Why Exit Intent Popups Are Awesome (And How To Set One Up In 5 Minutes)

Learn step by step how to imeplement an Exit Intent opt-in form on any website.

The term exit intent has been growing in popularity over the last few years in the E-commerce world.

Essentially, it uses Javascript and the web browser to track the movements of a user so a special offer or opt-in form can be displayed when they show signs of leaving your website.

The technology itself isn’t that complicated, but it’s more about how you use it.

Today, I’m going to show you two things. First I’ll show you why this technology is worth looking at, secondly I’ll show you how to set one up in 5 minutes that will grow your E-commerce revenue by anywhere up to 10%.

The general theory behind exit popups is fairly simple. Let’s imagine that a user has been browsing through your awesome site, then decides to leave without doing any of the things you want them to do (buying, registering etc). In that moment of indecision we can briefly interrupt them with a message, steering them towards a singular call to action.

This art of misdirection is incredibly successful. Why? Well, often users get overwhelmed. And when you present them with a single option it makes their decision easier.

The call to action is the important part, the more targeted you can be the better. But, lets first consider the reasons why users might leave your site in the first place:

  1. Users finished reading your article and they were ready to leave
  2. Your content was irrelevant in the first place
  3. They couldn’t find the product they were looking for
  4. Customer is price sensitive and wants to wait for a discount or coupon
  5. User got distracted and forgot what they were doing
  6. Customer was just in research phase and wasn’t ready to make the purchase
  7. Your product was unaffordable
  8. Your product doesn’t do what the customer needs

Now that we have an idea on why users might be leaving our site, we can use our optins to try and re-engage the customer.

Let’s look at some wildly different examples below, each of which are used for a different purpose.

Shopping Cart Abandon Popup

Nothing signals an intent to buy more than someone actually visiting your shopping cart. But if you do nothing about the people that are abandoning then you’re just leaving revenue on the table.

A simple shopping cart abandonment popup like the one you see above can easily improve revenues by up to 10% by offering a simple coupon code.

This is also extremely useful if you run an affiliate program, since usually people leave your site to find a coupon code, which often leaves you paying a large commission to a coupon aggregator.

Recover Abandoned Shopping Carts With Capture

Learn how to build popups which will re-engage users and drive sales from customers who are abandoning their shopping carts.

Exit Intent Takeover

E-Commerce sites are usually quite busy, which means that quite often users will end up missing the fact that you have promotions live.

Sale or special offer notifications are an easy way to draw attention to current (or forthcoming) promotions on your site. Typical opt-in rates can range anywhere up to 20%.

Combine multiple rules together & only show a special offer to new users only can improve conversion rates (as you're psychologically making them feel special).

New User Welcome Offer
Reddit Referral Welcome Offer

Making use of targeted traffic is one of the biggest single ways you can increase your opt-ins. For example if you get a lot of traffic from a particular social network then you should consider showing targeted messages to that audience.

We’ve seen these particular types of opt-ins convert up to 70% of users.

Japan Crate Capture

Running a contest? Then let your users know about it.

This specific mesage converted 80% of users into competition entrants, users that may not have known anything about it in the first place.

Blue Apron Exit Intent Popup

Users love to feel special. In doing so you can experiment with ways to increase your conversion rates.

A great way to do this is by offering special deals or content to your members.

You can expect these sorts of opt-ins to convert at anywhere up to 80% (depending on the referring traffic source and incentive).

202AVE Signup Popup

Quite often we just forget about the plain old Newsletter signup prompt. I see sites bury these in the footer and be lucky to drive a 0.05% conversion rate (on a good day).

A simple exit intent asking users to subscribe can easily drive opt-ins from up to 2-10% of users. This popup from Manybooks increased their opt-ins by over 100%.

Pausefest Popup

A good friend asked if I had any ideas to help them grow ticket sales for the awesome Pause Festival in Melbourne.

They were getting sub 1% opt-in rates for a chance to win free tickets to the event. The problem with the form was that it was buried 2/3 of the way down the page, most people didn’t see it.

A simple exit intent opt-in form converted 20% of their readers to email subscribers. That’s a whopping 1900% increase. And it took just 5 minutes to setup.

Don’t always assume that your readers know where your opt-in forms are. You need to make it obvious.

Product Hunt Welcome Offer

If you’re launching a product on Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Product Hunt then you should be laser foused on getting emails from users that are interested in your project. An engaged email list on launch day can make the difference between getting funded or not.

Let’s also imagine that you get featured on the New York Times. Another thing you could setup is a laser targeted opt-in specifically for users coming from that article. This is a great way to boost opt-ins rates and maximise press relationships.

You can do this easily inside our Capture app by using the Referring Domain rule:

Gleam Capture Referring Domain Setup

So you’ve seen some examples, but don’t know where to start? Now let me show you how you can create a powerful exit intent popup super quick.

First you’ll need to create a Capture account and install the tracking script on your site. This script will allow you to trigger specific opt-ins based on the rules that you setup.

Create an new Capture and choose the Popup With Image template.

Gleam Blog Opt-in Form

Next we need an image to upload that forms the main CTA for our opt-in. The width is 540px, and can be as tall as you like. Here’s the image I’m using for this example:

Gleam Opt-in Form Image

You can upload the image and set other parameters on the setup tab. This includes things like colors and text.

Here’s what our completed popup looks like:

Gleam Completed Exit-Intent Capture

Now we need to setup some rules to determine when it shows. Learn more about the different rules we support then you can read our Capture docs.

For this example, I’ve set the optin to show:

  • On Exit
  • Only when someone is on this blog post
  • Don’t show to existing subscribers
  • If someone closes the opt-in don’t show it to them again
Gleam Capture Exit-Intent Rules

Now for the magic, we can connect our opt-in to over 20 email providers (and send to specific lists). This means you can have an autoresponder setup to deliver a coupon, some information or your latest newsletter.

Gleam Email Integrations

In our case we have a custom Sendy server setup for managing all our opt-ins. So for each Exit Intent offer we’re testing I can send users to a custom list (and send out a custom message).

Once you’ve setup your list, simply save the Capture then turn it on. You’ll see the on switch next to the name of the Capture.

Active Your Capture

And that’s it. You’re now ready to start capturing opt-ins from the form you’ve setup. Want to see what it looks like? Test the one we setup below (or just try to leave this page).

Ready to Build Your Own Exit Intent Popup?

Check out our helpful documentation for step by step instructions on setting up your own Popup or get started right away!


Stuart McKeown

Stuart McKeown is one of the Co-founders at Gleam. Aside from writing and helping businesses grow, he also enjoys sound design and drinking tea ☕️