Pop-Ups vs. Profit: 4 Problems That Hurt Dealership Sales

By Jazel Auto Marketing

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For years, it’s been a common assumption among dealers that pop-ups (or worse, pop unders) are a great way to generate internet leads and more sales. But it might be time to take new data into account, and revisit that assumption.

According to the NADA, 90% of car shoppers rank dealer websites as the most important source of information during the buying process. Despite that only 10% will ever fill out a form OR communicate via email prior to visiting the dealership.

The simple fact is that the majority of car shoppers will never fill out a website lead form – regardless of how many pop-ups or fly-overs you put in their face. In fact, studies show that this may be doing far more damage than it’s worth.

Below are the four ways pop-ups may be killing your dealership’s sales.


Pop-ups Make Your Dealership Seem Untrustworthy

Dealerships already have a problem with trust, and research from Hubspot has found that 99% of people don’t trust car-salespeople. Ruining the chance for trust can often be traced to bombarding your website visitors with requests for their information.

Let’s go with a fun analogy: Asking someone at the bar for their number might get you a number. Asking the moment you first meet them, or badgering them repeatedly for their number is desperate, creepy, and almost certain to make them leave. It’s the same deal with a website. Too much begging for information becomes a major turn off. Even if it isn’t bad enough to make them leave the page, it can still set the prospect up to distrust the dealership and keep salespeople at arms-length.

So how is it fixed?

First, change your pop-ups to only show up after a certain number of page views.

Second, make sure the pop-up isn’t getting in the way.


Bad Pop-Ups Increase Bounce Rate

Even if pop-ups aren’t spamming website visitors, they can still be encouraging people to bounce. Although pop-ups can increase conversion rates, they also might annoy car shoppers and cause them to leave your website before ever taking a look at inventory or incentives. And if they leave your website without finding what they’re looking for, you can bet that they’ll go straight to your competitor’s.

So how is it fixed?

Make sure you have a clear “X” button. It should be really easy to close the pop-up.

Change your pop-up to trigger on exit-intent, or when the prospect moves to close the page.


Pop-ups Distract Your Website Visitors

Alright, so it’s not just about pop-ups. These lessons should be applicable to all distractions in general. Humans have a limited amount of attention, and when we are faced with too many options, we lose focus. If a site has a page cluttered with CTA’s, conversion rate suffers.

Psychologists have studied this phenomenon. They’ve found that when there are more options, people are less likely to make a decision. In one study, there were 26 types of jam to sample, but only 3% of people bought a jar. When the sample number was dropped to 6 options, 30% of people made a purchase.

Too many distractions will cause people to bounce, erode trust, set bad expectations, and generally weaken the relationship a website is supposed to build between the customer and the dealership.

So how is it fixed?

Limit distractions. Count the number of CTA’s, offers, pop-ups, flyovers, and other lead-generation techniques on a page and nix the ones that have the lowest conversion rates.


Pop Ups Tank Your SEO (on Mobile)

We all know how important your mobile site is these days. And so does Google. And Google has realized that pop-ups on mobile sites are an intolerable Customer Experience (CX) sin, so they outlawed pop-ups on mobile. In 2017, mobile sites with pop-ups will see their SEO take a plunge.

So how is it fixed?

This is also a simple fix. Just turn off pop-ups for mobile.



As annoying as pop-ups are, they work. But there’s a really big caveat to that, and it’s: “when they’re good”. Bad pop-ups don’t just “not work,” they damage a dealership’s reputation, credibility, trustworthiness and professionalism. Using pop-ups is a risk. With increased competition from other dealerships and tech start-ups like Uber, good online CX matters more and more every day. The bottom line: dealership websites can’t afford to lose sales on something as potentially powerful and easily fixable as pop-ups.