In a ranty post over the weekend, I argued against interruption-based ads as a way of proving your value. One of the commenters, Takeshi, said that so many affiliate sites do it because it probably works. When I asked for links to data and resources, Takeshi did what so few people do – he came up with the goods.

The folks over at ProBlogger put up a case study of using interruption advertising to drive lead generation on a photography site. Their study results compared lead generation for a free newsletter using a prominently placed sidebar signup (like the one here on Marketing Over Coffee) with a middle of the page, in your face advertisement.

The results, including some nice graphics, are impressive. Out of 192,000 monthly visitors at the time of the experiment (checked this morning with Compete.com), two disliked the popups enough to complain about it. TWO.

Here’s the kicker: the site went from about 40 signups a day for their newsletter to about 350, a 900% increase in conversion. That’s about 125,000 signups a year. That also meant that out of their 4,300 visitors a day (approximate), they took conversion from about 1% to about 8.1%.

I don’t know about you, but getting visitors to convert at that level would make me happy. That’s beyond beer-money sized audience to a newsletter. Heck, that’s beyond pay-your-rent money and well into pay-for-your-private-yacht money.

Two lessons here:

1. Be like Takeshi. When asked for data, he came up with the goods, and I love that. Opinion is nice, but data is gold.

2. As a result, I’ll be shutting up now about in-page popup ads. I still think they diminish the usefulness and helpfulness of a web site, but those numbers, those hard data results, are very difficult to argue with. Does that free newsletter still need to provide value? Of course. But the popup ad in page is clearly and unquestionably working for them.

I’d like your data-supported opinions, especially if you have a dissenting view, in the comments.


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