Simple Animation Boosts Your Conversions by 30%! (…or Not?)

Shane Melaugh   44

Updated on December 22, 2019

This is a post I never thought I'd write.

If you know me, you know I don't care for gimmicks. And if some cool new design thing comes along, my first question is inevitably: "what about conversions, though?"

Now, think of every aspect of an opt-in form. Surely, the animation with which it appears is the most gimmicky part of all, right?​

Well, we ran some tests that prove otherwise. Here are our results and the surprising conclusion we draw...


Fancy Entry Animations, Anyone?

First, let's clarify the term "entry animations". It describes this kind of thing:​

The above is a very typical example of an entry animation for a lightbox opt-in form. It slides into view from the top, while the background fades out behind the overlay.

Entry animations like these can be applied to lightbox opt-in forms, screen fillers and to some extent also slide-in forms.​

Animations & Conversion Rates

A while back, we ran a series of tests on opt-in forms, testing different time delays, trigger settings and various other options (one of the results of this testing led to us busting the exit intent myth, by the way).

Along the way, we also tested different entry animations and the results were surprising:​

The raw data for this test looks like this:

As you can see, the "rotational" animation outperformed the control (zoom in animation) by a good margin.

Keep in mind that everything else about these test variations is identical: same offer, same design, same copy, etc.

I was surprised to see such a big difference in conversion rate made just by the entry animation. To investigate further, we ran a similar test on a different site. Here are the results:

In this case, we're starting with an overall lower conversion rate. The jump from 2.35% (slide in from top) to 3.02% (rotational animation) isn't massive, but it's still a good win. Especially for such a "lazy" test, that doesn't require you to write new copy or make new designs.

Rotational Animations 4ever!! Right?

​You may have noticed that in both of our test runs, the "rotational" animation turned out to be the winner. That may seem like exciting news, so let me tell you exactly what NOT to do.

If I was a more cunning marketer (or perhaps just more cynical), I'd do this:

  1. Rename this animation to ThriveRotate©
  2. Shout from the rooftops that ThriveRotate© is an amazing new way to boost your opt-in conversions by 30%!!!

Instead, I'm going to tell you that that would be exactly the wrong conclusion to draw from these test results. A/B testing is highly context dependent and just because we found two examples where the rotational animation did well doesn't mean that it's always the best choice.

So, instead of some marketing nonsense, we've made an addition to the Thrive Leads plugin that's actually useful for you:​

New Animations in Thrive Leads

In the wake of this data, we decided to add new entry animations that you can choose from in Thrive Leads.

For example, this animation called "3D Slit":​

And this one, called "Make Way":

These are just two out of more than 20 animations now available in our plugin. This gives you the option to run your own tests, pitching different eye-catching animations against each other to see which one leads to the highest conversion rates on your site.

Note About Testing Priorities

I encourage that you test different animations, but I wouldn't recommend it as the first test you run. The potential difference animations make will always be relatively small. It's better to test big, dramatic changes first (e.g. testing different opt-in offers). Then, once you've narrowed in on something that works well, you can start testing small tweaks to further bump up the conversion rate.

Over to You

I hope this post provides you with some good ideas of how you can make use of entry animations on your site. If you run some tests like these as well, I'd love to hear about your results.

Of course, I also hope that it gives you perspective on the hype train that people like to get on, whenever they see a conversion increase in a case study.​

I'd love to know your thoughts about this and I'm also happy to answer and questions you have. Just leave a comment below.​


by Shane Melaugh  November 13, 2015


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Leave a Comment

  • Shane, thank you for sharing your results with all of us. I wouldn’t say I’m shocked by the results but it’s really interesting and the data doesn’t lie so I know we all will be thinking of ways to take advantage of this.

  • Good morning, Doc Melaugh. How do I access these new features? Do they upgrade to my site automatically or do I have to upload them?

    • Hi Steve,

      You can update the plugin directly through the wp-admin dashboard in the plugins list. You’ll then find the new animations available when you set up lightbox forms or screen fillers.

  • Shane, just picked up Thrive membership last week and I’m blown away. Already built out an “operational” website and excited to start driving traffic and using the power of Thrive Leads. The user experience on the software is very intuitive, and I’m not a techy, just an accountant, so I was happy to find something that works out of the box so quickly. Thanks for your commitment to quality.

  • Thanks Shane,
    I’m brand new here. My ultimate aim is to have a website with these high standards you present. It’s most inspiring for someone who loves detail, thank you again.

  • Hi Shane, hav thought of make Thrive leads auto test for us. Have it run all animations and analyze the best performing and start running it more often?

    • Hello Tom,

      I have thought of that. I’ve thought of it so much, I even built that feature into the plugin already. 😉

      When you start a test, you’ll see “automatic winner settings” where you can set it up to run the test automatically and automatically show only the highest converting version, once enough data has been gathered.

  • i read on a previous post someone wrote “i just know to read every single thing that’s ever written on Thrive Themes”. I’m now on that boat. Thrive Themes is not just an amazing suite of tools and features, but it’s built by a great marketer. Once again, thanks Shane

    • Thank you very much, Kat!

      I can’t take that much credit, though. We’ve got an amazing team working on all fronts, here. More often than not, I’m just the talking head, explaining stuff other people have made.

      And I’m very happy to see that you’re getting so much value from our products and content. Our goal is to only publish awesome stuff, so that it’s always worth your attention.

  • Hi Shane,

    I’m using Thrive leads with the smart links, so when user came back to the site they see a Already Subscribed state of the forms with a share button.

    My question is: Is there a way to have statistics about those forms with share buttons ? So we monitor how they perform.

    • We don’t have stats available for that yet, but we’re working on continually improving the reporting features and we’ll have more stats about which states are shown and how they perform, coming soon.

  • Simply LOVING all the new features of all things Thrive! I’m slowly ditching all other plugins and letting Thrive do the whole thing! Awesome effort, guys!
    Quick question. Your latest email had a link to a supercool interactive survey. How was that achieved? Is this something we can already do with thrive lightboxes? Cheers

  • Shane, Now Animations, Rotational Animations. That and Handwriting on the wall. Blogs are going to Rock!! You just keep it up and our blogs are going to shine like a Neon.Thanks

  • ThriveThemes products don’t stop to improve and help customers using their products. You have a USP that is really rare. Can’t recommend your membership enough. Congratulations!

    Please consider adding a showcase / portfolio content module to Content Builder. It is useful and from my experience those “pages” convert well.

    Potential clients see past projects, they like it, and they click to receive more information / ask questions / etc.

  • Kudos to you and your team Shane, you guys don’t sit idle at all and are always coming up with great new features every day (yes I mean every day!).

    I am a fan and have already got 3 of my friends on board and they love Thrive Themes as much as I do!


  • Hey shane
    Thanks for all the updates!

    What anti-spam plugin do you run on your own blog? I have tried a few now with the Thrive comments but none have been successful.

    Keep up the great work.

    • Hello Ru,

      I’ve not had great luck with spam protection, either. There’s no solution that’s really great, but Akismet is quite good.

  • It doesn’t make sense to me, but I’ll also always rather click the animated one. This was a great case study, informative and illustrates the funkiness of conversion optimization. =) Thanks Shane!

  • One thing I’ve learned over the years is that whatever is working now will change as people get desensitized to it. I really appreciate your no BS approach Shane. Your advice to try big changes 1st is really help me a lot. Yours is the only marketing emails that I read every single one.

    • Thank you for your comment, Tomas! It’s very encouraging to get this kind of feedback, where someone puts some advice into action. 🙂

  • Shane!
    Interesting to find you. I bought hybrid connect some years ago and really like it. I found thrive content management independently, bought that, and really like it. Just now discovered you’re behind both. Shouldn’t surprise me. I like both for the same reasons.

    Maybe you can give me some advice. I’m consolidating sites. So, I”m trying to move both my hc and thrive content management plug ins to a third site. Is there an elegant way to do that?

    • Hello Tim,

      Thanks for your comment!

      About consolidating sites: I really don’t know. Just moving a site from one place to another is quite daunting to me, but merging two sites together? I’m afraid that’s way over my head…

  • I think it’s a little bizarre to see these changes. I did a test with identical settings except the animation which was zoom in, zoom out and blur zoom out. Zoom in performed at just under DOUBLE the others.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}