What’s the average optin rate you get on your WordPress site/blog? If you’re using only basic forms in the sidebar, it’s probably something in the 0.5% range (or less). Meaning, for every 200 visitors to your site, only *1* ends up subscribing to your email list.

Great, huh?

But what if you could improve your conversions by even 1000% – that’s one thousand percent (we’ve had it happen)?

What would that mean for your business, and how much faster it could grow?

As suspicious as it might sound, there are tools out there that promise they can give you results of that caliber. Let’s find out what makes them so special!

OptinMonster vs LeadPages vs Sumo vs Thrive Leads
Today, we’re comparing 4 of the most popular email optin tools for WordPress sites:  OptinMonster, LeadPages, Sumo, and Thrive Leads . We’re looking into the features, the pros and cons of each tool, what sets each of them apart, and which of them you should choose based on your individual needs.
We’ve also reached out to the creators of those tools and asked them about the two things that make their tool different from the competition. You can read their answers below.

Let’s start with the basics. Here’s the side-by-side:

Bonus info: Get the list of 10 tools we use when designing for WordPress that cut our work time in half (by the way, 7 of them are free). Click here.

OptinMonsterLeadPagesSumoThrive Leads
Price / m$9$25$0$59
$29$199$79(one time payment)
(annual billing)(annual billing)$199
Easy to use form builderYYYY
Landing page builderNYNN****
Pop-up formsYYYY
In-line forms (in your blog content)YNYY
On-click triggered formsYYYY
Floating bars at the top / ribbonsYNYY
Slide-in formsYNYY
Sidebar/widget formsYNNY
Blank canvas forms / fully editable formsYY*Y*****Y
Fullscreen pop-up forms / scroll mat formsYY*YY
Exit-intent formsYNYY
Ready-made form designsYYYY
Can you have multiple forms of the same type?YYYY
Tracking and statsYYYY
Page targetingYN**YY
A/B testingYYYY
Unlimited campaignsYYYY
Email platform integrationAll major tools (e.g. MailChimp, SendinBlue, GetResponse)Most major toolsMost major toolsMost major tools
Google Analytics integrationYYYY***
API (connect your own app)YNNN
SupportKnowledge base, ticketing system, email contact1:1 support and coaching, email, live chat, phoneKnowledge base, ticketing system, email contactKnowledge base, ticketing system
Ease of use9101010
 OVERALL  9.5  8.3  9.2  9.3 
* LeadPages works with full landing pages, not individual forms.
** LeadPages creates custom landing pages for you, instead of integrating with existing pages.
*** Thrive Leads is a WP plugin, so the GA integration you have on your blog will work with Thrive Leads no problem.
**** There’s another plugin called Thrive Landing Pages that pairs with Thrive Leads and gives you landing page functionality.
***** Read about the specifics here.

Full review comparison of the top email optin tools for WordPress

OptinMonster is your all-in-one tool when it comes to optin forms and optin optimization on your WordPress blogs.

It allows you to create all kinds of optin forms (and every one of them is designed very nicely), measure their conversion rates, do A/B testing, and basically have every aspect of your optin management handled in one easy to grasp place.

Also, you can have OptinMonster installed on multiple websites, and manage them all through a single dashboard.

Main features
  • Drag-and-drop form builder.
  • Tens of ready-made form templates.
  • Multiple types of optin forms available.
  • Blank canvas forms – put any HTML in them.
  • Exit intent forms – convert the visitors who were just about to leave your site.
  • Segment your customers with behavior personalization.
  • A/B testing – really easy to use.
  • Great stats and analytics.
  • On-click triggered forms.
  • Full-screen welcome gate.
  • Floating bars.
  • Slide-in forms.
  • Sidebar forms and widgets.
  • Good-looking form animations.
optinmonster pricing
  • Great and easy to use A/B testing feature. You can create new variations of your forms and test them against each other. No technical skills needed for that.
  • OptinMonster allows you to create entirely custom pop-ups. This means you’re not limited to optin forms only. For instance, use this to link to your popular content, display pricing tables, buy buttons, and etc.
  • It’s the most affordable solution on this list (except the free version of Sumo), and it certainly has the best “price to value” ratio.
  • OptinMonster integrates with every email marketing solution that I know of; including obvious ones like MailChimp, but also a range of alternatives (speaking of alternatives, check this out).
  • Great API for advanced users. You can build your own apps and have them integrated with OptinMonster.
  • You can work with unlimited websites on the Pro plan.
  • Integrates with your site through a WordPress plugin.
  • When the official WordPress plugin updates are released, you need to be quick installing them. Sometimes all your optin forms can stop being displayed if you’re not on the most recent version. Update. It’s been pointed out to me that OptinMonster has now moved to the SaaS model, and only uses the WordPress plugin to establish an API connection. This should solve the problem.
  • The ready-made form templates are not fully editable. The only way around this is to use the blank canvas form, and put custom HTML in it. Requires some technical skill, though.
Who’s OptinMonster best suited for?
Get OptinMonster if you:
  • want to have your optin forms handled inside one easy to use interface,
  • want an affordable yet incredibly powerful solution,
  • want to be able to create optin forms that just work and don’t require any design or development knowledge on your part,
  • manage more than one site.

Here’s what Syed Balkhi, the founder of OptinMonster had to say when asked, “What are the 2 things that make your tool different from the competition?”

OptinMonster has an extensive events API which trumps everything else in the market. We also allow you to create 100% custom popups that doesn’t have to be just an email optin. For example, you can include shortcodes to display payment forms, related blog posts, related eCommerce products, and basically anything else that you want.Syed Balkhi
LeadPages is one of the most popular email optin solutions on the market. Although simply calling it a “solution” doesn’t do it justice. LeadPages is so much more.

Where most tools focus on letting you create a couple of forms to capture email addresses, LeadPages goes a lot further. The other tools on this list are about individual optin forms, LeadPages is about landing pages.

The main advantage of LeadPages is that you can take your idea and turn it into a fully functional landing page in less than five minutes.

Apart from that, you also get many optin generation tools that work on every site, not just in WordPress.

Main features
  • Easy to use tool for building landing pages and getting them online.
  • Large library of landing page designs that can be sorted by conversion rates (this is huge!),
  • Designs are mobile-friendly and responsive.
  • On-click triggered forms.
  • Capture email addresses through SMS text messaging.
  • Works with unlimited sites.
  • It takes care of delivering your email gifts for you – the resources you might have promised your audience for subscribing.
  • There’s tracking and analytics.
  • A/B testing.
  • Hosts your landing pages for you.
  • You can also publish your forms to Facebook.
  • Integrates with your site through a WordPress plugin.
  • Truly impressive scope of features when it comes to landing pages. Especially useful if you want to test a number of different things, or when you manage more than one site.
  • The forms and landing page templates can be sorted by conversion rates. This means that you can choose and work with only the best converting templates.
  • Integrates with most of the popular email service providers.
  • LeadPages is big on educating their customers and sharing their findings openly. You’ll learn a lot about email marketing when working with LeadPages, which will improve your results even further.
  • No coding skills required at all to work with LeadPages.
  • The price. LeadPages is the most expensive solution on the list.
  • While LeadPages delivers great optin features through its landing page templates, it’s not as great for working with individual optin forms. For example, when you just want to display a form in your blog’s sidebar, or on some pages that you already have on the blog. This is not possible with LeadPages.
Who’s LeadPages best suited for?
Get LeadPages if you:
  • want to work with custom landing page designs more than you want to work with individual optin forms,
  • want to take advantage of a tested library of landing page templates that have been proven to generate good conversions,
  • want to be a part of the most frequently updated and added-to solution in the email optin space.
Sumo is a very interesting tool, and especially if you don’t want to invest any money right off the gate.

It gives you access to a range of tools, not only for email. Each of them is nicely customizable, plus easy to use.

In the email optin department, you get great pop-up forms, scroll boxes, floating bars, and something called a welcome mat – an optin form that takes up the entire screen.

Main features
  • Customizable pop-up form with a nice set of templates.
  • Customizable floating bar form.
  • Scroll-box form.
  • Welcome mat – full-screen form.
  • Adjustable display mode (set your forms to appear after a certain delay).
  • Smart display mode – determines the best time to display the forms to a visitor automatically.
  • Display rules – set the exact pages where the forms are going to appear, or block them on other pages.
  • A/B testing.
sumo pricing
  • If you want to just get started collecting emails on your blog as soon as possible, Sumo is for you.
  • There’s a free plan available that gives you access to all Sumo modules (with some features limited, though).
  • It’s a very popular solution, currently online on more than 180,000 websites.
  • Integrates with most of the popular email service providers.
  • Doesn’t require any design or development skills.
  • Sumo is heavy on educating its users and the community overall. You’ll find some great insights in their newsletters.
  • Quite expensive if you want to have all features enabled ($199 / month).
Who’s Sumo best suited for?
Get Sumo if you:
  • want to get started right away and have a pop-up form live on your site in a matter of minutes,
  • want a range of other useful marketing tools for free.

Here’s what Noah Kagan, the founder of Sumo had to say when asked, “What are the 2 things that make your tool different from the competition?”

1 – Free
2 – Suite of marketing tools vs just 1.Noah Kagan
Thrive Leads is among the most feature-rich email optin solutions out there. Unlike the other players on this list, Thrive Leads is a WordPress plugin, and lets you work with your forms within a familiar WordPress interface.

Thrive Leads offers loads of optin form types, and allows you to customize everything to your liking. There are countless templates available, and you don’t need any design or development skills to work with them. On top of that, you get great tracking and analytics.

Main features
  • Multiple types of optin forms available (pop-ups, slide-ins, floating bars, widget forms, in-content forms).
  • Drag-and-drop form editor.
  • A/B testing.
  • Exit-intent triggering.
  • Full-screen forms.
  • Fully editable form designs.
  • Shortcodes.
  • Every form is mobile friendly.
  • Display rules – set the exact pages where the forms are going to appear, or block them on other pages.
  • Stats and analytics.
  • Very affordable due to the one-time payment.
  • Easy to use, no tech skills required.
  • Multiple form templates available.
  • Advanced analytics and focus on conversions – you can really improve your results by paying attention to the suggestions you get from Thrive Leads.
  • Frequent updates. Thrive Leads is constantly evolving to deliver new and better features.
  • Include your forms anywhere on your blog with shortcodes.
  • If you want to use it with more than one site, you’ll have to install the plugin individually on each site.
Who’s Thrive Leads best suited for?
Get Thrive Leads if you:
  • prefer paying just one time, instead of monthly,
  • want to have everything handled inside your WordPress dashboard,
  • want to be able to create new optin forms within minutes,
  • want one of the most feature-rich solutions on the market.

Here’s what Shane Melaugh, the founder of Thrive Leads had to say when asked, “What are the 2 things that make your tool different from the competition?”

1) The speed of development. It’s rare that a week goes by where we don’t add a major new feature a new improvement or a new set of templates to Thrive Leads. We’re relentlessly moving forward with this, listening to customer feedback and making sure the plugin stays well ahead of the curve. And this isn’t just something we claim – you can check our blog to see the constant updates for yourself.

2) True conversion focus: it’s easy to say that a plugin is built for conversions, but it’s quite difficult to back it up. We have a very sophisticated A/B testing engine in Thrive Leads and we’ve spared no expense to make sure that we measure the right kind of data and provide real results. This can make the crucial difference between actually improving your list growth and chasing phantoms that are the result of wrong interpretation of data, so it’s not a trivial matter.

In addition, we have a very extensive reporting suite that provides insights about the effectiveness of your content marketing, the best traffic sources for new leads on your site and much more.Shane Melaugh


In my opinion, every tool on this list has its place on the market. Please pick the persona that describes you best:


  • I’m just getting started and I don’t want to invest any money.
Click Here to Reveal


  • I want the best “price to value” ratio.
  • I want the most feature-rich solution for my email opt-ins.
Click Here to Reveal


  • I need complete landing pages to work with my opt-ins, not just individual forms.
Click Here to Reveal


  • I don’t want to use an external tool, I want to have everything handled through a WordPress plugin.
Click Here to Reveal
So that’s us. But what do you think? Are you using either OptinMonster, LeadPages, Sumo, or Thrive Leads on your site? Feel free to share what your experiences are in the comments below.
Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

* This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and then purchase the product, we’ll receive a small fee. No worries though, you’ll still pay the standard amount so there’s no cost on your part.

Karol K

Creates content, manages CodeinWP's team of writers and makes sure that every piece of content you see on this blog looks great! / Author of "WordPress Complete" / Professional yerba mate drinker / @carlosinho
  • Hi! Thank you SO MUCH for the excellent review! We’re so happy you see the great value in OptinMonster. Having said that, I’d love to resolve one of your primary cons. Earlier this year, OptinMonster transitioned from being solely a WordPress plugin, to being a SaaS product. Now OptinMonster is available for use on any HTML website (including WordPress). Moving to a SaaS model allows us to more easily push updates to the entire OptinMonster platform without requiring customers to update a plugin every time we have an improvement, new feature or bug fix. Also with the launch of our SaaS product, all optins are stored on our own servers, so there is no danger of “losing optins” during a plugin update.

    There IS an OptinMonster WordPress plugin still, but it simply serves as a connector between our SaaS product and a WordPress website, primarily for the purpose of offering a more robust page targeting UI than is available with our other website integrations. If an update were released for that connector plugin, there would be no option for losing optins since again, the optins are stored on our server, not in the customer’s WordPress database.

    For a full explanation of our transition from a stand-alone WordPress plugin to our SaaS product, check out this post: http://optinmonster.com/announcing-optinmonster-app-the-biggest-update-to-optinmonster-since-the-launch-of-optinmonster-itself/

    I hope that answers some questions your readers might have about the safety of their optins using OptinMonster. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us on Twitter @optinmonster or shoot us an email at support@optinmonster.com! Again, thank you for including OptinMonster and for the truly great review!


    Angie Meeker

    • Thanks for clarifying, Angie. Perhaps I didn’t describe this clearly enough in the post. What I meant wasn’t that the forms vanish from the OM account, but that they stop being displayed on the blog. We’ve had this happen a couple of times on the CodeinWP blog. Once we updated the plugin, the forms were back.

      It seems that when you updated the connector plugin, it wasn’t backwards compatible, causing the previous API connections to not work and the forms to not display. Or am I wrong?

      • Alan

        Heads up that OptinMonster has increased their prices by a whopping 75% since this post.

  • Thanks for this review!

    One point about Thrive Leads that aren’t quite correct in this post: In the table, you say that Thrive Leads does not have on-click triggered forms. In fact, we do. You can trigger lightbox opt-in forms, screen filler forms, multiple choice forms and more on click of links, images, buttons or anything else.

    Also, we do have a landing page builder, but it’s a separate plugin. Might be fair to mention, since the combination of Thrive Leads and Thrive Landing Pages is still a lot cheaper than some of the other solutions here.

    • Thanks for sharing, Shane!

      Addressing the things you pointed out:

      1. I did edited the table. Thanks for clarifying.
      2. For instance, I didn’t see SendinBlue integration – the service we’re using.
      3. I’ve also added a note about Thrive Landing Pages.

      And most importantly, thanks for your work building Thrive Leads! 🙂

  • Hi Karol, thanks for the review. This is handy as we re-boot our web business. I like the way you’ve presented the information going beyond a feature review but input from the plugin creators. I reckon if you had a section titled something like “What I discovered when I used it” would be great. I’m not sure whether your Pros and Cons was a spreadsheet exercise or hands on experience. What you’ve presented is informative.

    • Thanks for the tip, Chris. Including a block like “what I discovered …” could be a great idea for the update in a couple of weeks.

  • Charles

    Am I missing something? The way I see it you’re an affiliate of Optin Monster without mentioning this. I for one would like total transparency when it comes to reviewing tools and would expect you to mention this.
    I am totally hooked on Thrive (all products) as they have really changed my WordPress experience.

    • There’s disclosure at the bottom of the post (screen attached). Also, we’re an affiliate because we believe it the quality of that tool. Nothing to hide.

      • Charles

        You’re right. I overlooked that one.

      • TakeActionWAHM

        I missed that too. Just as a head’s up, the FCC requires that clear disclosure comes before the link it’s disclosing, since it’s quite likely that people would click the link before ever making it down to the disclosure.

        Other than that, this is an excellent breakdown of 4 very popular products, and I appreciate it. The plug-in I’ve been using for years is no longer supported and seems to have stopped working with the latest WP update (my forms weren’t showing), so I’m trying to find the best replacement. I think your information here has definitely steered me in the right direction – thanks!

  • Thanks for this post Karol. One of the issues I have with SumoMe and OptinMonster is that in order to use custom fields, in my case hidden fields, you have to copy and paste code from your email servicer. It does not see all that complicated, but to have the form look nicely you then have to use CSS. Not having to do that with LeadPages is a plus. I do not know much about Thrive Leads, but after reading this I will check it out. Since I am starting out with building my list, I think LeadPages is too much right now. I am trying to narrow down to one option to help save money. Oh and I do not like that with LeadPages pop-ups a user does not remain on the blog post. That leads to a poor user experience.

    • Hi Pamela! Thanks for telling us about your experience with these tools. It’s good to know.

    • Karol K.

      LeadPages is really strong when it comes to giving you nice styling options without forcing you to do things by hand, that’s true. But for a more budget-friendly solution you can also try out OptinMonster. They handle styling on their end as well, and the only thing you need to do is paste a piece of code to your blog/theme.

  • Hi Karol, great breakdown, especially the easy to read chart for side by side comparison of major features. That will come in handy for marketers looking to find the right opt-in form for their site and product. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds when trying to find right software for the idea you have in mind and often find yourself buying the wrong one or one that doesn’t quite cover what you wanted to do in the first place. Very helpful. I wanted to point out another option, Instapage, which not only works as a full landing page drag-and-drop builder but also has a WordPress plugin for quickly deploying landing pages and lead capture forms. (Full disclosure, this is where I work) Have you had any experience with Instapage? Might be worth checking out to compare to some of these others. In fact, we have a great SumoMe partnership for users who go that route. Thanks again for the article!

    • Karol K.

      I haven’t worked with Instapage yet, but I’m willing to give it a go. It looks like a strong product.

  • Great overview. Curious to hear your thoughts on how each of these plugins affect page speed and page performance. Looking at it from that angle, which is best in your opinion?

    • Karol K.

      We haven’t done any experiments like that, but I’d assume that OptinMonster should work good here since it’s an external solution, which you only embed through some snippet of code. In other words, you don’t need a WP plugin to make it work. Speaking from our own experience, we haven’t seen any performance-related problems when using OM on this blog.

  • Mark – Shotkit

    Do you think any of these plugins slow your site down? I couldn’t find any info on that in the otherwise excellent review…

    • Karol K.

      No, we haven’t done any experiments like that, but if you’re willing to give it a go, you can use the P3 plugin for that. We’ve used it for other performance tests in the past.

  • Thanks for the super helpful post!

  • SumoMe’s free version does not include integration with email services. So you can play around in the settings for the apps, but not actually use it with your mail list.

    • Karol K.

      That seems to be correct right now. Too bad.

    • If you setup the email service during the trial, will keep working. I had it setup with Aweber for long time. When I finally switched to Active Campaign, I could not change the Sumome integration anymore without paying for the PRO version, that I find way too expensive.

  • KevinB

    Hello, thank you for the information on the different lead capture software. I was hoping you could clarify which of these allow you to display a lead capture form or popup on any site, even ones that you do not own?

  • Thanks for this brilliant break down!

    however, it needs some serious updates.

    Optin Monster has jacked up their prices:
    from $4.08 to $9 a month

    from $8.25 to $19 a month

    from $16.58 to $29 a month

    also… Sumome will jack up their prices by 50% across the board staring October 1 2016

    All that being said, price to performance-wise thrive leads is the clear choice. I’m going to get my copy this afternoon. I am no way affiliated with them

    -Ike Paz

  • Be careful with Thrive Themes. They auto renew and just charged me $147 U.S. without any warning. I contacted support and they say they won’t refund the charge, pointing to a clause in the contract. Very scammy.

  • nice list decisions, decisions!

  • Can Thrive Leads – or another product they offer – deliver the email optin bonuses / lead magnets? This is important for me.

  • SumoMe is great for starters, but I’d say Thrive Leads is where you definitely want to go if you want the most cost-efficient solution. Basic SumoMe is just for getting an idea on how these forms work.

  • Thank you for the product comparison. Really helpful in the decision making process. I wonder why someone doesn’t combine services like this with an auto responder email platform. Could be worth so much to business owners.

  • Bruce Kowkabany

    Be very, very careful before signing up with Thrive Leads. Their service leaves a LOT to be desired. They have no concept of customer service. The prices between services are close enough and you don’t have to deal with broken customer service at Thrive.

    I see Shane has posted here which is interesting since I requested twice that he contact me about an issue and he did not reply. I was forced to deal with his confused and illogical support staff. What’s the deal Shane?

  • Thanks for such an informative and objective article – very balanced.

    This subject causes some pain, as often it’s quite difficult to compare ‘like for like’ across products.

    We almost signed up for Thrive all-in-suite a while ago, but didn’t for one silly, finicky reason – billing is through PayPal only (even if use a credit card).

    It seemed that Thrive offers a good all-round solution as we’ve outgrown Sumo (which is excellent) and yet Optin Monster still tempts. Leadpages isn’t really in the mix as it just feels as it’s landing pages, and we want a more rounded solution for different aims (not just email collection).

    What blips about Optin is one needs to pay higher to just get better popups, even if don’t the enhanced service. So for instance it’s $10 a month-to-month just to get something different than a lightbox?

    At this stage, going to have another read through the article, have a nice cigar and a mojito, then ponder some more about which option to plump for.

    PS. Key to our journey is to be able to have small, little popups to welcome our visitors, help them navigate around the site and minimise bounce from site. We’re big fans of Convertkit on the email side of things and have some sumo popups doing a great job in that respect.

    Props to all the products listed here!

  • David

    Optin Monster do not have API integration capabilities… Confirmed by support “No, at this moment we do not have any API configuration of this kind available “. Would love to add popup capabilities to my app. Anyone can refer an app that has decent API capabilities?

  • This looks quite outdated in terms of features and prices. Optin Monster much pricier today and Leadpages at least missing the exit intents in the matrix which they have now.

  • Dishan Mendis

    Till this moment if it was 95% chance of me going for Thrive Leads, then it became almost 100% after seeing Shane Melaugh’s comment. This is the kind of passion and enthusiasm I expect from a founder. Think I would buy Thrive Leads today as I have already doing an extensive homework on opt in form softwares. Shane Melaugh, please be ahead of the competition, and I am sure you will, because I hate switching!

  • Gianluca Bottaro

    If you have a very high traffic site BE CAREFULL with thrive leads!

    It crashed one of my customer site 2 times on a vps and when we contacted the support them said ” Thrive Leads works with ajax requests, it needs those in order to be able to display the right forms to the right users and track impressions and conversion correctly. Your site seems to be a heavy-traffic one, if those requests reach your server limits, I’m afraid it’s not something we can change on our end…”

  • Andres Rueda

    Don´t waste your time with Thriveleads this company

    Once your support period expires, they want to charge you to answer the most elementary questions. Even pre-sales questions.

    I was interested in buying a second license, so I asked which wordpress plugin they supported besides MailPoet

    Do you know what they say?

    They refused to answer this question unless I pay them more money for their support


    This guys doesn’t care about their customers!

    Stay away from this company!


  • Iqbal Jayadi

    Beware with Thrive Themes. They lack of compability & its configuration won’t reflect correctly in my site.

    Their support is not good also, I always got template answer from them.

  • For the writers and journalists who don’t want to spend time designing their pop up, I like RollingLetter.com. Simple, easy, integrates with MailChimp.

  • Nina De la Cruz

    Hey Karol, thank you for updating the review! Would be awesome to hear your thoughts about GetSiteControl opt-in plugin. Let me know if I can shoot you an email with more details about the tool.