What are pop-under and pop-up ads?

What is a pop-under and how does it differ from a pop-up?

Both pop-up and pop-under ads can be classified as pop-ads. Functionally, they are both pretty similar: they both open a new browser window, usually via some sort of JavaScript. The difference between them is what happens with that new window once it’s opened. A pop-up ad will launch a new browser window on top of the one currently being viewed. The main issue with this is that it can be seen as being quite intrusive.

This is where pop-under ads come in handy. Rather than being displayed in front, the new window opens behind the one that is currently being viewed. It does not interrupt the user experience. If a user has many windows open, when they’re done with the page they were viewing at first and close it, if they come across a pop-under ad they are less likely to know where that page came from. This means they are also less likely to have a negative emotion about the page that loaded the pop-under.

Reactions to pop-under ads

In order to answer the question of how users react to pop-under ads appearing on a site, site monetization consultant Thomas Maier at Webglide conducted a study. He created a test using custom variables in Google Analytics. A site was selected and a pop-under ad displayed to half its visitors. The other half did not see a pop-under ad. The ad was setup to load on the first two page views.

pop-under vs pop-up ads

This data shows that the number of users who may have some kind of “negative” reaction to pop-under ads is incredibly low. Although it is a relatively small data sample, it does support the idea that the impact of pop-under ads on a website’s traffic is very small indeed.

Pop ads vs banner ads

So what’s wrong with normal, banner, display ads? Well, nothing, per se. They’re still the most popular ad format on the web, on desktop and mobile. There is, however, a lot of evidence for what’s known as “banner blindness”. This is a phenomenon, which has been observed in multiple studies, where a user unconsciously ignores  banner ads or anything resembling them.  Pop-under ads are a great way of tackling this. They make it much more likely for a user to engage with an ad on a conscious level, while being less aggressive than a pop-up ad.

And the numbers speak for themselves. The CTR (click through rate) for banner ads averages around 1% whereas pop-under ads typically see a CTR of around 7%, making them a much better performing format.

So, which is best for me?

As a publisher, by using pop-under ads you can earn significantly more than if you were to just use banner ads. The main reason being that because the ad is much more visible, it’s more likely to get clicks. Another benefit that pop-under ads offer over banner ads is that they free up more “real estate” for content.

Advertisers can also really benefit from using pop-under ads as part of their campaigns. Thanks to its higher CTR, site visitors are more likely to engage and interact with their ads, which means more sales, registrations, downloads or whatever your desired goal is.

When compared to banner ads, pop-unders give you much more space for your product to shine. You have a whole screens worth of space to play with, so you can be a lot more creative and really drive your audience towards your goal.

And that’s not all. Pop-under ads offer a great way of A/B testing landing pages, very quickly. Normally, for users to reach your landing page, they would first need to click on some kind of primary ad, either in an email, on social media or elsewhere. By using pop-unders, you can skip this first step and get them straight to your page, saving time and money.

Want use pop-under ads to promote your brand or generate revenue for your website? Join Adcash and get started today.

This article is from 2015. In the meantime we have given our site-under format a serious facelift in functionality. Read all about how it is still relevant now and what it can do for boosting your earnings. 

Join the conversation


Profile picture of Geoff Kukard

Geoff Kukard on Jul 27, 2020 at 10:06 am

Hi Ajay Thanks for the comment. We appreciate the feedback. All the best with your future campaign creation and, you can reach out to us any time for new ad format hacks and tricks.

Profile picture of Ajay

Ajay on May 23, 2019 at 2:13 pm

Great article ! Thanks for the quality information.

Profile picture of kreete

kreete on Jul 05, 2018 at 8:37 am

Thanks for your great comment! Are you currently running any pop ads? Team Adcash

Profile picture of Herbart Azure

Herbart Azure on Jul 02, 2018 at 3:48 pm

The main reason being that because the ad is much more visible, it’s more likely to get clicks. Another benefit that pop-under ads offer over banner ads is that they free up more “real estate” for content.

Profile picture of Sonal Diwan

Sonal Diwan on Jul 20, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Hello Ben Billson, Thank you for sharing this knowledgeable information for different between pop-under-and-pop-up-ads with us!!! It is very useful for me. Keep updating.

Profile picture of Ben Billson

Ben Billson on Dec 21, 2015 at 9:50 am

Hey! I suggest you get in touch with support team via contact(at)adcash.com, you can also check out the Adcash Support Center page for more info: http://support.adca.sh/?st_kb=4-6-create-account-start-publishing

Profile picture of Himanshu Kushwaha

Himanshu Kushwaha on Dec 19, 2015 at 10:13 pm

how can i put a pop under ad in my website through my adcash publisher account

Profile picture of Ben Billson

Ben Billson on Nov 23, 2015 at 10:40 am

No problem, thanks for the positive feedback!

Profile picture of Hosam Mahrous

Hosam Mahrous on Nov 23, 2015 at 12:25 am

Great Article Thank you

Profile picture of Ben Billson

Ben Billson on Nov 19, 2015 at 10:05 am

Thanks! Great question! In terms of mobile, popunders behave differently, varying a great deal between browser and OS; sometimes it will go "under" and sometimes it will go "up". This is certainly a topic that could do with its own, dedicated article, so watch this space! :)

Profile picture of juli

juli on Nov 19, 2015 at 3:07 am

This is a great article :P But I am wondering, what about mobile? Small screen therefore full screen add will be great. But pop-ups are annoying and quickly dismissed. But pop-unders, do people really close tabs on mobie or just keep using the same tab and thus never see the accumulated pop-underads

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *