Google SEO change for mobile popups in 2017

Google recently announced that starting in 2017, they will be making changes to their rankings. Specifically, Google will be penalizing mobile sites that use intrusive interstitials, also known as mobile popups. You can read Google's full announcement here


Who this affects:


Any website currently using a popup on the mobile site. Namely publishers using popup to display ads, and even Privy users targeting the same popup campaign to both desktop and mobile visitors.


What is considered an intrusive mobile popup?


According to Google's official announcement, the following examples would be flagged:

A mobile popup that covers the main content, either immediately or after a period of viewing the page
Displaying a standalone mobile popup that the user has to dismiss before accessing the page
A welcome mat mobile popup where the above the fold portion of the page pushes the original content underneath the fold.


Examples of intrusive mobile popups:


What is considered an acceptable mobile display?


According to Google's Official announcement, the following are examples of acceptable mobile interstitials:

Banners that only use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.
Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or age verification.
Login dialogs where content is not publicly indexable. For example, publisher content that is behind a paywall


Examples of acceptable mobile displays:

A mobile banner prompting the visitor to download the native app.

A mobile banner prompting the visitor to download the native app.

A mobile banner notifying the visitor of the website's cookie policy.

A mobile banner notifying the visitor of the website's cookie policy.

In the above examples, you'll note how the interstitial displays take up less than 30% of the phone screen, and can easily be closed.


Best practices we recommend for Privy users:


If you haven't already, you should be running separate campaigns for mobile visitors. You can accomplish this easily using the Privy device targeting feature. This way, you can leave your desktop campaign in it's current format, and create a separate campaign that is truly optimized for mobile.

Your mobile targeted campaign should use the email bar display type. You could also consider using a flyout display type, and keeping the height of the flyout to a minimum.

Your mobile targeted campaign should not use a timer or scroll trigger. If you set any triggers at all, it should just be a floating or full width tab. In line with Google's announcement, you want to be sure that if a visitor lands on your site on a mobile device, they are actively clicking the tab to open the form.


Example of the Privy mobile bar:

Privy mobile email bar in closed position.

Privy mobile email bar in closed position.

Privy mobile email bar in open position.

Privy mobile email bar in open position.

In the above screenshots, notice how little screen space the closed email bar takes up. Also notice that the visitor needs to click the bar to open the form, and even in open position, the visitor can easily close the bar.

One other option for Privy users, is to keep the popup format, but remove all automatic triggers, and only use the tab as the prompt for the mobile visitor to open the popup. Here's what that would look like:

Turn off all automatic triggers for your mobile popup

Turn off all automatic triggers for your mobile popup

Choose a tab style that prompts a popup once clicked

Choose a tab style that prompts a popup once clicked

Example of a tab triggered popup that only opens the popup once clicked.

Example of a tab triggered popup that only opens the popup once clicked.

A note to Privy users on the Always Free plan:

You can remain on the free tier without concern. You will just need to tweak your existing popup campaign to only use exit intent as the trigger, and also have a tab prompt. Since exit intent only works on desktop, it will not automatically trigger a popup on mobile. The different tab styles will act as the only available prompt on mobile devices, as noted in the screenshots above. The only reason you would need to upgrade is if you want the ability to have completely separate campaigns on desktop vs mobile. That is where the device targeting feature comes into play. But to reiterate, you can use our above recommendations to remain on the free plan, and avoid any issues.

Most importantly, remember that list growth isn't just about slapping a generic popup on your website. It's about crafting relevant, personal opt-in opportunities that enhance your customers' journey. So as you rethink your approach to mobile opt-ins, keep your customers user experience as unintrusive as possible, and as relevant as possible. If you're successful achieving that, you won't have to worry about Google penalizing your ranking based on annoying mobile popups.


A big, warm welcome to Andrew Vazquez

Say hello to Andrew Vazquez, the new face of Privy customer support. Andrew joins us after recently closing over 1,000,000,000 (1 Billion) support tickets at Constant Contact. He spent nearly 4 years helping small businesses around the world optimize their email marketing efforts. There couldn't be a more perfect fit.

Welcome aboard, Andrew!

Andrew Vazquez - the man, the myth, the support legend

Andrew Vazquez - the man, the myth, the support legend

Welcoming Mike Chu to the Engineering Squad

Today we're excited to announce that industry veteran Mike Chu has joined the Privy engineering team. Mike is bringing his most recent experience from Netra + Bookity to the table. But don't be fooled, Mike may be fluent with the Mean JS stack, but he's really a nice, approachable guy.

Welcome aboard, Mike!

Mike Chu. Ready to bring his A game to the front and back of Privy's engineering stack.

Mike Chu. Ready to bring his A game to the front and back of Privy's engineering stack.

[New Feature] Target Popups and Notifications based on Shopify Cart Value

With today's update, Shopify users on the Privy commerce or Growth plans can now target specific messages to users based on the value in the visitor's shopping cart. This is the first of several new audience targeting capabilities to come.

Targeting by cart value is perfect for abandoned cart popups, free shipping bar announcements and more.

Cart value targeting is available today on Commerce and Growth plans, for Shopify connected accounts only. Enjoy!

Make the Most of Black Friday & Cyber Monday: Converting Traffic and Capturing Leads

Black Friday and Cyber Monday is fast approaching, and chances are you have already begun setting up your discounts, teasing them to your existing subscriber base, and making last-minute adjustments to perfect your shopper experience for the big day(s).

Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend (we’ll shorten that to BFCM) is a relentlessly competitive time, as brick and mortar and ecommerce storefronts alike compete for inbox space, shopper attention, and ultimately wallet share. Therefore it's also a perfect opportunity to refresh your on-site strategy to take advantage of increased site traffic and convert more shoppers than ever before.

We’ve already discussed a few different ways to stand-out this Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend, but beyond trying different promotions and timing, we’ve found that there are more personalized approaches you can take to make your shoppers’ experience seamless, and ultimately more rewarding for your ecommerce in the end.

[Don't miss it: Prepare Your eCommerce Marketing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday - Webinar]

Welcome the Black Friday + Cyber Monday Traffic

If a customer is on your site during one of the most competitive online shopping periods of the year - first of all, congrats! Second of all, let’s move! You don’t want to waste this opportunity.

Welcome shoppers immediately with messaging about your BFCM promotions so they know exactly where to go next. Use a tailored popup or banner to highlight deals or lead to specific landing pages. An announcement campaign makes it easy for customers to find your promotions without having to dig.  

Cyber Monday Welcome Popup

A festive hero image centered around your BFCM offers is another way for shoppers to see deals immediately when landing on the site and not get lost or distracted. Add a call-to-action on the image so shoppers know where to click to head directly to a sale category, or browse your best selling products.

There are a million sales going on, so your potential customer needs to be able to easily navigate your site and get to what they want, or else they’ll take their shopping elsewhere.

Personalize the BFCM Shopping Experience

Tailoring your on-site strategy based on a few different variables can really bring your BFCM experience to the next level.

For example, splitting the traffic based on two types of visitors, such as first-time visitors and repeat visitors, will allow you to personalize the welcome message discussed above. This can further simplify the navigation process for shoppers, and save browsing time so they can get straight to adding-to-cart.

-          Target a first-time visitor with a welcome message popup or banner. Since this is their first time exploring your site, you could focus on highlighting your most popular products, or products that most new customers purchase from you. Don’t forget to them about a promotion on that product, in the spirit of Cyber Monday.

-          Someone who has been to your site several times has already seen and hopefully purchased your most popular product, so you could try directing them to other products to expand their awareness of what you offer – and then of course supplement it with the BFCM sale that you’re running.

Cyber Monday Repeat Customer Welcome Back

Beyond identifying the number of times a visitor has been to your site, there are other variables you could easily use to personalize your on-site shopping experience for BFCM shoppers.

-          Device type: A desktop shopper has plenty of screen space to browse catalog pages, while a mobile user will need a slimmer version of the site to shop on. Serving a different homepage or welcome popup optimized for mobile can nudge traffic in the right direction.

-          Popups based on geographic location: If you have shoppers all over the world, you may want to offer different BFCM discounts in your popups based on a visitors’ location

-          Popups based on referral path: If a customer clicked your Cyber Monday coupon on a Facebook ad, and another found you via Google search results, you can communicate different messages to them. Clicking your ‘25% Off’ ad on Facebook means a customer is headed straight for your 25% off deals, so you don’t have to waste a communication telling them about anything else when they land on your site just yet.

-          Messaging based on whether a visitor is logged in as a customer or not: The perfect time to give your best customers an extra-special VIP Cyber Monday deal!

Identify which of these ideas will suit your customers best. By choosing just one or two visitor stories you want to take advantage of, you can focus on converting your most likely customers with a tailored shopping experience.

Use Cart Abandonment to Convert or Capture Leads

Hopefully once your visitors have been directed to discover your promotions or product picks, they continue along to purchase. But if they don’t, there is one last solution to try – an abandoned cart popup.

If a shopper has added a product to their cart and they are going to leave your website before completing their purchase, you’ve got an opportunity to serve a popup or banner that is super targeted to that visitor and the contents of their cart.

Abandoned Cart Popup Cyber Monday

By crafting messaging around the remaining time left in the sale (think countdown…), or highlighting the limited stock available of the product they are shopping for, you can create a sense of urgency that may push the shopper to check out then. Additionally, you could serve the customer an extra discount on this notification to further incentivize completing the purchase.

You can include an email address field in that popup so you can follow up with them via email if they still don’t complete the purchase, but ideally this popup discount is going to be the extra nudge they need to reduce the likelihood of them leaving without purchasing.

Make the Most of BFCM Traffic by Following Up

After all this, don’t forget to follow up! For traffic that didn’t convert or for any emails you collected during BFCM, you now have an open line to communicate with these potential customers during the next few weeks of the holiday season. A welcome series of emails detailing a little background about your brand, or showcasing a few select products can help educate these subscribers and turn them into customers down the line.

So which visitor path will you use to personalize your site before the holiday traffic begins?

Choosing just one or two of these quick updates to your site can help you make the most of your hard-earned traffic on Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, and in the holiday shopping weeks to come. 

Prepare your ecommerce marketing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

In our recent webinar, we discussed strategies and a playbook for making the most of this year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday. From a marketers perspective, we cover ideas, schedules and a playbook for:

1.  Driving holiday traffic from email and social media

2. Converting more ecommerce traffic using popups, abandoned carts and more techniques.

Enjoy the slides and recording below:

🍾 60,000 marketers and our new round of funding

Today, we’re excited to share that Privy now supports over 60,000 businesses around the globe. Our users span 180 countries, with marketing teams and entrepreneurs using Privy to engage and convert over 200 Million consumers every month.

In the last few years we’ve seen an explosion in small to mid-size ecommerce sites, whose operators are eager for self-serve marketing tools – the same types of customer acquisition tools used by enterprise marketers, but easier to try, use, deploy and buy.

Privy has been focused on just that. Over the last two years, we’ve expanded our customer base from 100 businesses using the platform, to over 60,000 businesses in the ecommerce, retail, restaurant and SAAS verticals.

As we move into this next phase of growth, we’re inspired by brands like Mailchimp, Shopify and others that have created the market for low cost, high integrity products. Thanks to our incredible partners helping us expand globally, we’re really just scratching the surface.

In addition to the 60,000 user milestone, we’re also excited to announce a new round of funding led by Mike Volpe and Yoav Shapira at We’ve been working with Mike since Privy’s inception, and are excited to formally welcome into the Privy family. The new financing also includes participation from our friends Bill Cohen, Managing Partner  and Todd Breeden, Principal at KiwiVenture Partners II.  With this new round, and KiwiVenture Partners II join existing Privy investors including Hubspot, Accomplice, 500 Startups and more.

Where do we go from here?

The last 10 years of consumer SMB marketing have been focused on establishing the different steps of the marketing funnel:

  1. Setting up a web presence (website, social pages)

  2. Getting found online (search, directories)

  3. CRM (email marketing)

For us, the focus on list growth has been the entry point into connecting presence to CRM. And as we’ve scaled, we’ve seen a tremendous opportunity, not just to convert traffic into subscribers, but to tie on-site and off-site marketing efforts together. The key, is a unified, view of your customer.

At the enterprise level, this work is underway. Yet, at the SMB level, where most website traffic is unknown, and CRM is limited to email marketing, the challenge is one of simplicity, automation, and data scale.

We’ll be using the proceeds from this new round to continue scaling our list growth product and accelerate towards our vision of consumer focused, SMB marketing automation.

9 Features Of A Great Online Store Homepage

As a cofounder of the Shogun Drag & Drop Page Builder for Shopify stores, I have fielded over 1,000 page design and development questions from our users. Recently, I decided to put this knowledge to good use, and started a thread on the Shopify Forums to offer free advice to all Shopify users looking for site feedback. Most of the questions I’ve encountered have to do with landing page layout, usually in light of poor page performance and conversion to sales:

What kind of landing page is best for my store? How can I make my landing page more user friendly? How can my landing page drive more sales?

There is no exact formula or template for what makes a landing page successful at engaging visitors, but I have noticed a few features that the more successful online stores have in common. In this article I will break down the individual features of a well designed Shopify store landing page as an example to consider.

1. Clear Drop Down Site Navigation

From top to bottom, the header menu is the first thing on the page, and If a visitor doesn’t know how to navigate your site, you have a problem. In this example, you can see that the product offering (photographs) have been clearly broken into 5 categories: Landscapes, Cityscape, Seascapes, Travel, and Other. The drop-down menu allows the visitor to filter even further by photograph Feature and photograph Region. This shows a very clear path to navigation, and the categories that are presented all have matching filter options that make sense.

2. Hero Image Slider Section

Visitors love images, especially images if the images product they are considering purchasing. The full width Hero Image Slider Section is a great way to start the content of your page, especially if you have beautiful product photography (no pun intended for the example site). The slider keeps the images fresh and will hold your viewer’s attention. The full width image format gives the opportunity for a hybrid between a product photo and a banner ad. Include some text on the image that explains the value of your site. The slider should have click through link that drives the visitor to a product page. 

3. Hero CTA Button

Always guide the user. If the user doesn’t know where to go next, or where to click to start shopping or browsing more products or other areas of the site, that’s an issue. This site (see above image) includes a great CTA with some great copy “Start exploring beautiful prints and frames” and a CTA button with “Start Shopping” button copy. Simple and effective at guiding the UX of the landing page.

4. Exit Pop Up

55% of visitors will leave your site within 15 seconds, so a proactive exit-intent popup can be extremely useful at keeping the user interested. This site pushes a pop up using email growth app Privy for a 10% discount in exchange for their email address. That email address can be used for newsletter and email marketing funnel campaigns, and re-engagement if they decide to leave. doubling conversion rates and almost no negative effect on bounce rates.

5. Value Proposition Section

This section is optional in some instances, but it can be nice to clearly articulate the value proposition of your store. Especially if you can add a personal touch or create a feeling of personality, this section can really “humanize” your business. Notice that this particular shop (top half of screenshot below) has incorporated images and a CTA to keep this section interesting.

6. Image Based Site Navigation Section (Categories)

In the lower half of the screenshot above, is an image based category section. This is a repeat of our 5 categories from the header menu: Landscapes, Cityscape, Seascapes, Travel, and Other. Generally, I don’t recommend duplicate info or sections (i.e. two “featured products” sections). However, because the categories are so small in the header menu (which can sometimes be ignored), a visual representation of the categories further down the page can be great for making the site navigation clear to the user. These images should be click through to product collection pages.

7. Featured Products Section/Slider

A featured products section is a great way to show off your top products on the landing page. Let visitors get a taste for what’s to come on the product pages and start shopping on your landing page. The Slider keeps a nice rotation of products which can be used to show (or give the illusion of) the depth of the store. These products should click through to individual product pages.

8. Link to Contact Page

A smaller, but important point, is to include a link to a Contact Page on your landing page. Contact pages instill trust with your visitors, and are a must for any good eCommerce site. You can include this link through text at the bottom of your page or at the very top. Or both.

9. Link to Blog

Okay, this one is cheating a bit, since it’s a just a link to a much bigger part of the site, but definitely worth noting. Blogs on Shopify stores are super integral to their SEO, so it’s important to maintain a Blog. Blogs are also a great opportunity to build brand and engage your visitors in the culture of your store. 

If you have a Shopify store and are having trouble with engaging and converting the traffic to your store, try adding some of the aforementioned features to your site. If you want to play around with making changes without writing code, you can import your existing Shopify pages into Shogun's Drag and Drop Page Builder, and start editing them. You can also build new pages for your store using drag and drop elements and page templates.