Thrive Leads Review: Is It the Best List Building Plugin for WordPress?

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If you’re thinking of creating an email list, you may have heard of Thrive Leads.

I bet you know all about the benefits of email marketing for your ecommerce website.

But what’s holding you back is…you need an audience for an email campaign to work.

And the only way to go about this is to grow an email list by asking people for their email addresses. For this, you’ll need an email list building plugin such as Thrive Leads to pull it off.

So what exactly is Thrive Leads and how will it make asking people for their email addresses less daunting? Keep reading to find out.

Thrive Leads Review: Overview

Thrive Leads web builder

The Thrive Themes team created Thrive Leads. This leading plugin helps your site for lead generation.

It comes packed with features that persuade web visitors to join your subscriber list.

Its unique selling point is the robust targeting and optimization features that tie in with an incredible variety of opt-in forms. All these are designed to increase your conversions.

You could be wondering…Why do I need this email list building plugin while my email marketing service offers the same?

Well, the default opt-in forms that you can create from most email marketing services usually pay more attention to sending emails than growing your list.

To be honest, the default opt-in forms that you can create from AWeber or MailChimp look so generic and boring.

However, an email list building plugin mainly focuses on your email list and attracting more subscribers. For this reason, a lot of effort is directed to let you design stunning opt-in forms that guarantee conversions.

So, if that sounds interesting, let’s jump straight into the best features of the Thrive Leads plugin.

Thrive Leads Review: Best Features

Here is a list of the best features that Thrive Leads can offer.

Different opt-in forms

People respond differently to various types of opt-in forms. Some prefer a less intrusive approach so a more subtle approach will work.

In contrast, some web visitors need a little push and this is where those in-your-face popups work.

This is why you may want to display different opt-ins forms on various parts of your website for jaw-dropping conversion rates.

For instance, you could display a widget alongside your articles and include a ribbon in the header to promote a specific product in your online store. You could even add an opt-in that’s launched each time the web visitor is about to leave the site.

Thrive Leads offers a wide variety of opt-in forms to supercharge your sign-ups.  Let’s have a closer look at the different types of opt-in forms.


Thrive Leads - lightbox

The lightbox is also the pop-up opt-in form. It comes up in the middle of a web page and obscures the rest of the page.

This highlights the opt-in so visitors cannot miss them. That’s why they have the highest conversion rate.

Lightbox forms come up after activating a specific trigger such as the exit intent. As we will see later, Thrive Leads has a number of triggers for its opt-ins.

You can make use of the pop-up to display promotional messages or links to other content on your site


The ribbon opt-in is a bar that appears on the top or the bottom of a web page. It is both tactful and sticky. It is also called a floating bar, header bar or footer bar.

Tactful because it ensures that you’ve not covered up any content. It is sticky to ensure that your opt-in stays in sight even after your visitor scrolls through. This makes it a less intrusive way to get more leads.

Just like the lightbox form, you can make use of triggers to control how often the ribbon gets displayed.


The sidebar widget opt-in is the most popular way of building a list. It is based on studies that reveal that a web visitor’s eyes follow an F-shape. This ensures that your offer is always visible.

With Thrive Leads, you can do more with a widget opt-in form. For instance, you can use advanced targeting to select when and where to display your opt-in widget.

You can also conduct A/B testing on different offers in your sidebar and other widget areas to increase your conversion rate.


Slide-in forms usually appear at the bottom right or left of a page on top of the content. This allows you to avoid interrupting the reading experience of your web visitors.

You can use these forms to display related content or highlight your lead magnet. You could also use ThriveLead’s exit-intent feature to get the reader’s attention before they leave your site.

ThriveBox 2-Step Opt-In

ThriveBox takes an entirely different approach when it comes to opt-ins. It entices the web visitor to be the one who makes the step to become a subscriber. All you do is trigger them in the first step then they fill out the form in the second step.

To trigger the ThriveBox opt-in, you can use a text link, a button or an image. To acquire more subscribers using ThriveBox, you can provide a unique opt-in offer for every blog post.

Another way you can use ThriveBox is by transforming your sidebar. Due to their overuse, sidebars may become a blind spot to repeat visitors. Instead, you could make use of images to advertise multiple opt-in offers using ThriveBox here.

In-Content form

You can insert the in-content form anywhere in your content. This is a great way for converting your visitors.

Thrive Leads shortcodes make it easy to insert the forms in your post. You just choose a relevant shortcode and copy and paste into your post.

You can also make use of the targeting features to control the location and time you show this form.

Screen Filler

The best way to make sure your web page visitors see your opt-in form is by using a screen filler. This is because it covers the entire screen so it’s hard to ignore.

You can use the screen filler form to turn your homepage into a squeeze page instead of redirecting visitors.

Apart from list building, you could even use the screen filler to show a time-sensitive offer or promote an upcoming webinar.

To avoid annoying your visitors, you can configure the form to stop showing too often.

Content Lock

Content lock forms harness the power of anticipation to get visitors to subscribe. It locks away any content on your web page so your visitor will have to use their email address as the key to unlocking it.

Thrive Leads lets you create a content lock pop-up for your audience to view content in exchange for their email address. You can use it to hide images, text or any other multimedia. You could conceal part of an article, coupon, infographic or video.

The more exciting the hidden information, the more your audience will do all it takes to see it.

Thrive Leads - Content Lock

Multi-Step Forms

This is a very reliable way to create a valuable email list. This is because it helps you build a list with only highly engaged subscribers who actually want what you’re offering.

Multi-step forms ask a simple yes or no question to your visitors. By asking questions, you let visitors self-segment. This also helps you present tailor-made offers to each visitor.

You can use multi-step forms in ribbons, widget area forms, screen fillers and in content forms as well.

Furthermore, Thrive Leads allows you to A/B test multi-step forms to find the best performer.

Conversion-focused design

Thrive Leads - conversion focus design

Thrive Leads features an extensive selection of templates and form designs. And the best part, they’re all designed with conversion in mind.

What I liked most was that Thrive Leads takes into consideration loading speed. Their products are programmed so that they don’t have a negative impact on your site’s loading time.

Customizable forms

Thrive Leads is equipped with an intuitive drag and drop builder that allows you to customize opt-in forms to your satisfaction.

You can make the designs to match your brand colors, get vertical or horizontal opt-in forms, add image backgrounds and so forth without any coding needed.


It’s downright annoying to repeatedly send messages to your subscribers asking them to sign up to your email list over and over. Thrive Leads offers a cool feature known as SmartLinks to deal with this issue.

It helps you display different offers to new visitors and existing subscribers. They are special links used to control the type of content you show visitors and existing customers.

You can use SmartLinks to provide clutter-free content for your subscribers. You could also leverage this feature to replace regular opt-ins with upsells and special offers to increase your sales.

Advanced trigger options

When it comes to displaying opt-in forms, timing is everything. You might risk turning off a web visitor by showing it too early.

On the other hand, you risk losing a potential customer when the opt-in form appears too late. This is especially true with pop-ups.

Thrive Leads offers four ways to serve your opt-in forms. You can try out different options to find out what best resonates with your audience.

For starters, the exit trigger displays an opt-in the moment your visitor is about to leave your site.

Secondly, the time trigger gives you the option to instantly show your opt-in form or wait until an estimated amount of seconds have passed.

Thirdly, the scroll trigger displays your opt-in of choice when the visitor scrolls to a specific part of the content. It could be a defined percentage or at the end of the content.

Lastly, the click trigger shows your opt-in when the visitor clicks a button or a link in your content.

Precise targeting

Thrive Leads - precise targeting

Picture this:

You’re deeply immersed in reading an article on drop shipping when all of a sudden an opt-in form appears that offers you a piano training course… That’s totally irrelevant, right? Well, it’s what happens when you show the same opt-in offer to all web visitors.

Thrive Leads helps you create unique opt-in offers that are in line with the content your web visitor is reading.

If you found yourself in the drop shipping/piano training situation, would you sign up for that email list?

A resounding No! simply because this is not the right offer for you.

For more subscribers and a better conversion rate, you have to create segmented email lists. This ensures that you send highly targeted messages to the right audience.

Thrive Leads lets you target by category, post or by page. It even lets you add the exclusions you prefer such as URL, page type and custom taxonomy.


The traditional exit intent trigger doesn’t do much to capture mobile users yet they form about 50% of internet traffic.

Why would you let this enormous bunch slip through your fingers?

The traditional exit-intent triggers when the visitor moves their mouse cursor over the edge of the screen towards the close button or new tab.

However, there is no mouse cursor in a mobile device meaning it is impossible to trigger the traditional exit intent. This is where SmartExit comes to the rescue.

It helps you capture mobile users using a time-based trigger for mobile screen fillers and lightboxes.


The Thrive Leads team added this new feature to help its users draw attention to opt-in forms. This is not something you usually find in a WordPress Plugin.

Thrive Leads provides 22 different animations to capture a visitor’s focus to join your email list. You can expect the 3D Sign, Bounce In Up, Blur, Make Way, Rotational, 3D Slit, and 3D Horizontal Flip.

Here is the full list different animation available on Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads - Animations

Advanced A/B testing

The best way to increase the speed that your list grows is to run A/B test to see what works and what doesn’t.

Thrive Leads allows you test totally different types of opt-ins against each other. You can also test different triggers to determine the best time to display the opt-in.

Similarly, you can split test different elements in the design and content. This includes the headline, images, and colors to determine which variation works best.

You could even test different offers such as an ebook or a video course. You could do the same for a combination of offers. It also allows you to A/B test those who sign up to different funnels.

Thrive Leads features the automatic winner function that automatically monitors how each variation performs. This ensures you always display the highest converting forms as fast as you can. This is because it also deactivates the losing form.


You can view stats for individual opt-in forms as well as your overall list building efforts using Thrive Leads.

Furthermore, you can check out how your conversion rate and lead growth has changed.

It provides an overview that's easy to understand your very important metrics.

With Thrive Leads, you get the following reports:

  • Conversion report

It shows you the number of leads you have.

  • Comparison report

It helps you know the opt-ins that generate more leads.

  • List growth

This shows you the total number of opt-ins and lead groups.

  • Lead referral report

This helps you know where your leads come from.

  • Lead tracking report

It helps determine the effectiveness of campaigns.

  • Content marketing report

This helps you find out which content generates more leads.


Thrive Leads - Integrations

You have to store the email addresses that you collect. This is why you need to integrate Thrive Leads with an email service provider before building a list.

Fortunately, it is compatible with about 19 email marketing services. This includes all the major players such as AWeber or MailChimp.

To set it up, head to the Thrive Leads Dashboard then go to API connections. Click on Manage Connections then go to Add New Connection.  You will be required to connect individual forms.

You might have to open the editor again and click on the empty field to bring you the list of email service options. From here select Connect with Service and choose your current connection. Then you’re good to go.

Thrive Leads Review: Customer Support

Thrive Leads offers a wide knowledge base of articles that cover numerous topics about its product offerings. They also have video tutorials for those who prefer visual content.

In addition, it has a support forum where customers get answers to issues they face using Thrive Leads.

Thrive Leads Review: Pricing

Thrive Leads - Pricing

So, how much will Thrive Leads set me back?

You can get Thrive Leads as a standalone plugin or as part of Thrive Themes membership.

As a standalone, you have three options:

  • $67 for one website
  • $97 for five websites
  • $147 for up to 15 websites

On the other hand, if you opt to join the Thrive Themes membership, you’ll pay $19 per month, which is billed annually. You will also have granted access to all of their plugins and themes.

Thrive Leads also offers a 30-day money back guarantee in case you don’t like their product.

Drawbacks of Using Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads has its fair share of less desirable features and some much-needed improvements. For instance, when starting out, it can be quite confusing to figure out the difference between ThriveBoxes, Lead Shortcodes, and Lead Groups.

Since it’s a WordPress plugin, you get everything localized to that specific WordPress install and this is a big challenge if you have multiple websites.


When it comes to WordPress-specific list building tools, Thrive Leads takes the crown. I like how it includes both hard to ignore methods and subtle options for its opt-in forms.

If you don’t mind annoying your web visitors, the screen filler option is the way to go.  For those who would rather a more subtle approach, Thrive Leads offers in-content and widget forms to do the trick.

Despite the learning curve, features such as SmartLinks, animation, ThriveBoxes, and short codes for in-content forms are quite useful. For instance, SmartLinks ensures you don’t send opt-in forms to those who have already joined your email list.

Moreover, Thrive Leads takes A/B testing to a whole new level. The automatic winner function revamps the spilt testing experience. It does all the heavy lifting for you by selecting highly converting forms within the shortest time possible.

All these valuable features make the learning curve worth it. I’d definitely recommend Thrive Leads to those who need a WordPress-specific solution for their email list building efforts.

Over to You…

Have you got any experience using Thrive Leads? We always enjoy hearing from our readers. So share your thoughts, concerns, and questions in the comments section below. Let’s keep the conversation flowing!

Thrive Leads
Rating: 3.5 - Review by

Belinda Kendi

Belinda Kendi is a talented content marketer, ghostwriter, and an e-commerce copywriter who produces relatable and valuable content that woo customers to subscribing. Why don't we start a conversation? Visit or email me;[email protected]

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