In 2004, popups were the most hated online advertising technique. But over the past 10 years, much has changed.
Popups are much less common on the web today. This is mainly because web browsers developed the technology to block them.
Instead of popups, it's much more common to see what we call marketing overlays, which are also sometimes called lightbox displays.
Though there are some similarities, marketing overlays differ from popups for several reasons:
1. Marketing overlays do not open in a separate window; instead, they appear within the same window the user was currently browsing.
2. Marketing overlays are controlled by site owners, not third-party advertisers. Site owners have different intentions, and must take into consideration the on-site user experience.
3. Whereas popups are activated just by the visitor arriving on the site, marketing overlays are most often activated by user actions, such as leaving the site (exit-intent) and scrolling (scroll-activated).
4. While popups were typically shown to every user who visited a page, site owners use targeting options to specify who is/isn't shown the display.
For a full breakdown on what exit overlays are and how they work, we urge you to check out What Are Exit Overlays, And How Do They Work? on the Rooster Blog.