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Thrive Leads Review: A New Generation Of List Building Plugin

Thrive Leads Review
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  • Rated 5 stars
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  • Last modified: May 28, 2016
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Building an email list is one of the smartest things you can do as a blogger.

But you need the right tools to help you and if you use WordPress, that means having the right plugin.

We often forget that while we’re trying to make it easy for our visitors to subscribe, it needs to be easy for us to deploy, customize and test those opt-in forms too.

After all, our time is valuable right?

In this review we will take a closer look at a WordPress plugin that might just be exactly what you need to rapidly accelerate the growth of your email list without any messing around or a huge learning curve. Just a straight forward yet powerful tool to grow your email list.

Sound good? Let’s dive in!

Enter Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads is a new WordPress plugin from the Thrive Themes team.

It’s designed to help you add engaging opt-in forms to key locations on your website, make it easy for you to split test different opt-in forms and monitor your progress.

There are plenty of templates and other features that will have a huge impact on your list building efforts.

Let’s take a closer look.

Note: want to skip the review and check out Thrive Leads straight away? Click here.

Add opt-in forms to key locations with ease

Opt-in forms within Thrive Leads are organized into 3 different groups:

Lead groups

Here you have all of the main opt-in form types which include:

  • Ribbons
  • Popovers
  • Widgets
  • After post
  • Slide-ins

These forms are grouped together, so when you add a new group you can add one of each opt-in form or several different ones – this is great for keeping things organized and you can instantly see how well each of the forms are converting.

Lead Groups

Apart from the widgets, the other opt-in form types will be added automatically after you customize the display settings (note: you should only use the display settings after you have customized your opt-in form).

You are free to add as many opt-in forms as you like and you have access to various display settings so you could choose to display a particular opt-in form just on the home page, posts, a tag, a category or a specific post/page.

This enables you to create incredibly relevant opt-in forms for your visitors so you can massively increase your conversions – offering something that is more relevant is super important.

Shortcode placement

Here you can setup opt-in forms that you’ll place using shortcodes.

You can use these within widgets if you want, but they are typically used as in-content opt-in forms.

And they are a great way to get more email subscribers!

For example, a lot of websites will get a significant portion of traffic going to their about page. With this feature you can easily add an opt-in form within that page (or any other).

You can add as many shortcode based opt-in forms as you like and then see which of the pages convert best.

Lead Shortcodes

2 step opt-in forms

A 2 step opt-in form is slightly different from the other forms.

It displays a popover when a link or button is clicked. It works via a shortcode so it’s really easy to add to any of your posts/pages.

2 step opt-in forms have been found to have a huge impact on conversions.

The thinking behind this is that people are more likely to click a button/link than enter an email address but after they click the link they are partly invested in the process so they’re more likely to enter their email address.

It works by adding a shortcode around the text or button you’d like people to click on to display the popover. This makes it extremely easy to setup.

Add A Shortcode

How easy is it to use Thrive Leads and customize forms?

Getting setup is really straight forward with Thrive Leads.

It’s easy to add opt-in forms and stay organized.

One issue I’ve had with other plugins is that it can get difficult to manage if you have a lot of different opt-in forms. But, with Thrive Leads organizing forms into groups, it makes it so much easier to manage.

Opt-in forms are incredibly easy to customize too. You have a slick drag and drop editor that makes things so much simpler. You can see exactly how your form will look as you edit it.

You’re not limited to the elements within the template you choose either because you can add other content elements too.

Template Elements

You’ll also find helpful videos within the plugins interface so you can get a quick helping hand if you get stuck.

Add New Lead Group

Thrive Leads comes fully loaded with engaging opt-in form templates

You get access to some great looking templates with this plugin but what I like most of all is that most are grouped into sets.

This is a great way to keep your opt-in forms looking consistent.

So you can add a popover which will look something like this:

Opt-in Form Example

And then add a widget opt-in form which has the same design:

Opt-in Form Example 2

There’s a good variety of great looking templates and with easy customization functionality you can make them look how you want them within a short amount of time.

Skyrocket your conversions with super easy split testing

Thrive Leads is geared to help you massively improve your conversions.

Thanks to how the plugin is organized, creating split tests is VERY straight forward.

And there is a lot you can test here.

You can either clone an existing opt-in form then make tweaks or you can create a completely new design and test that.

For particular opt-in types you’ll have the option to set a trigger. Like with popovers for example. You can test timed popovers against popovers which appear after a particular point in a page is reached.

While there’s a lot you can test, it’s best to start off with a single hypothesis and then test that.

Social Media Checklist

But it gets even better.


There’s a feature that I’ve never seen in a list building plugin yet which is the ability to test different opt-in form types against each other.

Start New Test Of Opt-in Form Types

You can also select the option for the plugin to choose the winning opt-in form automatically – great if you’re pushed for time.

Other Thrive Leads features you will love

We’ve talked through quite a few of the main reasons why this is an effective plugin but there are some more important features that you will love.

  • SmartLinks – instead of showing your subscribers opt-in forms, you can show them custom calls to action
  • Page level targeting – use inclusion and exclusion rules to decide exactly where on your sites particular opt-in forms should be seen
  • Built in reporting – easily monitor how well your opt-in forms are performing
  • Daily overview – see a snapshot of your progress on a daily basis
  • Support for all major email marketing platforms – if a platform supports custom HTML forms, you can use it with Thrive Leads
  • Various triggers for opt-in forms – find the right balance to ensure your readers aren’t interrupted
  • Supports exit intent for popovers – display popovers just as a visitor is about to leave
  • Links to help videos within the plugin making it easy to find your way around
  • Save your own templates
  • Supports multiple fields, check boxes and more

Final verdict

Most plugins get difficult to manage when you add multiple opt-in forms, but Thrive Leads is the opposite. It’s super easy to find your way around and there are help videos within your reach if you need them.

All the major opt-in form types are supported and they come with some great looking templates which you can customize very easily.

It’s easy to get started with split testing and you can test different opt-in form types against each other – that’s a first for list building plugins.

There are incredibly in depth page targeting options so you can make your opt-in forms extremely relevant to your readers – this will have an incredible impact on your email sign ups.

If you’re serious about building your email list and generating leads – you will love Thrive Leads.

Ready to take your list building efforts to the next level? Find out more about Thrive Leads here.


  • Every plan includes lifetime updates
  • Easy to use
  • Eye-catching templates
  • Straight forward yet in depth customization functionality
  • Supports any email provider that uses custom HTML forms
  • Help videos which can be accessed from within the platform
  • Powerful split testing features
  • Easy to use reporting features
  • Supports 2-step opt-ins
  • Supports shortcode placement of opt-in forms


  • There is a bit of a learning curve involved with the editor
  • Customization can take longer than plugins which have a simpler interface but the upshot is you get full customization

Thrive Leads

Summary: Thrive Leads is an all-purpose list building plugin for WordPress. It’s easy to use and makes it straight forward to add opt-in forms to all the right places on your website. All major email providers are supported and it comes with a number of powerful features that will rapidly accelerate the growth of your email list.

Rated 5 stars

About Adam Connell

Adam used to run a team of marketers. Now he shares what he’s learned about growing blogs and businesses here on Blogging Wizard. He’s a fan of Firefly and Chinese takeaways. Click here to join the Blogging Wizard newsletter; you’ll get our best content & 15+ guides to grow your online presence faster.

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  • [ Smiles ] Wow, Thrive Leads is an impressive plugin.

    I like the idea of customized forms.

    • Thanks for your comment, Renard! I completely agree with you.

      Incredible stuff from the Thrive Themes team 🙂

      • Wolfy

        what’s with the HybridConnect forms
        is it possible to use (costumize) them with
        Thrive Leads or is it necessary to build again?

        • Thrive Leads is a completely new plugin so you would need to build your forms again.

          Personally I prefer the templates that come with Thrive and I believe it performs much better but if you want to continue using Hybrid Connect, the developers will continue to offer support.

  • Hi Adam,

    That’s a great review Adam! I can vouch for it because I’ve being using Thrive Leads for the past week, just getting to know my way around it. But like you say it is very well laid out and the mini video tutorials are there to help as well.

    I’ve not tried other Lead Gen tools like OptinMonster etc, only hybrid Connect. But from what I can see here this is just as good, if not better, than the others. ThriveThemes only produce quality software!

    Highly recommended!
    – David

    • Hi David,

      Thanks! Awesome to here you’ve been using the plugin already.

      I’m with you there, I think Thrive have hit it out of the park with this.

      I’ve used OptinMonster and it’s a really solid plugin but it gets very pricey when you want to use other opt-in form types other than popovers. Thrive Leads definitely has the edge.

      I really like their themes too – looking forward to see what the release in the future after so many great releases.


      PS – Just caught your email comparison post, really great work on that, loved how you put that together.

  • Istiak Rayhna

    Hey Adam,

    Thanks for the review. I’ve just bought the plugin using your affiliate link 🙂

    Excited to use it on my blog.

    • Hey Istiak,

      My pleasure and thanks for using my link – I really appreciate it 🙂

      I think you’ll really enjoy using this – the templates included look incredible and it’s so easy to use.

  • Hi Adam,

    Wonderful review and I really dig the point about customizing. I myself use a simple side bar opt in for my readers but I noted something; iPhone and iPad users may be missing out on my sidebar. Or, they may need to scroll right to see it. So I added a centered bar up top to be visible for all of my mobile viewers. Gotta customize, and it looks like this plug in does a fab job in this department.


    • Thanks Ryan!

      That’s a good point about iPhone and iPad users – they’ll usually have to scroll down. Adding the header/notification bar is definitely a good way to keep it visual!


  • Hi Adam, Thank you for the review. As a marketer, I split test certain opt in forms to see which gives me the best conversion. I have tried plugmatter, magic action box and now testing opt in monster. So far, leadpages does the best for me, but It is pricey and I always try and give my clients a lower priced option. However lower prices sometimes me lackluster design or compatibility issues. I do like the ability to split test against other thrive forms (smart). I like that your review covered the pros and cons which will make it easier for people to evaluate this for their own use. I would be curious to know what you used before and how Thrive compares over time. Thanks!

    • Hi Jolynn, my pleasure.

      In the past I’ve tried Plugmatter, OptinMonster and the free version of Magic Action Box.

      Plugmatter does take some more setting up, but it only supports feature boxes. And it requires adding a line of code, but there’s good documentation.

      Magic Action Box was disappointing in terms of the interface so I didn’t feel too comfortable upgrading. Seemed a bit clunky and difficult to customize.

      OptinMonster is definitely a solid option but I think it gets pricey as soon as you start wanting to add other opt-in form types. They’ve improved the plugin a lot but it’s still not all that customizable.

      Thrive Leads has been the most impressive so far. it’s only recently been released so it’s still early days yet but it has so much going for it.

      Price, functionality and ultimately ease of use which is always important.

      It’s also the most customizable – I’ve found that with OptinMonster I’ve wanted to change a few aspects of my forms which I haven’t been able to do.


  • Does this come free with or do you have to buy this separately? Or do you know?

    • Hi Lorraine! This is a separate plugin so would need to be bought separately.

      But, if you’ve used the Content Builder, you’ll find your way around the Thrive Leads editor very easily as it’s very similar.

  • Hey Adam,

    I read another post about Thrive Leads, but I really like this post since it went a lot more in detail. I actually bought it the other night but haven’t tested it out yet. But I will be sure to test this plugin this week.

    I really got it because the ease of use and primarily the A/B split testing. It sounds like the split testing is done automatically as soon as you create more opt in forms. This is something I need since I usually don’t split test after I create a form, which I know is very important.

    Thanks for sharing the review! Have a good one!

    • Thanks Sherman!

      That’s it, well you can choose for the split tests to run automatically or you can have them run manually. Lot’s of flexibility there.

      My pleasure, thanks for the comment!

  • Alex

    Thanks, that was a really helpful review!

    Can you create entire landing pages as well?

    If not, which tool would be your recommendation? LeadPages seems too pricey for me at the moment.

    • Hi Alex,

      Glad you found the review helpful!

      It can’t do landing pages as well but Thrive also do another plugin called “Content Builder”.

      It’s a page building plugin that comes with landing page templates. They’re all grouped together in sets so you’d get a sales page, squeeze page as well as thank you/downloading pages in the same design style.

      They use the same design engine for customizing so once you’re familiar with Thrive Leads, it’ll be straight forward to use the Content Builder.

      There are other landing page plugins like OptimizePress that are very good, although it’s not as light weight.

      Here’s a review I wrote a while back on Thrive’s other plugin:

      Here’s a more detailed comparison of some of the main plugins out there:

      • Alex

        Great, I just purchased the Content Builder throiugh your link.


        • My pleasure, Alex. Thanks for using my link, much appreciated!

  • Hi Adam,

    I’m thinking of buying Thrive Leads. I just want to make sure about one thing. You said in the cons “No API support for email providers”. Can you elaborate it a little more?

    I use Mailchimp. Will I able to connect it with Thrive Leads smoothly?

    • Hi Abrar,

      Yes, you’ll still be able to connect with MailChimp smoothly.

      You would just need to go to embeddable forms for your selected list, then copy and paste the form code into Thrive Leads.

      When you’re editing forms in Thrive Leads, you will have a button allowing you to edit the form which gives you the option to paste code.

      This actually makes it easy to setup opt-in forms that work with different email lists or even email providers.

      API support would be nice to have as it usually makes it a little bit quicker to setup forms, although it shouldn’t take too much time to login to MailChimp and get the form code.

      • Thanks Adam. I will buy it today and of course using your affiliate
        link. However, there was a discount, isn’t it? How do I avail it? I can not see anything or any coupon field on the site.

        • No worries, Abrar and thanks for using my link.

          There was a launch discount that they were offering but it’s not available now (sorry, mention of it should have been removed from the post – I’ll get that updated).

  • Hi Adam,

    The best reviewed article I found for explaining the Thrive Leads plugin interest. Thank you.

    Let me tell you that I am looking for getting this kind of plugin but I cannot find any pre-sale support from the Thrive team, I hope that their technical support will be better as soon as you purchase the product and be member.

    I have a question related to already subscribed and well known visitor:

    Does the plugin take care of that and doesn’t display anymore the popup ? Or still the user will see again the same popup (for example for exit intent) even he already sign up for the same e-mail. Technically speaking does the plugin keep track of cookies.

    In the same order of idea what is happening using shortcodes or 2 step opt-in forms, whatever the user situation it will again get the popup ?

    Please could you clarify?
    Thanks a lot.

    • Hi Soulé,

      My pleasure – thanks for the great feedback.

      I haven’t had any pre-sales experience with Thrive, but their technical support is very good. They have a support forum which you can search to find any answers before posting (that’s if you end up needing to use support).

      Currently Thrive Leads does have the option to stop the plugin from displaying another popup within a number of days. It’s set by default to 10.

      It doesn’t have the ability to keep track of whether a user has subscribed or not though, but this is difficult to track anyway because the plugin doesn’t have a way of seeing if a user has confirmed their email – and also people clear their cookies + use different devices.

      For 2 step opt-ins, they will displayed always and for shortcode opt-in forms, they will always be displayed but you can select when they are displayed with various triggers e.g. – page load/scroll etc.

      All the best,