Online marketers at the time saw the pop-ups as a way to drive sales. Unlike a banner ad, a pop-up demanded the user’s attention. By 1997 the pop-up ad was featured on several of the biggest websites on the Internet at the time. (AOL!) Banner ads were doing well, but the click-through rates (CTR) dropped toward the end of the 90’s to about 1-2%. Pop-up ads were clicked on by about 3-5% of users although some had concerns that users were just confused by this new window that was opening on their screens and of course some probably clicked by accident.
Of course, on top of being intrusive, pop-up ads were annoying ! Within a year there was software being advertised to block pop-ups and then pop-up blockers became a standard feature on browsers. Pop-ups hit their peak in about 2002, but then a survey reported that 75% of Internet users found them to be “very annoying”. With the rise of high-speed Internet and improved video and sound features on computers, pop-ups became basically extinct.