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"Marketers will kill everything good."
- @GaryVee

 

Pop up ads emerged on the blossoming internet scene sometime in 1997, all thanks to Ethan Zuckerman. Zuckerman, a web developer who, at the time, worked for the webpage hosting site Tripod.com

When trying to solve a client advertising issue, Zuckerman created what would become one of the most hated revenue driving marketing tool, popup ads.

Prior to pop-ups, advertisements were bought as banners that lived on various sites -- this random-chance advertising led Zuckerman's client, a major car company, to freaking out when they realized that they'd bought a banner advertisement on a pornographic site (oops). 

Clearly the car company didn't want their brand associated with sexual content. So, to combat misassociation, Zuckerman created the code that would launch ads in separate windows. This was a way to associate a brand's ad with their site without putting it directly on the page. For a while, this strategy worked brilliantly. 

Banner ads were passive and by the late 1990s their click-through rate had dropped between 1 and 2 percent. However, popup ads were pulling in  3 to 5 percent of site users. This was a drastic jump in comparison, so what happened to the shining halo that popups brandished for years? 

Brendan Eich, inventor of Javascript took the shining halo and made it blink, make noise, and brought it to life. Javascript allowed pop-ups to have room for manipulation instead of stagnant formatting. This presented annoying instances of windows opening on their own, becoming difficult to close, and confusing site users. 

With the evolution of the internet and marketing strategies, there's a clear need for less intrusive advertisements and user friendliness across varying platforms. In a world where impatience, speed, and shortened attention spans dictate marketing strategies, if history has taught us one thing, it's this:

Popups need to evolve.