Execution

How to preserve your SEO during temporary closure for Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

McDonalds Coronavirus Message

Pop ups, sticky footers and hello bars – tools to promote key messages to your audience.

Traditionally adding conversion prompts or time sensitive messaging to your website is a lengthy process. Passing through multiple parties before anything can be pushed live means without proper planning your window of opportunity could easily be missed. 

However, as the industry moves to empower marketeers through the rise in popularity of WYSIWYG page builders (Unbounce), flexible CMSs (WordPress) and tag management systems (Google Tag Manager), the process is becoming much easier. 

In this post, we will review best practice for pop ups, sticky footers and hello bars as well as some of the solutions available. 

Best Practice 

The usage of pop ups, sticky footers and hello bars is a controversial topic in digital marketing. It’s a fine line that must be balanced between squeezing extra conversions from existing users and annoying everyone and anyone. 

To get the right balance, your execution should: 

  • Be obvious enough to draw attention but not so much to hinder the users experience 
  • Include a method to remove the message from view 
  • Carefully layered with other prompts (cookie notice) to not overload the user 
  • Trigger on a set of conditions to target the right user at the right time 
  • Mobile friendly 
  • Personalised to the user or page 
  • Feature a call to action 
  • GDPR friendly if including data capture 

Additionally, it is paramount that your marketing analytics function is to a maturity level where it can capture data for the execution. Without the data there is no way to identify success. 

What options are available? 

Sitekit 

Cost: Freemium, paid version starting at $19/month 

Effort: Very low 

Sitekit allows you to quickly and easily add a sticky footer, hello bar or pop up to your site with fixed layouts.

 To install Sitekit, you need to add a JavaScript snippet. Either through Google Tag Manager or in your websites source code.

Where Sitekit excels is the ease of use and functionality, however this comes at a cost as some of finer execution elements are neglected. 

Set up is straight forward – the first task is to define a template based on your objective: 

  • Collect emails (GDPR friendly option included) 
  • Drive traffic to a URL 
  • Display a message 

Once the template is set you can then customise the colours, messaging, position and the predefined trigger conditions (time delay or “scrolling a little”).  

However, there is no clear and obvious method to add a custom font nor can you set custom trigger conditions. 

The result is an attractive solution that works well across responsive devices but struggles when an advanced execution is required. 

Unbounce 

Cost: $99/month 

Effort: Low 

Much like Sitekit, to install Unbounce, you need to add a JavaScript snippet to your site. Again, this can be using Google Tag Manager or in the source code.

Unbounce is an agile, drag and drop landing page builder. Using the technology behind this gives a high level of control over the look and feel. 

As the editor is fully customisable, there is no need to set a template at the outset (although plenty of templates are available). You can start building a solution to match your objective right away. Colours, fonts, images, forms, messaging and CTA’s are all be customisable to match your brand and ready to be A/B tested. 

Hyper targeting is possible with the available triggers.  A message can be triggered on arrival, after a time delay, on scroll, on click or on exit. It is also possible to trigger a message based on location, past behaviour or referral source. Unbounce has dynamic keyword insertion capabilities, where a phrase will be updated based on a paid search ad click. 

Unbounce’s offering is incredibly strong and that is reflected in the higher cost. If you need to utilise a page builder then Unbounce is a no brainer. However, as a tool purely for pop ups, it is expensive. 

WP Notification Bar 

Cost: Freemium, paid version starting at $29/year 

Effort: Very low 

WP Notification Bar is easy to install on your WordPress website as it is available as a downloadable plugin. 

It is a basic option that focuses purely on hello bars but provides an abundance of functionality for them. Much like Sitekit and Unbounce, you can capture emails, display a message or drive traffic to a URL. It is also possible to: 

  • Provide social follow links 
  • Use a countdown timer to generate urgency 
  • Include search functionality 

Customisation is basic, with the ability to set colours, fonts, messaging and add custom HTML. 

Triggers for the bar are basic with a few advanced features. You can define a set of pages for it to appear on or a specified referrer. However, it is not possible to set the bar to appear on scroll or dwell time. 

With a single execution at an acceptable level, if you need to move quickly, the ease of use makes this a good choice.

Google Tag Manager 

Cost: Free 

Effort: Moderate 

Google Tag Manager is a curve ball. It is the tool used to either install a solution or track performance. However, Google Tag Manager can inject custom HTML which allows you to build custom prompts with HTML and CSS, backed by the power of Google Tag Manager triggers. 

As the code is custom, if you have the skill set there is no limit to the customisation of your pop up as you have full control. Google Tag Manager also has the capability to use on page information within the pop up to emphasise a point. 

To capture data with Google Tag Manager, you have to direct a user to a page with your form.

Defining the trigger of the message is where Google Tag Manager really excels. This is because you have access to the existing library of triggers and the ability to create your own, for example you can use the following as triggers: 

  • Scroll depths 
  • Element views 
  • Time delay 
  • Button clicks 
  • Video progression 
  • A combination of the above 

With an advanced implementation, you can also introduce third party data such as location and channels. 

If you have the skill set or an agency that does, Google Tag Manager is a great solution that allows you to be creative and have full control. 

In summary 

Pop ups, sticky footers and hello bars are great executions to deliver a message to your audience at the right time. All of the solutions above provide an execution that allows you to do this, with varying degrees of complexity, cost and effort. 

Unbounce is the most complete solution, Sitekit is easy to get started with, WP Notification Bar is for emergencies and Google Tag Manager is the DIY custom solution. 

Written by

Analytics & Insight Manager

Josh Crawford
Background image