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What is Exit Intent? How Is It Used To Improve Conversion Rates?

As a business, you’ve invested a ton of time, effort, and money into designing a fantastic website or e-commerce site. Virtually every business and marketer alike work hard to acquire new visitors to their site… they produce beautiful product pages, landing pages, content, etc. Your visitor arrived because they thought you had the answers, the products, or the services that you were looking for.

Too many times, though, that visitor arrives and reads all they can… then leaves your page or site. This is known as an exit in analytics. Visitors don’t just disappear from your site, though… they often provide clues that they are exiting. This is known as exit intent.

What is Exit Intent?

When a visitor on your page is deciding to leave, a few things happen:

  • Direction – Their mouse cursor moves up the page towards the address bar in the browser.
  • Velocity – Their mouse cursor may accelerate toward the address bar in the browser.
  • Gesture – Their mouse cursor doesn’t move down the page any longer and they stop scrolling.

Conversion optimization experts identified this trend and wrote code into pages that observe the mouse cursor and can predict when the visitor is going to exit. When the exit intent behavior is identified, they initiate an exit pop-up… a last-ditch effort to engage with the visitor.

Exit intent pop-ups are an incredible tool and have proven effective to:

  • Provide a discount code for the visitor to stay in session and make a purchase.
  • Promote an upcoming event or offer and have the visitor register for it.
  • Request an email address to drive engagement via a newsletter or email automation journey.

How Effective Are Exit Intent Pop-Ups?

According to various sources, a business can expect a 3% to 300% increase in engagement thanks to this handy conversion rate optimization (CRO) tool. At the very least, why not try to engage with a visitor that you know is leaving? Seems like a no-brainer to me! In the research that led to the below infographic, Visme found 5 advantages of Exit Pop-ups:

  1. They are absolutely effective in engaging a visitor that is leaving your site.
  2. They are less intrusive than pop-ups that appear during a visitor’s interaction with your site.
  3. They provide a clear and distraction-free call-to-action (CTA).
  4. They can reinforce your value proposition that you’ve already notified the visitor of.
  5. They are relatively risk-free… there’s nothing left to lose!

In the infographic, A Visual Guide to Exit Pop-Ups: How to Boost Your Conversion Rate by 25% Overnight, Visme provides the anatomy of a successful exit intent pop-up, how it should appear, behave, and be laid out. They offer the following guidance:

  • Pay attention to the design.
  • Polish up your copy.
  • Ensure that it’s contextually relevant to the page content.
  • Offer a means of exiting or closing the popup.
  • Don’t be annoying… you don’t need to show it every session.
  • Add a testimonial or review to support your value proposition.
  • Modify and test different formats.

For one of our Shopify clients, a site to buy dresses online, we implemented an exit intent pop-up using Klaviyo with a discount offer the recipient will receive when they subscribe to their mailing list. We also entered the subscriber into a small welcome journey that introduced them to the brand, the products, as well as how to follow the brand on social media. We get about 3% of visitors to sign up, and 30% of those have utilized the discount code to make a purchase… not bad!

If you’d like to see some additional examples of exit intent pop-ups, here’s an article walking you through some styles, offers, and advice on creation:

Exit Intent Pop-Up Examples

exit intent popups

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of the Martech Zone and a recognized expert on digital transformation. Douglas has helped start several successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to launch his own platforms and services. He's a co-founder of Highbridge, a digital transformation consulting firm. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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  1. I wonder how they patented something that exists at least from 2008 (they were founded 2010). This is from September 18, 2008: – from the post about exit-intent popups: “… The closest you can get is where your visitor’s mouse cursor is moving near the top of the screen… so you’re assuming they’re about to click the close button. This is my unblockable exit popup: Action PopUp: Attention-Grabbing Unblockable PopUps When Your Visitors Leave the Page…”.

    In addition, there is this piece of code from April 27, 2012 that implements the ‘exit-intent’ technology in about 5 lines of code, available to the public:

    They filing date of their patent is Oct 25, 2012. Priority date according to Google is Apr 30, 2012 (

    Another reference from quicksprout: post: “In 2010 was created in the back of a mini-van on a 1.5 year long road trip around the country because I couldn’t find what I needed. There was no competition, at the time the only offering was popup domination which was too rigid and difficult to install”. This is 2 years before the ‘patent’ was filed.

    To conclude Bounce Exchange might have a great product but they didn’t invent it and they have no rights on “the technology”. I wonder how their patent attorney didn’t find what I could find in about 5 minutes with Google. And I am no attorney. Just someone that doesn’t like they try to monopolize what isn’t theirs. They take $3000-$5000 for it and don’t want other, cheaper solutions to exist (why else do you need a “patent”?)

      1. Hi @douglaskarr:disqus – I read the two 1st paragraphs of the patent and its abstract (in the link above) and the main claim of the patent is exactly the ‘exit-intent’ technology. They claim they invented the mouse tracking for this purpose. The links I brought show they didn’t invent it at all. That’s what’s wrong to my opinion. And it annoys me because I am thinking of making an exit-intent script myself, or using one of the many ready-made alternatives (I saw at least 15 alternatives…). If Bounce Exchange’s patent will be used by them to block, un-rightfully, the competition it can truly hurt all the current websites that use other cheap alternatives; and people like me that are about to use it. Now that I saw your article I am having 2nd thoughts. No chance I will spend thousands of dollars a month for that. And even if they don’t deserve the patent, they could still make me a lot of trouble if I do it myself, or use others.
        Lately I’m seeing such popups everywhere. Without the exit-intent popups we would need to go back to much more annoying popups – pop-unders, timely pop-overs, entry-popups, etc

  2. So, it appears that Retyp, the people behind Optin Monster sued Bounce Exchange over this patent. But I’m not versed enough in legal stuff to understand if it’s settled, and if so, what the result was…? More info at these links:–14-cv-80299/RETYP_LLC_v._Bounce_Exchange_Inc./28/

    It would sure be nice to know what’s going on here. Seems like a very silly patent and I’d really like to see this available elsewhere….

  3. The product or service that BounceX sell (and BounceX/Yieldify are as much a full-service as they are a product) usually has multiple elements. It’s often impossible to patent the entire process, so you usually protect the core (in this case the algo) because it’s the most important part. I’m sure there’s a patent out there for creating an image, popping up an image on a website etc that they don’t own and are technically infringing on.

    It’s worth noting that Yieldify (defendant in that case) purchased patents from a third party and are now suing BounceX. If you have the money to pursue a competitor then there’s little risk – if you lose the case you’re in the same position you are right now (minus the money) whereas if you win then you’ve just carved out a chunk of market share for yourself.

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