3 Reasons Lightbox Popups Capture More Emails

You’ve been sold a big, fat lie.

For years you’ve probably heard that lightbox popups are the worst thing you could possibly put on your website.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, an email optin in the form of a lightbox popup is one of the best plugins you could add your website.

Here are a few of the common misconceptions:

  • A lightbox popup will make your bounce rate skyrocket.
  • Lightbox popups will irritate your site visitors.
  • Popups discourage users from returning.

It may feel like you’d irritate and annoy visitors by capturing emails through a lightbox popup on your website, but the facts prove otherwise.

Example email optin lightbox popup
Email signup lightbox popup from WPBeginner.com

Smart Lightbox Popups with Exit Intent

Lightbox popups using exit-intent technology open when a user shows an intent to close the window or move to another page.

The reason lightbox popups with exit-intent don’t annoy users is because they only show when the user is going to leave anyway. It’s a last ditch effort to convert visitors who intend to abandon your website. And it works.

Many visitors who show exit intent will convert to email subscribers when given the option of an email optin.

So, how does OptinMonster determine exit intent?

OptinMonster tracks the mouse movement of every visitor on your website. When a user’s mouse gestures quickly to the top of the page — as if to close the window — the smart lightbox popup appears.

The popup doesn’t prevent the user from leaving your website. He or she can close the window without interacting with the popup — which prevents the “annoyance” factor.

Lightbox popups with exit-intent provide you one last interaction before a visitor leaves your site. In fact, it acts a lot like an additional page view. It’s important to remember you’re not bothering a user by offering something they may be interested in. You’re providing them the opportunity to receive emails from you and regularly read content they enjoy.

Why Smart Lightbox Popups Capture More Emails

You know how important it is to capture email addresses and utilize email marketing for your business. But what’s the best way to grow your email list, build a significant audience and convert more users?

Smart lightbox popups. Here’s why:

  1. Visibility. Instead of making it easy for users to sign up for emails, email optin forms are often hidden or placed casually in the sidebar. Smart lightbox popups with exit-intent enabled display your message and email optin form every time a user goes to leave the page. This ensures that 100% of your users are provided the opportunity to sign up for email updates, receive free tips or download your latest ebook.
  2. Prominence. Most websites prominently display social media icons and drive users to like and follow their content on various platforms. Due to the emphasis on social media, these websites miss out on a big part of online marketing: capturing emails. With a lightbox popup, the rest of the screen becomes darker and the user’s eye automatically goes to read your message and view the email signup form. You remove distractions and make it clear what the user should do next.
  3. A clear call to action. Even if a visitor enjoys reading your content, he or she will eventually leave your website — often without signing up to have your content delivered directly to their email inbox. The problem is most website pages lack a clear call to action. A lightbox popup clearly defines the call to action by directly asking users to signup for your emails.

Case Studies

If you’re like most people skeptical of popups, you want to see proof that smart lightbox popups really work. Take a look at these results:

Yoast Doubles Subscribers Using Lightbox Optins

Yoast used our Clean Slate theme with a custom image to add 10,000 subscribers to his list in just one month.


Yoast’s OptinMonster setup included:

“I was once a disbeliever myself. I didn’t like popups at all. But the results speak for themselves, it just works. OptinMonster makes it super easy and is well worth the money.” – Joost

TemplateMonster Increased their Subscribers by 600%

Over a period of just 7 months, TemplateMonster attracted 12,000 new subscribers by their use of a lightbox optin from OptinMonster.


Along with the growth of the subscriber base, the percentage of conversion reached 2.4% compared to 0.4-1.1% that the default subscription form produced.

What’s more important is that they used our native MailChimp integration to easily segment their email list into groups for sending weekly newsletters.

Do you like seeing what others have accomplished with OptinMonster? Our ever-growing collection of case studies show the amazing results possible when using smart lightbox optins, with and without exit-intent.

Capture more emails today!

No need to lose customers because of outdated practices. Get started using lightbox popups today with OptinMonster and capture more emails immediately! OptinMonster — your #1 WordPress plugin for email capturing and lead generation!


  1. Matt says:

    I still don’t get it…. why are newsletter subscriptions such a big deal to website owners? Most sites I go to are just a one off thing that I was looking for some quick info on a subject or a view on something. I have zero interest in ever coming back to them again, or getting a newsletter that has no relevance to me. And nowadays every website I go to is just begging, pleading, grabbing onto my ankles as I try to walk away to just please, please, pretty please sign up for my newsletter. Its starting to reek of desparation

    I find “exit-intent” is always giving false positives to me – I’m on a laptop, so my cursor movements are a bit more erratic.

    BTW, your exit intent popped up before I got to the bottom of the article, so I went and signed up for a newsletter…. hopefully you have a “catch-all” email on your domain 😉

    1. Mary FernandezMary Fernandez says:

      Hey Matt, you know, you are totally right. Most websites with popups do come off as desperate, largely because they can’t control who sees their popup and when.

      For example, when I land on a website for the first time, I don’t want to see an instant popup in my face because it gets in the way of the information I’m there to glean. I also hate those popups that have absolutely nothing to do with what I’m reading… If I’m reading a blog post about a particular topic, why are they offering me something completely unrelated? There is a tool now that allows you to target specific customer personas with a highly relevant offer, at the best possible moment (*cough* OptinMonster).

      But back to your original question on why newsletter subscriptions matter to website owners… There are many reasons, but here are three biggies:

      1. Email is still the #1 communication channel (91% of consumers check their email on a daily basis).

      2. You OWN your list, unlike social media platforms which can go away at any moment without prior notice.

      3. Email converts like crazy to nurture leads and turn them into paying customers. (Studies show people who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than those who do not receive email offers. Another study shows email has an ROI of 3800%!)

      Hope that helps. Thanks for joining our newsletter, by the way. I guess our popup worked! 😉

    2. Paul says:

      Matt — The real reason it is so valuable to collect these emails is because you can take that email list and upload it to Google adwords and Facebook ads: from there you can gather an obscene amount of (statistical — not individually identified) data about your customer group; you can also remarket to them, that is, target ads specifically to that group. When you’re on the sell side, the customers that sign up to get promos by email are some of the best repeat customers. Hope this helps.

  2. Guy says:

    First, let me say that I agree ‘site conversions’ are important but not more important than quality and functionality.

    Yeah, no; nothing will get me to close a tab faster than a lightbox. You’re preventing people from reasonably accessing information of your website. This isn’t to your benefit unless the content isn’t very worthwhile (which if it’s not worthwhile then why publish, oh yeah: income).

    The main offenders are ones that lock you out: I will never sign up for a site where I can’t view its content without complying with its sign up lightbox; I’m looking at you, Pinterest. Luckily I know how to delete the node from the DOM tree.
    The next offensive lightboxes are ones that have the tiny encircled X that may or may not close the lightbox – probably not at all if you’re on a mobile device.
    The least offensive allows you to close the lightbox by clicking the translucent ‘fog’.

    Each one of the lightboxes I’ve experience leaves some amount of foul taste in my mouth, each one reduces the likeliness of me returning; all because it increased the time it took me to find the content I was surfing for. Stop breaking the Internet, marketers!

    It’s optimal to have site conversions come out of quality and functionality and not annoyance. If you have to rely on the latter, reconsider your platform.

  3. Ben says:

    “Each one of the lightboxes I’ve experience leaves some amount of foul taste in my mouth, each one reduces the likeliness of me returning; all because it increased the time it took me to find the content I was surfing for. Stop breaking the Internet, marketers!”

    Seriously? You are that impatient? Getting around a lightbox takes a single click, and if that is the price to pay for free, valuable content, so be it. I agree with Mary, that unfocused lightbox marketing can be a distraction, but it is really rare that it is SO distracting that I abandon a session and put that website on my personal blacklist. I think that is a bit of hyperbole. How about your favorite sites and blogs put up pay gates instead of collecting email addresses? Maybe that would “fix” the Internet. #sheesh

  4. Diana says:

    Great information Emily. I like they way you laid out all the information in the article in a clear and easy to read format.
    Team-Easysendy Pro

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