are effective because someone is definitely going to see the lightbox ad. When it pops up, a viewer needs to focus on your message for at least a second. And there is only one of two actions they can take:

  1. Follow what the message directs them to do, whether it’s to sign up for an email list, make a donation, or reply to any other CTA. Or —
  2. Close the box.

Q. Is a lightbox really necessary if a CTA button or signup button is very prominent on the website?

A.  The answer is a resounding YES. Reason: the lightbox puts the CTA front and center. No ignoring what you are asking someone to do!

Q. Can the lightbox be less intrusive?

A.  Not having the lightbox appear right away may help response, but this is something you need to test. See how the lightbox performs on the first page that is visited and then compare the results to when someone has visited 3 or 4 pages.

Q. Can lightboxes be employed to re-engage visitors?

A.  Yes. I encourage some of my clients to use exit intent technology. This tracks a visitor’s mouse movements: when the technology detects the mouse moving toward closing the window, you can have a lightbox appear, containing a special offer or message to keep someone on your website. Let me know if you would like me to direct you to a service that offers this technology.

Q. What about results?

A.  Lightboxes are well worth looking into — check out this article from Entrepreneur to see how lightboxes helped increase subscriptions 86% and sales 162%. Source

Let me know if we can be of any assistance in creating a new lightbox.