OptinMonster vs Sumo vs Thrive Leads vs Elementor Pro: Hands-on Comparison of Popup Plugins

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Looking for the best popup plugin to help you display popups at your WordPress site? In this post, we’ll compare four of the most popular options – OptinMonster vs Sumo vs Thrive Leads vs Elementor Pro.

To help you make your choice, we’ll compare these tools across four different categories:

  • Types of popups that you can create – the available placement options and what content you can include inside popups.
  • Popup builder interface – how you’ll build and design the content that goes inside of your popups.
  • Targeting and trigger rules – the options you have for controlling where and when your popups appear.
  • Pricing – how much all that other stuff is going to cost!

Let’s get started…

A Quick Introduction To These Four Tools

Before we get into the nitty-gritty OptinMonster vs Sumo vs Thrive Leads vs Elementor Pro comparison, let’s cover a quick introduction to each tool to give you an idea of how each tool functions at a basic level.

OptinMonster

OptinMonster isn’t just a WordPress plugin. Rather, it’s a SaaS tool that you can integrate into your WordPress site thanks to its dedicated plugin.

That distinction is important because it means that, unlike a regular WordPress plugin, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee for as long as you want to continue using OptinMonster.

Sumo

Sumo is a popular suite of marketing tools that you can integrate into WordPress via a dedicated plugin. Like OptinMonster, it’s technically a third-party SaaS, rather than a “regular” WordPress plugin. Unlike OptinMonster, though, Sumo has a limited free plan that you can use to access some features.

Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads is a list building-focused plugin from Thrive Themes. It’s a native WordPress solution, which means that you’ll do everything inside your WordPress dashboard. There’s no free version, but you’ll only pay a one-time fee to use the plugin.

Elementor

Elementor is a popular visual, drag-and-drop page builder. With the premium version – Elementor Pro – you get access to a detailed Popup Builder tool that lets you create a range of popups.

Because everything you build is based on the full-powered Elementor page builder, Elementor’s Popup Builder is going to give you the most flexibility when it comes to the types of popups you create.

Elementor is a native WordPress solution, which means that you’ll do everything inside WordPress and pay a one-time fee.

Comparing The Types Of Popups You Can Build

For this first section, we’ll compare:

  • Available placement options – e.g. notification bar vs slide-in.
  • Types of popups – what you can put inside popups – e.g. opt-in forms, login forms, etc.
  • Templates – the pre-built templates that are available for these various popup types.

OptinMonster

OptinMonster lets you create five different types of popups and forms:

  • Modal popup
  • Full-screen popup
  • Slide-in
  • Floating bar (top or bottom)
  • Inline

Almost all of OptinMonster’s 20-40+ pre-made templates are for list generation. That is, they include an email opt-in form.

If you’re willing to build popups from scratch, though, you can also create generic CTA messages, including countdown timers.

Sumo

Sumo lets you create:

  • Popups
  • Scroll boxes
  • Inline forms
  • Welcome mats
  • Smart bars (a top notification bar)

When you create a new “form”, you can choose from four different goals:

  • Collect emails
  • Add a call to action
  • Get social shares
  • Collect info with custom code

Sumo lets you choose from ~30 different templates, but most templates require the paid version.

Thrive Leads

The main focus with Thrive Leads is using popups and other forms to grow your email list. However, you can also use it to promote generic CTAs, like a sale that you’re running.

To help you do that, it includes options to create:

  • Lightbox popups
  • Notification bars
  • Screen fillers
  • Scroll mats
  • Slide-ins
  • In-content forms (or WordPress widgets)

For each type of form, you can choose from a good variety of pre-made templates.

Elementor Pro

With Elementor Pro, you get the most flexibility for the types of popups that you can create.

First, you can choose from a variety of popup types, including:

  • Lightbox popups
  • Full-screen overlays
  • Top or bottom notification bars
  • Fly-ins/slide-ins

You can also use Elementor Pro’s other functionality to create in-content forms.

Where Elementor Pro goes a little further is when it comes to what you can put inside these popups.

You can use them for:

  • Email opt-in forms
  • Promotions and sales banners
  • Any type of CTA
  • Contact forms
  • Registration forms
  • Login forms
  • Related products/upsell offers
  • Social follow/share buttons
  • Age gates or other types of content lockers
  • Cookie consent notifications
  • Etc.

Elementor Pro also includes 100+ popup templates that you can use to quickly apply these different uses.

Basically, if you want the ability to go beyond email opt-ins, Elementor Pro will offer the most flexibility.

Comparing The Popup Builder Interfaces

Next, we’ll compare how each tool lets you build and customize your popups and forms.

OptinMonster

The latest version of OptinMonster includes a drag-and-drop interface, though it’s not as detailed as what you get with Thrive Leads or Elementor Pro.

You can first choose from seven different layout blocks:

Then, OptinMonster gives you 11 different content blocks to use in your designs:

For each block, you get basic style options for colors, spacing, etc.

Sumo

Sumo lets you build your popups with different “layers”, which can be a little confusing at first.

You can drag these different layers around and add new layers from the drop-down:

If you click on an element, you’ll be able to change basic style options, like size, color, spacing, etc.

Overall, Sumo has the least intuitive builder of any of these tools, though.

Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads lets you build your popup/form content using a stripped-down version of the Thrive Architect page builder.

This gives you a good amount of flexibility, with elements for:

  • Countdown timers
  • Buttons
  • Testimonials
  • Plus a lot more

You can use drag-and-drop to rearrange elements on your canvas. And you can also use the sidebar on the left to configure styling options.

Elementor

Elementor Pro lets you use the regular Elementor page builder interface to build your popups, which gives you access to the full array of Elementor widgets and styling options, as well as the visual drag-and-drop editor.

To control basic popup settings – like animations, size, close button, etc. – you’ll use the Popup Settings sidebar:

To add new content – like forms, buttons, countdown timers, etc. – you can use the full list of Elementor widgets:

And then you’ll also get detailed options for each individual widget that help you control:

  • Spacing
  • Alignment
  • Colors
  • Lots more

Comparing The Targeting Rules And Trigger Conditions

Once you’ve built your popup, you’ll want to make sure that you’re able to display it at the right place and at the right time to maximize its effectiveness.

To wit, this section will compare the targeting rules and trigger conditions that each tool offers.

OptinMonster

OptinMonster lets you control targeting and triggering via its Display Rules tab. Here, you can use “Rulesets” and different AND/OR conditions to control exactly when your popups display.

To target your popups, you can use conditions like:

  • URL a visitor is on
  • Referring URL
  • Cookie
  • Device
  • Time/day
  • New vs returning visitors
  • User geolocation

And then when those targeting rules are met, you can use the following triggers to control when the popup appears:

  • Exit intent
  • Time on page
  • Time on site
  • Link click
  • Inactivity
  • Scroll depth

There are no built-in options to target WordPress-specific conditions, like a specific category of posts or a user’s logged-in status

Sumo

Sumo gives you two modes to display your popups:

  • Smart Mode – let Sumo automatically decide the best time/place to show your popup.
  • Manual Mode – set things up yourself.

If you enable Manual Mode, it will open up the visibility interface.

First, you can choose from two triggers:

  • Timed – show after X seconds
  • User Leaves – exit intent.

There are no triggers for scroll depth, onclick, etc. You only get those two options.

Then, you can use Display Rules to target your popups by:

  • URL
  • Referrer
  • Device
  • New vs returning visitors
  • Geolocation
  • Date
  • Technical rules (user-agent, meta tag, cookie, etc.)

Like OptinMonster, there are no options to target WordPress-specific conditions.

Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads lets you trigger your forms by:

  • Time on page
  • Scroll depth (both percentage or when a user reaches a specific element)
  • Click
  • Exit intent

Then, you can set up targeting rules in another area. There, you get a lot of options for targeting specific types of WordPress content, including:

  • Categories or tags
  • Post types
  • Specific posts/pages
  • Page templates

There’s also an option to target a user’s logged-in status:

Beyond those options, you can also target by device (desktop vs mobile).

Elementor

When you publish an Elementor popup, you’ll get three tabs to control where and when your popup displays:

In the Conditions tab, you can target specific WordPress content, with options for:

  • Sitewide
  • Categories or tags
  • Post format
  • Author
  • Post type

You can create multiple includes/exclude rules as needed:

In the Triggers tab, you can activate triggers for:

  • Page load
  • Scroll depth
  • Scroll to element
  • Click
  • Inactivity
  • Exit intent

And the Advanced Rules tab gives you additional options to target users by:

  • Page views or sessions
  • How often they’ve seen the popup
  • Referral URLs
  • Referral type (e.g. search engines, all external links, etc).
  • WordPress logged-in status
  • Device

Comparing The Pricing
Here’s how these four tools stack up when it comes to pricing:

Tool Free plan? Starting price for Pro Ongoing billing?
OptinMonster No $108 per year Yes
Sumo Yes $29 per month Yes
Thrive Leads No $67 one-time No*
Elementor Yes** $49 one-time* No*

*After the first year, you can continue using the product, but you might need to renew your license to keep receiving support/updates.

**The free version of Elementor does not include the Popup Builder functionality, but it does let you experience the drag-and-drop editor.

Recap: OptinMonster vs Sumo vs Thrive Leads vs Elementor

You may have unique needs, so we encourage you to consider your needs against each tool’s feature list.

But if you want the best value for your money, Elementor Pro is a great place to start. It’s the cheapest tool on this list, while also giving you access to the most flexibility when it comes to what types of popups you can create.

You can use it for list building, popup contact forms, social share buttons, and a lot more. Plus, you’ll also get access to a range of other features, like the ability to build landing pages and design your entire WordPress theme.

If you are already using CyberChimps Elementor Themes, using Elementor is a no-brainer for you.

To test out the builder itself, you can install the free version of Elementor from WordPress.org. If you like how the interface works, you can then upgrade to Elementor Pro to get access to the Popup Builder feature.

About the Author

"Sanjeev loves everything about WordPress. Always in constant search for new tools and Plugins keeps him hungry all the time. He spends his day brainstorming new ideas about new plugins and themes on WPeka and CyberChimps. You can follow him on his personal blog

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