Best Popup Opt-In Plugins for WordPress & Case Studies!

Popup WordPress Plugins
Are you looking to convert more readers into subscribers? Or more visitors into customers? If so then you may be considering adding an email opt-in popup to your WordPress website.

There are a number of advantages to doing so, however, there are also disadvantages, so it is important to make a decision that aligns with your business goals.

We have reviewed the best plugins for increasing your subscriber list below, but first, let’s look at the case for doing so.

Why You Need More Email Subscribers

It has been said that anyone looking to build a website that is considered an authority should concentrate on building an email subscriber list.

The primary reason for this is that the internet is full of competitors all looking to grab your audiences attention, and once that attention has been placed elsewhere it can be difficult to win that audience back again.

The truth is that the majority of people may only visit your website once, and it is therefore important to attempt to ‘carry on’ the conversation and turn them into loyal fans or customers. This is why email marketing is so powerful.

While I understand that many website owners do not wish to disturb their readers with an obtrusive popup form, it is also important that you have the opportunity to get your amazing content in front of these visitors on a regular basis.

As a media company (as all companies now are) you need to focus on your subscription base (or circulation).

Do Popups Work?

Pop-ups have been proven to work to increase subscribers, but your message (and offer) must appeal to those that are visiting your website. Simply asking people to subscribe is no longer enough, you must offer them a reason that will benefit them.

The Content Marketing Institute has previously said that over 50% of their daily signups come from the popup plugin they have on their website.

Let’s look at a few case studies where popup plugins have improved subscriber numbers.

Case Studies

Case Study 1: Inbound Marketing Agency

In this case study, the marketing agency increases lead’s by 189% using lead magnets.

Read It Here

Case Study 2: Paint Your Life

In this case study, the company uses page-level targetting to drive Christmas sales.

Read It Here

Case Study 3: Hubstaff

In this case study, the company uses pop-ups to increase free trial sign-ups.

Read It Here

Case Study 4: Top 6 Digital

In this case study, the company uses exit-intent opt-ins to increase affiliate revenue by 30%.

Read It Here

Do I Really Want To Use A Popup?

As with virtually everything, there are advantages and disadvantages to this method of gaining subscribers, so it is important to understand both the pro’s and con’s and to make an informed decision based on your business goals.


  1. They Convert!
  2. The Visitor Definitely See’s Your Offer
  3. They Focus On A Single Message
  4. Increase Potential ROI
  5. They Are Less Intrusive Than They Once Were


  1. They Can Annoy Visitors
  2. They Can Increase Bounce Rate
  3. They Can Damage Your Brands Reputation
  4. Popups Cannot (Should Not) Be Shown On Mobile

Guidelines For Using Pop-Ups

If you are sure you still want to trial popups for your website I would consider following the guidelines below in an attempt to reduce any potential problems for your visitors and remain a trusted website in the eyes of the search engines.

Turn Them Off On Mobile

Since January 2017 Google has penalized websites that use pop-ups on mobile (only effecting mobile SERPS), so make sure you switch off any intrusive pop-ups for your mobile traffic. More information can be found here.

Make Sure Your Offer Is Valuable

If you are going to divert your visitors’ attention from your content then make sure you are doing it with something that is likely to be of more value to them. Too many websites divert their users without providing anything remotely worthy of doing so.

If you are looking for some examples of powerful lead magnets you will find examples here.

Make Your Offer Relevant

It is a very good idea to make your offer very relevant to the content that the visitor is actually looking for. Consider setting up lead magnets based on the type of content by either creating different lead magnets for specific pages or drilled down by category or tags.

Be Selective Where You Show The Offer

There is no reason to show your offer on every page of your website, be selective where the offer appears & if you are unsure whether the offer is relevant leave it out.

Don’t Trigger Them Straight Away

It is best to let give your visitor time to take in some of your website’s information before triggering your pop-up. Let them evaluate your website and the standard of content you are offering – if the perceived value is high they are more likely to sign up for your offer.

Make Them Easy To Close

Don’t make your pop-ups difficult to close, they will either be interested or wish to move on and evaluate your content further before deciding to sign up for your offer.

Test Variations Of Your Offer

Getting the right balance between leads and smooth user experience is key. Test variations of your offer to increase opt-ins.

Which Popup Plugin Is The Best?

While each and every website owner will tell you their preferred choice we have decided instead to provide you with a short list of only the best pop-up plugins available to let you make your own decision.



Optinmonster is arguably one of the most advanced popup plugins available to the WordPress community and is owned and managed by Syed Balkhi of WP Beginner.

A popular selling point of this WordPress opt-in form plugin is its ability to detect when a user is about to leave your site, and then show the popup form. Instead of annoying your visitors with a popup while they are still reading your content, this feature allows you to wait until the last possible moment before displaying the lightbox-style newsletter opt-in form.

This is a great feature and one that helps you negate the issue of whether this effective method for generating leads is counterintuitive to the user experience offered by your site.

It is probably worth pointing out that although this feature was unique at the time of release, many other plugins now offer similar features.

OptinMonster works with the main newsletter autoresponder services so it’s just a case of signing in with your account details and choosing a campaign, all from within your WordPress dashboard. Services supported include:

  • AWeber
  • MailChimp
  • GetResponse
  • iContact
  • Infusionsoft
  • Plus more

The plugin also comes with a few sample opt-in forms, which can all be customized to match your site’s design and content. You can also choose to show a sign-up form in the footer of the site as a banner, as a slide in form, a sidebar form or at the bottom of each post. OptinMonster allows you to run A/B testing on your opt-in forms to determine which is the most effective at generating leads.


The Optinmonster WordPress plugin has been perfect for what we have needed it for, though I find the hefty price a little high. Also whichever plan you choose will need to be paid yearly (albeit at a 50% discount).

Buy Optin Monster

Thrive Leads


Thrive leads is the new lead generating plugin from the developers of the now defunct Hybrid Connect. They have rebuilt there email capture plugin from the ground up and have given it a new name, as well as many new features.

The Thrive leads plugin has been built as a one-stop plugin that will cater for each and every opt-in form your site needs to start building an email list.

The opt-in features include a sidebar widget, lightbox popup, slide in subscriber form, post footer form, sticky ribbon form (for the top of your page), or you can even insert the form part of the way through your posts to ensure as many eyes as possible see your offer. In addition, you can easily create links within your text that once clicked will offer the visitor a sign-up form popup.

Where Thrive Leads excels is with the number of redesigned templates they offer (far more than Optinmonster).

Thrive Leads also allows you to trigger a popup on exit intent (as does Optinmonster), however, they also allow you to trigger a form when a visitor scrolls down the page.

This plugin is without a doubt one of the very best available on the market and I believe that it is as good, if not better than the more expensive alternative. One such example is the ability to split test different forms as well as different triggers in a way that is just not possible with the current version of Optinmonster.

Had I not already renewed my current subscription with Optinmonster I would definitely be giving this plugins developer my money.

Buy Thrive Leads


Bloom Opt-In Plugin

Bloom is the ultimate opt-in form built by elegant themes and promises complete control over your opt-in design as well as where and when the forms are displayed.

Arguably one of the best-designed plugins available to help you build your list Bloom offers unrivaled options with an easy to understand control panel.

As well as the usual display types Bloom also allows you to use your opt-in form as a content locker. Only allowing visitors to view some of your content by subscribing.

Buy Bloom

Conclusion: Which Is Best?

It’s hard to say which is the best popup opt-in form plugin for WordPress. The options on this page are the pick of the bunch but there are many more out there to consider.

OptinMonster is certainly a very popular choice amongst the WordPress community. It is very easy to set up and get started with, and it comes with some of the best looking forms out there, although there aren’t many templates to choose from. The exit intent popup window trigger is a key part of its marketing, but other plugins also offer this feature, including Thrive Leads and Bloom. Its good design, simplicity, and ease of use make it an ideal choice for anyone looking to get started quickly.

The award for most features without lacking in the design and looks department goes to Thrive Leads which is arguably better than Optinmonster on paper. The plugin is packed with options and settings to let you tweak and customize how your forms work. The auto-management of the split testing with Thrive Leads is also really impressive.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."