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Adwords and exit hover ads

does google ban exit hover ads that use hidden divs?



5:36 pm on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

We have developed but not rolled out an exit hover ad for our main landing page, using the tool ExPop. Our Adwords consultants tell us this can get us banned from Google.

I am wondering if this is really true?

Does anyone have any experience with ExPop?

Our popup uses a hidden div, only pops up when users move their cursor to the top edge of the page with the thought they they are moving towards the browser navigation. While this is not a fool-proof method of invoking the popup, it is not as intrusive as other techniques such as onbeforeunload. If the user requests to leave, they are left alone after that point.

Does this violate Google's policy? If so, how would the technique even be detected by a spider?

We have been told that Google does not object to either technique (hidden div or onbeforeunload) when not used on a landing page. However we are wanting this for our landing page.

In my opinion, if it is a policy violation, I would probably not take the risk, even if it is undetectable.


5:59 pm on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I wouldn't do it. I'm pretty sure that would fall under the heading of a bad user experience. Whether or not a spider catches it, a manual review would, in case you ever triggered one.

Personally, I would *loathe* such a thing if I came across it on a site.


1:29 pm on Dec 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Don't use pop-up windows on your site.

We do not approve destination URLs that generate pop-ups when users enter or leave your landing page.

We consider a pop-up to be any window, regardless of content, that opens in addition to the original window.

This includes pop-unders, timed or intermittent pop-ups, mock system warnings, and pages that automatically initiate a download.


2:26 pm on Dec 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

While I am probably going to have to avoid the technique on our landing page for "safety", Google specifies "popup windows". However, they do not define them well. The refer to many kinds of windows, but you could say they are all window.open actions that open a new browser.

A tooltip-like "rollover" hidden div is clearly not a window.open that opens a browser. Google says nothing about these.


1:31 pm on Dec 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

before we start lawyering up what the definition of a popup is...

put yourself in the consumer's shoes... is whatever you want to do on exit, really a different experience than an exit popup window?

they took an action to leave... if the math doesn't work well, i suggest that landing page optimization (and other testing of enhancements to your site) might be a better route for you than trying to interrupt their exit. not just for G's rules, but for overall business reasons.


2:44 pm on Dec 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

If you have a landing page, and on that landing page there is a tooltip that "pops up" when the user rolls over an image -- is that a problem? I would venture to say that no PPC/SEO expert would say that it is. That is what we have -- it is like a tooltip that allows the user to enter information.

The more obtrusive popups compel behavior. Our implementation does not. After seeing our popup, the user can still use the back button, close the browser, navigate to another URL in the address bar.

Our thinking is as follows: we have a special purpose web site that is of no value to anyone other than those who need our service, which is not everyone. We pay to get visitors to our web site. If they came to the site with this need, then we would like both a "second chance" and also give them the opportunity to check some boxes as to why they are leaving. This will help us to better meet their needs and reduce the number of visitors in the future who do not come to our site with this need.

In other words, it helps us to do better in reducing the number of "misfires" which helps everyone in the long run.

We have been evolving our web site for over 8 years now, and it is "optimized and focused and clear" as we have been able to make it -- SO FAR. But we agree that we can do better, and this will help us to do so. I am only making this point to counter the potentially valid argument that our site is badly optimized. I can assure you that every word on the site gets reviewed and is there for a purpose.

We agree that continual effort to "optimize better" is a important goal and we pursue it vigorously on an ongoing basis, but improvements in SERP placement will only have minor impact at this time, because already we are consistently in the top 3 in the organic and frequently #1.

In any case, we feel that if the user is on our landing page in a "complete miss" then there is no harm in presenting a popup that does not compel behavior but only requests their input, which they can chose to ignore. But if they have come to our site and could use our service, then they deserve the "second chance" to see that, and we deserve the ability to make our site better by providing the "survey" aspect.

Having said all of the above, we do not take lightly adding this function, and thus I am seeking through various channels viewpoints of experts. So I am not trying to be argumentative, but to make the best case possible. If this case still gets shot down, then so be it.

Again, I think the best way to look at this is on a spectrum with many points. For example, a page with pure content and no links or interactive opportunity at all would be the "innocent" end of the spectrum. A page with window.open popups and pop-unders and you can't get out of it and it goes on indefinitely -- that would be the other "guilty" extreme. A non-interactive page with tooltips such as alt or title tags would be closer to the innocent end. And our proposal with tooltip-like popups that do not impede the user but give them opportunity to enter data would be just a bit further.

My position is that our approach is still "innocent" and should not violate G's rules.


2:46 pm on Dec 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I should also have pointed out that we are probably not going to use ExPop, as that would be more intrusive than I described in my long, previous post. As such, ExPop would be further down the spectrum of obtrusiveness. Rather we are now contemplating the less intrusive, interactive tooltip-like popup.


3:08 pm on Dec 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

It's still a poor user experience in my opinion, and I bet Google would think so too.


4:04 pm on Dec 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

What about a tooltip on an image? Nearly every page on the web would have that.

So putting optional checkboxes in that tooltip makes it a poor user experience?

I am wondering if you are just taking a "hard line position" without thinking about the actual dynamics.

What changes in the user experience with a "tooltip with optional entry" as compared to a normal tooltip?


4:09 pm on Dec 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

For additional background information: there is a technique using the onbeforeunload event, which has been designed to help users to save their input before leaving a page. I have information directly from Google staff that while use of such a technique *on a landing page* must be avoided and is considered a violation, that such use on a page other than a landing page is perfectly acceptable.

My point is the Google does not take a generic position on the use of such techniques, but specifically as applied to the user experience with landing pages.

And my inquiry into the "optional toolip with input" technique is exploring the specifics of the user experience.


4:17 pm on Dec 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I don't have time to get into every little "what if" situation with you. I'm saying I would hate it, and I expect Google wouldn't like it either - on a landing page. But you seem determined, so go ahead and try it if you want.

You're not going to get a specific answer for the exact scenario under which you can do what you want to do. So it's up to you if it's worth the risk.


10:27 pm on Dec 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thank you for your comments. We are certainly taking them seriously.

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