4 Types of Overlays That Can Have a Huge Impact


Like many organizations today, your website is most likely your primary portal to connect with citizens. it’s the place where a majority of your audience goes to find out more information about your programs and services.

Knowing that, when your audience comes to you, do you have a way to capture their information to connect with them later?

This is the power of an overlay – a clean, understated light window box that allows organizations to capture contact information from website visitors. This will allow you to encourage them to visit a park, inform them of a policy, download a report or register for an event, and more. Overlays demonstrate the ability to convert your website visitors into active audience members, and provide the opportunity to connect with them on an ongoing basis.

According to the most recent Granicus Benchmark Report, overlays can have an enormous impact on capturing subscriber information. In fact, the median organization will see a 168 percent increase in their subscriber base as a direct result of an overlay.

If your website doesn’t have an overlay now, you may want to consider implementing one on your website’s most visited web pages. Here are four types of overlays to help you decide which one is right for you:

Standard Overlay

A standard overlay, which uses a centered logo with a good amount of whitespace and clear and simple call to action text, is straightforward and to the point. Providing a very basic overlay can speak to the broadest audience and gets subscribers in the door where they can then browse your fuller list of topics and make more specific choices. A great time to use a standard overlay is on your homepage, where most visitors land first. Here is an example of a standard overlay:

Virgina Tax overlay screenshot

Advanced Overlay

Advanced overlays require additional customization beyond the standard options. Advanced overlays are typically graphic-intensive and allow you to express the values and promotional goals more directly and more attractively than a standard overlay. If you are a city planning board, for example, and have an upcoming music festival, you might consider using a graphic-centric overlay to convey the fun and excitement your audience will have attending the festival. Another good time to use graphic-centric overlays is to promote a specific topic in your account. This advanced overlay example is aimed at signing up for a snow conditions report:

Snow Conditions Overlay screenshot

A Multi-Step Overlay

If your account is enabled to a multi-step overlay, you may also choose to collect more information from your visitors to better communicate with your audience. For example, a multi-step overlay might offer an SMS signup option to send text communications to your subscribers. You can either display the email and the sms on the same first page of the overlay, or you can display the email on the first step, followed by a second step to insert their sms number if they choose to. This can reduce subscription fatigue, where a subscriber sees a large number of fields to submit and abandons the signup form before they have submitted it. A multi-step process breaks the form up into easy-to-digest chunks, and also allows you to capture the subscription on step one. Here is an example of a multi-step overlay:

My School DC Overlay Screenshot

A Slider

If you’re looking for an option that will blend in with your website and be less prominent, a slider might be the right option for your organization. A slider is a type of overlay, but it only displays in the lower right hand corner of your website. Typically, a slider will only display the heading section at first, and the website visitor will open the rest of the slider by clicking on the heading. They will then be able to enter their email address and sms number, and answer other questions that will make it easier and more effective to communicate with them. Sliders are typically simpler than overlays, but they also aren’t as impactful – you won’t see as dramatic of an increase in subscribers with sliders as you would with overlays. Here is an example of a slider:

Orange County, CA Overlay Screenshot

Overlays can be customized to be secure, accessible for people with disabilities, and mobile responsive. Plus, overlays prove to be the fastest and most effective method available for growing a digital audience, capable of achieving a 200 percent to 500 percent increase in the number of people who elect to hear from an organization every day, driving up reach, which is one of the most important metrics. This means more website traffic, more video views and greater participation in your programs and services.

Want to get started with an overlay? Connect with us by filling out this form, and one of our govDelivery experts will be in contact with your shortly. 


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