What Are Exit Overlays, And How Do They Work?

by Jeremy Wallace on August 29, 2014
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I’m often asked what exactly an exit overlay is, how it’s different from a popup, and how it’s possible to detect when people are about to abandon your site.

Hopefully this post clears up the confusion.

An exit overlay from Gr8fires.co.uk, activated when Rooster detects a user is about to abandon your site.

What’s an exit overlay?

An exit overlay is a modal or lightbox overlay that activates in the same window the user was browsing in, not a new window like a traditional popup.

It’s a marketing tool designed to convert abandoning web visitors into leads, sales & signups.

Exit overlays grey out the rest of the site in order to focus attention on one specific offer—usually a coupon, discount, or email signup in exchange for an ebook or other publication.

Neil Patel using an exit overlay on Quicksprout.com

How do exit overlays work?

Rooster exit overlays are activated by our proprietary exit-intent algorithm, which tracks user movements, and launches only when an abandoning user is detected.

In a nutshell, our exit-intent technology uses a tracking algorithm to detect mouse gestures, resting moments, and other user movements. Using this algorithm, the technology is able to predict the exact moment a user is about to exit a website.

When the Rooster algorithm detects an abandoning visitor, an exit overlay is triggered to enable you one last chance to engage your visitor before they abandon your site.

Why use an exit overlay?

As marketers, most of us know that the majority of web users won’t convert on their first visit.  By the numbers, 70 – 95% of visitors to your site will leave without taking your desired action.

And given the sacrifice you endure to get each and every visitor to your site, having such a large percentage abandon your site is a serious blow.

To this end, Rooster exit overlays exist for one reason: to sweeten the pot for abandoning users, and recover value from them before they leave your site.

Further, Rooster exit overlays are a way to reduce site abandonment without taking up too much of your valuable time, as much of the work is automated.

Click below for a video demonstration


Four more advantages to using Rooster exit overlays:

  1. Rooster can segment abandoning users into different groups—first-time visitors, returning visitors who haven’t purchased, users who are about to abandon a shopping cart—and tailor your overlay’s message accordingly.
  1. Since many users aren’t willing to commit on their first visit, exit overlays are a great strategy to connect with visitors before they leave, so you can engage them on an ongoing basis.
  1. Exit overlays stay out of the way of users who are already taking your desired action.
  1. Exit overlays can make your marketing more efficient and target users before they abandon your site.

Our proprietary exit-intent tool: Rooster

As a conversion optimization agency, we grew frustrated at seeing such a large percentage of our client’s web traffic abandon their websites.

This led us to explore the possibilities of automated optimization targeted at abandoning visitors. After learning about exit-intent technology, we spent 13 months developing, testing and launching our own sophisticated exit-intent tool, Rooster.


The early results surprised even us. One client increased sales leads from their website by 300%, while another converted over 28% of their sign-ups generated through Rooster into paying customers.

So how many abandoning users can you convert to leads, sales and signups? Give us 2 hours, and we’ll give you leads, sales and sign-ups from up to 18% of your abandoning visitors.

Rooster is now available on a free 30-day trial.



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