November 22, 2021

What’s Better For CRO: Popups vs. Chatbots?

Don Simpson

We all know that getting traffic to your website is only half the battle. Crafting a CRO strategy to turn those visitors into revenue is another story entirely.

Besides the traditional toolkit of intuitive web design and persuasive copywriting, the past few years have seen the rise of two important online traffic magnets: popups and chatbots. Let’s see which one should have a better effect on your conversion rates today. 

The Pros and Cons of Popups

In one way or another, popups have existed since the very beginning of the web, but only a few years ago they’ve become a truly popular tool used on every website. 

A popup is essentially a window overlaid on top of any webpage that prompts a user to take an action- whether it’s to subscribe to your newsletter, register for a workshop, or take advantage of a last-minute deal. 

Popups are popular because they demand immediate attention and action. It’s customary to differentiate popups based on their triggers: 

  • Clicking a certain link
  • Scrolling down to a particular section on a webpage
  • Spending a given amount of time on the website
  • Landing on the website
  • Moving the cursor to exit the website

What’s great about popups is that they allow you to match the user’s context. For example, if someone has been reading your blog for a period of time, you can offer them a free white paper download (which is relevant to the context) and capture their email address — something that’s hard to do with a regular static webpage. 

The negative aspect of popups is that it’s very easy to overuse them and make them backfire by annoying your visitors, getting in the way of their journey. Additionally, popups are only as good as the triggers you set for them, which at best are guesses for what will encourage a visitor to convert.

When you utilize popups, make sure to have proper cookie settings so that the same visitor wouldn’t see a popup more than once during their session. 

The Pros and Cons of Chatbots

While popups have been around for a while, chatbots are generally based on much more advanced technology and are relatively new to the website optimization game. Nevertheless, as chatbots get better at serving visitors’ needs, chat CRO has been increasing steadily year over year. 

In essence, chatbots are instant messaging apps that work on your website to provide customer service to your visitors. They can be reactive (when a visitor clicks on them to engage a conversation) or proactive (when the chat app sends an invitation to the visitor). 

Basic chatbots employ natural language processing algorithms to recognize most common queries and suggest predetermined options. More advanced chatbots achieve higher chat CRO by allowing an escalation path from chatbot conversion to a live BDR. However, this escalation process can incur a high level of friction in the user experience - something that modern visitors are particularly sensitive to.

The latest and greatest in chatbots are equipped with “conversational intelligence” which use AI to try and mimic the nuances of human behaviour. Unfortunately, even this advanced technology cannot match the performance of live representatives - especially when it comes to the nuanced dialog when closing sales or converting leads.

So, chatbots are a fantastic marketing tool but can’t match the performance of live agents when it comes to sales. Since it’s not feasible for most companies to have live agents speaking with every single visitor on the site, the ideal scenario would be to use live agents efficiently while allowing chatbots to shine with visitor nurturing or support. Here’s how you get there.

The Missing Piece - Intent

So, popups are too simplistic and chatbots are close but not quite there. So, where to from here when it comes to CRO? The answer lies in buyer intent. If you could somehow reveal the intent of each visitor, you could effectively match your BDR team to those visitors with the highest buying intent, then leave the rest to chatbots and popups.

Lift AI is the only solution on the market today that’s able to identify the buyer intent of your visitors in real time, as soon as they land on your website. While some other solutions try to improve your chat CRO by singling out users who are already known to you (through a CRM database or IP lookup, for example), they can miss out on up to 98% of website visitors who are completely anonymous. 

Using its proprietary machine-scoring model based on 15 years of machine-learning data, 14 million customer interactions, and one billion visitor profiles, Lift AI is able to instantly assign scores to any visitor, regardless of whether they’ve previously interacted with your brand. 

As a result, Lift AI dramatically improves your chat CRO by directing hot leads to live chat for sales and everyone else to a self-help chat bot, thus perfectly matching buyer intent without overwhelming your sales team. 

Best of all, Lift AI integrates into any chat bot and live chat for sales you’re already using, be it Drift, Intercom, etc. In fact, installing it is as simple as adding a small JavaScript snippet to your website and there’s a 30-day trial available — no credit card required. 

While we’re confident that Lift AI presents the best solution for improving your chat CRO and live chat for sales, is there space for popups in online marketing today? We think so, especially if you design them with empathy in mind — only showing them in the context where they add undeniable value to your visitors. In this way, both chatbots and popups can synergistically support your ultimate conversion goals alongside Lift AI.

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