Read our new manifesto

Now available on-demand

Get inspired. Find solutions. Harness the power of digital marketing.

Featuring Speakers from

Agencies 4 Growth Festival Logo
Agencies 4 Growth Festival Logo
Agencies 4 Growth Festival Logo

The nine second rule: opting out of pop-up ads within seconds is the norm, study finds

The New York-based firm MediaBrix recently studied how people interact with their smart phones when an ad appears and learned that there was a distinct preference depending on how the ad was presented and that a pop-up ad was viewed for nine seconds compared to 44 seconds for the opt-in ad.

The nine second rule: opting out of pop-up ads within seconds is the norm, study finds

The firm recruited 64 test subjects with the objective of finding out the different reaction to an 'opt in' ad versus a 'pop up' ad.

“There was no research out there that quantified this until the MediaBrix study," explained Richard Kosinski, president and chief revenue officer at MediaBrix. “In marketing today, the stakes for a chief marketing officer and his team are quite high,” he said. “Our gut tells us [a pop-up ad] can be a bad experience. The data proves that out.”

MediaBrix asked the test subjects to play a game of “Scattergories” with a handheld device which requires some active thinking to play. Each session took about 15 minutes per subject — but in the middle of the game, an ad would appear on the little screen. If the ad was just a pop up (interstitial), the player initially worked around the ad but after nine seconds, looked for the 'X' button to get out of the ad. If the ad was some kind of “embedded opt in”, the viewer became engaged and spent about 40 seconds with the ad.

Further, 90% of the subjects watched an entire 30-second ad if it was presented as an embedded opt-in. Only 25% did the same with the interstitial ad. That implies 75% of the viewers pushed past the pop-up ads.

Going by the numbers, the pop-up ad is increasingly ineffective Kosinksi notes and pointed out in the past year nearly 420 million users have downloaded ad blockers. “Users are voting with their fingers. They are revolting against the disruptive ad experience.” he said.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis