Thrive Leads vs. Sumo for Lead Generation
A lot of people ask us “What’s the difference between Thrive Leads and Sumo?”
Well, if you’re interested specifically in lead generation toolkits, the technical answer is pretty simple:
- Thrive Leads is a conversion focused list building plugin for WordPress that lets you build, customize and test nearly every type of online opt-in form.
- Sumo – formerly SumoMe – is a plugin that provides a suite of “apps” which includes list building as one of its features. Sumo can also be used on non-WordPress websites like Squarespace, Weebly and Shopify.
Another significant difference between Thrive Leads and Sumo is pricing.
Thrive Leads is a one-time purchase, full-feature plugin.
Sumo Basic is a freemium plugin that installs first as a limited-feature app suite. It can then be upgraded to the full-feature Sumo Pro version through an ongoing paid membership.
Now, if you're looking for a toolkit that can do more than just lead generation, the full suite of free Sumo Basic apps can be very enticing...
...but keep in mind that most freemium software includes several built-in feature limitations that will constantly bug you to upgrade your account for a pricey monthly fee.
And when you learn that the different Sumo Pro memberships are significantly more expensive than the Thrive Membership, it becomes even more important to understand how the two premium products can best help you grow your business over time.
For those interested, we'll be comparing the premium feature differences between a Thrive Membership and Sumo Pro in the second half of this article, but first, we'll get started by focusing exclusively on the lead generation differences between Thrive Leads, Sumo Basic and Sumo Pro.
Lead Generation Feature Comparison
Opt-in Form Types
Ribbon (Smart Bar)
Slide in (Scroll Box)
Scroll mat (Welcome Mat)
After content forms
2 step opt-in forms
Screen Filler Lightbox
Multiple choice forms
Social Media lightbox
Opt-In Form Types
In terms of lead generation features, it's not hard to see that Thrive Leads offers a much more versatile range of opt-in form types.
Sumo only offers 5 opt-in form types between their Basic and Pro app suites.
Design & Customization
Mobile responsive opt-in forms
Mobile friendly editing (Desktop, Tablet and Mobile views)
Access to 400+ professionally designed opt-in form templates
Access to 40+ opt-in form templates
Drag & Drop visual opt-in form builder
Add multiple information fields
Custom confirmation message
Custom confirmation page
Opt-in form animations
HTML custom forms
Design & Customization
With Thrive Leads and its integrated Thrive Architect visual editor, the only real limitation to opt-in form design is your imagination.
With its extensive library of over 400 professionally designed templates, Thrive Leads users can create eye-catching and conversion optimized opt-in forms in minutes.
Sumo Basic provides only a handful of simple templates for their 5 opt-in form types with a basic drag and drop visual editor to go along with them. When compared to the power of the Thrive Architect visual editor, Sumo's visual editor just might make you feel trapped in an opt-in box.
For example, Sumo limits users to just 5, pre-determined widths for their popup lightboxes (Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, and SumoSize). With Thrive Leads, no such limits are forced on your designs.
But one of the most striking design & customization differences between the Thrive Leads and Sumo opt-in forms is their mobile responsiveness functionality.
Sumo simply shrinks your desktop opt-in form down to a mobile responsive size when being displayed on mobile devices. Although that might be mobile responsive, it doesn't allow you to build opt-in forms with the mobile user's viewing experience in mind.
Thrive Leads, on the other hand, allows you to build Desktop, Tablet and Mobile friendly opt-in forms all within the same form design.
By switching between the Desktop, Tablet and Mobile views, you can quickly modify your Thrive Leads opt-in forms to look stellar on any device.
To do this, you first build your opt-in forms in the desktop view mode. The changes you make there cascade down to the Tablet and Mobile settings.
Next, you switch to Tablet view and make any necessary modifications to improve the tablet experience. Those changes will then cascade down to the Mobile settings.
Finally, after switching to the mobile view, you can make any final adjustments needed to improve the mobile user experience.
Making your opt-in form designs look amazing on any screen size is just that simple with Thrive Leads and is a massive improvement over other mobile responsive opt-in plugins like Sumo that just shrink-to-fit your forms.
A/B Testing Features
A/B testing opt-in form designs
A/B testing different opt-in form types against each other
Time and Exit Intent trigger A/B Testing
Advanced trigger A/B Testing
Set and forget automatic A/B test winner options
Traffic optimization that automatically stops testing losing variants
On top of offering several types of opt-in forms, Thrive Leads excels at A/B Testing because it can not only split test designs, but also A/B test different opt-in form types against each other. For example, an exit intent lightbox can be tested against both a sticky ribbon and scroll mat in a single test campaign.
In fact, all 9 of the Thrive Leads opt-in forms can be tested against each other where Sumo only allows this with their Popup, Scroll Box, Welcome Mat and Smart Bar forms.
What's more is that Sumo's A/B trigger testing is limited to just Time and Exit Intent.
By comparison, Thrive Leads allows you to A/B test Page Load, Time, Scrolls to Specific Content, Scrolls to a Percentage of the Content, Page Bottom and Element Click Triggers as well.
Furthermore, Thrive Leads allows you to create traffic optimization and automatic winner settings so that you can set and forget your tests.
This means that Thrive Leads will monitor the performance of each variation and once a statistically proven winner has been found, all the losing variations will be hidden to increase your conversions automatically over time.
Triggers & Targeting Behavior
Mobile optimized exit intent
Time triggered opt-in form
Scroll % triggered opt-in form
Reaches specific content triggers opt-in form
Targeting by category
Targeting by page/post
Targeting by WordPress tag
Targeting by cookies
Targeting by visitor location
Targeting by referral source
Targeting by visitor behavior
Targeting by visitor browser
Targeting by visitor operating system
Hide lightboxes for newsletter subscribers
Hide all opt-in forms for newsletter subscribers
Show different offers to newsletter subscribers
Add tracking and conversion pixels to opt-in forms
Triggers & Targeting
Thrive Leads can show opt-in forms based on pages, posts, WordPress tags, categories, specific parts of the content, and more...
These targeting and trigger options give you the power to show different opt-in forms to your visitors based on the specific content they're interested in on your site.
On the other hand, Sumo Pro has many advanced targeting options that are cookie based, but not accessible within Sumo Basic.
This means that with Sumo Pro, you’ll be able to customize the visitor experience based on his or her behavior, just as long as they use the same computer and don’t delete their cookies.
Sumo Pro users can set up rules to show opt-in forms that target visitors after a certain number of pages have been viewed, after visiting specific pages, based on their geographical location and more.
Email Marketing Integrations
Number of Basic Integrations
(MailChimp, AWeber, Active Campaign, etc.)
Number of Enterprise Integrations
(InfusionSoft, HubSpot, OntraPort, etc.) Sumo Pro Tier 4+
Sumo Basic does not offer any email marketing service integrations so you’ll need to manually manage the emails Sumo collects for you.
Upgrading to Sumo Pro unlocks email marketing integrations, however, they define services like InfusionSoft, HubSpot and OntraPort as “Enterprise” level and require a much more expensive "Big" or "Sumo" sized monthly membership (starting at 119$/month).
Thrive Leads includes both Basic and Enterprise level email marketing service integrations as standard features.
Conclusion: Thrive Leads vs. Sumo Basic & Pro
When comparing the core list building functionality between the three products, it’s fair to say that the only useful comparison is between Thrive Leads and Sumo Pro.
But putting features and functionality aside for the moment, we’ll admit that price can play a major role in your toolkit selection...
...especially if you're more on the beginner side of building an online business.
And, well, it’s hard to beat Sumo’s freemium option when you’re on a limited budget!
However, if you’re serious about growing your email list, it probably won’t take you long to outgrow the feature limitations of Sumo Basic. Even the lack of integration with any email marketing service might be enough to make one of the paid options worth the upgrade for you.
And even if you upgrade to the least expensive Sumo Pro membership to get access to their full-feature list building apps, you'll then be locked into an ongoing monthly fee that increases as your website traffic grows.
Thrive Leads – and all of its future updates – are yours forever with a single, upfront purchase...regardless of your website's traffic volume.
So, to get the greatest number of list building features, design customization options and conversion optimization tools for the least amount of money, the best bang for your buck is going to be an affordable, one-time Thrive Leads purchase.
And if you're in need of a more versatile website optimization toolkit, capable of more than just powerful lead generation features, you’ll probably find the next Thrive Membership versus Sumo Pro comparison quite useful…
Thrive Membership vs. Sumo Pro
Use on Every Site You Own:
Individual Membership: $19 per month
- Access to all the Thrive Themes & Plugins: Thrive Architect, Thrive Landing Pages, Thrive Leads, Thrive Headline Optimizer, Thrive Ultimatum, Thrive Apprentice, Thrive Quiz Builder and Thrive Ovation
- Access to every future plugin, theme, update and feature
- Unlimited access to the Thrive support team
- No coding experience or web developer needed: Gain access to all the tools and templates needed to build a high converting website from scratch...
Small: up to 5 k visitors per month: $29 /mo (1 site)
Medium: up to 50 k visitors per month: $59 /mo (3 sites)
Big: up to 500 k visitors per month: $119 /mo (9 sites)
Sumo: Unlimited visitors per month, unlimited sites: contact
- Access to the full-feature suite of Sumo Apps: List Builder, Welcome Mat, Scroll Box, Smart Bar, Heatmaps, Content Analytics, Google Analytics, Share, Highlighter, Image Sharer, Contact Form, Discover and Buy Button
- Access to Sumo Pro updates while a member
- VIP Support
- Can add more sites above membership limit:
+$15 /mo (Small), +$12 /mo (Medium), +$9 /mo (Big)
...for each additional site license
Membership Feature Comparison
Outside of list building tools, the Thrive Membership and Sumo Pro offer very different features.
In fact, the suites are so different that it’s near impossible to do a direct comparison of them past their lead generation capabilities.
The right membership for you depends on what you need to build and grow your online business.
To help you understand the Thrive Membership and Sumo Pro differences, we’ll briefly describe each suite to help you decide which additional features best fit your current online business needs.
Conversion optimization is at the heart of all Thrive Membership products.
With a Thrive Membership, you get a complete WordPress toolkit to build, support and grow high-converting websites from scratch.
As a Thrive Membership user, you'll not only gain instant access to Thrive Leads, but the entire suite of Thrive Themes and Plugins including:
- Thrive Themes - Choose from 10 professionally designed and conversion optimized WordPress themes.
- Thrive Landing Pages - Implement high converting landing pages on your website by using any of the 267 fully customizable templates.
- Thrive Architect- Create visually stunning posts and pages with the limitless design power of this intuitive drag and drop visual editor.
- Clever Widgets - Display highly relevant content based on categories, posts, pages, tags and advanced targeting rules in your widget areas.
- Thrive Headline Optimizer - Maximize engagement with set-and-forget, automatic winner A/B testing for all your headlines.
- Thrive Ultimatum - Boost your conversions with the ultimate scarcity marketing tool by creating bulletproof, evergreen and automatically recurring countdown timer campaigns.
- Thrive Ovation - Save time and hassle while always using customer approved statements with this all in one testimonial manager.
- Thrive Quiz Builder - Create complex quizzes with branching logic, to both increase engagement and segment your growing email list.
Thrive Memberships completely bypass the need for a web designer allowing you to go straight from WordPress install to a live, list building website in just minutes to hours.
Upgrading to a Sumo Pro monthly membership gives you access to the full-feature versions of the Sumo apps.
Pricing is based on the number of site licenses you need, their traffic volume and your email marketing service.
In addition to Sumo's 5 list building opt-in forms, they offer apps that track visitor behavior, provide more social sharing flexibility and connect your site to the Sumo traffic sharing network:
- Heatmaps - Tracks visitor click behavior on your website to help make decisions about how to optimize your pages.
- Content Analytics - Visually displays where visitors scroll to before bouncing.
- Google Analytics - Shows your website's Google analytics within the Sumo plugin dashboard.
- Share - Increases placement options for social sharing buttons to make it easier for visitors to share pages and posts.
- Image Sharer - Adds social sharing buttons to images to make it easier for site visitors to share your content images.
- Highlighter - Social sharing buttons appear when visitors highlight text.
- Discover - Adds “You may also like...” links to your pages in order to drive traffic between Sumo sites.
- Contact Form - Adds a contact form to pages so visitor inquires can be read and replied to directly from the Sumo plugin dashboard.
- Buy Button - Adds customizable Stripe E-commerce buttons to pages. The designs can then be A/B tested.
It’s not hard to see that Sumo offers several categories of apps in addition to list building that range from tracking visitor behavior to adding Stripe E-commerce buttons to an up-and-running website.
Conclusion: Thrive Membership vs. Sumo Pro
If you’re looking for a complete website building suite of tools, the Thrive Membership has everything you need to create high converting websites from scratch...
...EVEN if you're starting from the very beginning with nothing but an empty WordPress installation to your domain name!
With the Thrive Membership, you'll be able to select one of our optimized themes, create fully customized opt-in forms and landing pages from our list of 267 templates while A/B testing your headlines and lead generation forms to start immediately optimizing visitor engagement once your website goes live.
You'll also be able to instantly create evergreen scarcity marketing campaigns for every product and service you offer. This paired with our all-in-one testimonial management tool means that you'll never miss capturing persuasive testimonials to help boost your conversions.
If, on the other hand, you're in need of more social sharing button customization or would like to optimize your page designs through click and scroll behavior analytics, Sumo Pro provides all of those features alongside their 5 opt-in forms.
- If you already own a live website and are looking for a free solution to grow your email list, try Sumo Basic...but you’ll probably outgrow the freemium limitations quickly.
- If you’re only interested in finding a cost effective, yet fully integrated lead generation solution to grow with your business, Thrive Leads is the way to go.
- If you've already built a high traffic website, have your landing page and list building needs sorted and are now interested in tracking visitor behavior, Sumo Pro has multiple apps for that.
- And if you're looking to create an attractive, high converting WordPress website from scratch...including almost every tool you'll need to build and grow a successful online business, then the Thrive Membership is exactly what you're looking for.