Exit Intent: What it is, How it Works, Use Cases and PopUp Examples

Did you know that on average 70 to 96% of visitors who leave your site will never return?

It might surprise you to know that website bounce rates can be as high as 90% in some areas, as you can see from this image:

Bounce Rate sectors
Bounce rates on different sectors and site types

In most cases, this means that the 95%-98% of your marketing, time and financial efforts are going to waste: in short, in the spirit of the old adage "half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don't know which half is“.

There is good news though: according to the data, from 10 to 15 % of lost visitors can be "recovered" using the popup exit intent.

Exit Intent: what it is, how it works and what it's for

Let's start by understanding what we're talking about: LExit Intent is a behavioral technology that tracks and monitors visitors' movements and detects when they are about to leave your site without converting.

With an exit intent popup, a visitor's mouse movements are tracked and when the cursor moves outside the upper boundary of the page (because the tab bar is usually there), a window is shown in the form of exit overlay and pop-upwhich is activated using a JavaScript snippet that measures the speed and direction of the mouse.

Exit Intent technology, which includes detection of an internet user's exit behavior, is not new, chronologically speaking: was invented and patented by Ryan Urban, the CEO and co-founder of BounceX, in 2012.

The goal is to grab the attention of the outbound visitor and optimize the chances of them converting into leads before they leave.

Use cases

Exit Intent for ecommerce (cart abandonment)

One of the most common use cases of Exit Intent technology is to reduce thecart abandonment in theecommerce and increase conversions by using a popup exit intent.

Your checkout page is the final step in your conversion process: anyone who makes it this far is a user very close to converting, to becoming a customer.

If the exit-intent technology detects that your buyer is about to leave, you can show targeted campaigns to the user such as:

  1. a special discount offer to encourage a purchase, perhaps pushed with a countdown that leverages the shortage;
  2. an invitation to chat with a support agent;
  3. an invitation to download your lead magnet and subscribe to the newsletter.

The purpose is to try to recover in extremis the visitor who is about to abandon the cart, trying to encourage the purchase (point 1), assist him in any doubts that are leading him to abandon the cart (point 2), or try to create a connection to convert at a later stage the user, offering precisely the possibility to subscribe to the newsletter (point 3).

Exit Intent for Inbound and Content Marketing

A typical use of the exit intent technology is for the acquisition of leads, inside of a landing page or in a blog in the context of Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing activities.

In this context a popup exit intent asking for an email address can increase from 4% to 7% of your site visitors to sign up for your list.

In most cases, when a user is done reading your content, they leave. With exit-intent popups, you can show user-targeted campaigns like:

  • dump a Lead Magnet, in the form of a free ebook or a case study
  • offer to sign up for a free trial of a product, such as a Demo
  • have a call booked (in this case Click To Call services can also be useful)
  • propose registration for your webinar (you can read more about this here how to do Lead Generation with a Webinar)

On average, our publishers are seeing a 200 - 600% increase in email signups when they use exit-intent in conjunction with their content marketing efforts.

You can use theemail marketing automation to convert these new subscribers into customers by putting them into an automated email workflow.

Why does Exit Intent work?

There are a few reasons why exit intent popups and overlays work:

  1. When a visitor decides to leave the website, their mind is free for the next task. This is the perfect time to capture their attention and show them an irresistible offer.
  2. When you show visitors a popup in the middle of the screen, they have to make a choice. They have no distractions - can engage with the popup and leave their information, or close the popup.
  3. In most cases you won't offer the same thing in your landing page and in your exit popup. If the visitor hasn't converted on your page, you'll probably offer something with a different CTA (call to action) or a higher value to catch them as they hesitate.

How to implement Exit Intent on your site


You know when you're browsing a website and, just before you close your browser or click on another page, a popup appears asking for your email address?

That's an exit intent popup.

An example is OptinMonster (https://optinmonster.com/), with Exit Intent® technology that detects mouse movements and displays a targeted message as the user is about to leave the page.

In the video below and at this link you can find out more about OptinMonster's exit intent: https://optinmonster.com/features/exit-intent/

Best practices for Exit Intent Popup

Here are some uncommon tips to optimize the performance of your exit intent popup.

Loading speed matters, here too

When we say that an exit-intent popup appears at the very moment the visitor moves the mouse out of the window, this means that the popup appears a few milliseconds later, and the amount of time, no matter how minuscule, is important.

You have less than 200 milliseconds to show visitors your message before they actually click the X button. In fact, you should reduce this delay to less than 50 milliseconds.

How can your popup respond so quickly? Firstly, it is important to preload the content of the popup. Real-time loading takes more than 200 milliseconds. Preloading requires technical know-how, but the best exit-intent popup software has already solved this problem.

You should consider whether avoid using special effects on these types of popups. They look good, but increase the amount of time it takes to display the popupas well as the time it takes visitors to understand the message.

Test with an A/B Test

The same rules apply to exit intent popups as to any other web page or landing page: always test. For instance, in this A/B Testjust changing the headline of the offer resulted in a 47% increase in conversions.

Reduce (or increase!) the required fields

Despite the statistics onform optimization tell us that more fields means less filling in, other data show that theand adding extra fields to your enrollment form may even improve your enrollment rate.

A recent study by Omnisend. reveals that Adding some additional fields in the signup form is not a reason for non-conversion. On the contrary, some people tend to share their details for a better shopping experience. So don't miss the opportunity to request and get a visitor's phone number or birthday/gender/city date.

As you can see, from the E data from Omnisend 2019 statistics below, customers are willing to share their sensitive information like phone numbers or birthday dates. Managing this data opens up new opportunities for your business ecommerce or of Lead Generation.

Exit Intent Popup Examples

In the following links you will find an overview of examples of practical application of the exit intent popup:

  • https://blog.useproof.com/exit-intent-popup
  • https://wisepops.com/exit-popup-examples/
  • https://www.omnisend.com/blog/exit-intent-popup-examples-small-online-businesses/
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