OptinMonster Review: Much More Than a List Building Plugin

OptinMonster Review: Much More Than a List Building Plugin

If you want to grow your blog or your business online, you need to build an email list. 

But if you want to build your mailing list quicker, then you’ll need a list-building tool. It makes adding opt-in forms to your website easier. And they also look loads better. 

In this review, we’ll take a look at one tool that allows you to do just this – OptinMonster

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optinmonster logo

What is OptinMonster?

OptinMonster started out as a WordPress-only plugin, but nowadays it’s a premium web-based app that’s available for different platforms, including WordPress, Shopify, and Magento.

If you’re using WordPress, you’ll still use a plugin to connect your website to the OptinMonster dashboard using a unique API key. Plus you can take advantage of a few advanced tricks from the WordPress integration, which I’ll show you later.

But first, let’s take a look at how you can create an opt-in form.

How to Install and Use OptinMonster

You set up and manage most things from your OptinMonster dashboard, but the final activation of your opt-in form takes place in your WordPress admin panel.

After you’ve configured a few initial settings in the dashboard, you’ll be ready to create your first campaign by selecting Type and Template:

OptinMonster Campaign Type and Template

When you create a new campaign, you have to give it a title and select your website:

OptinMonster campaign name

Opt-in Forms

OptinMonster has several types of Opt-in Form:

  • Lightbox Popup
  • Floating Bar
  • Sidebar Forms
  • Inline Forms
  • Slide-in Scroll Box
  • Countdown Timer
  • Content Locker
  • Fullscreen Welcome Mat


Each type of form has a selection of pre-designed templates that you can edit with the drag-and-drop builder. Alternatively, if you don’t like any of the templates, you can start from scratch with the blank Canvas form.

Here’s a selection of templates available for the Lightbox Popup Form:

OptinMonster example templates

When you select a template you can make a series of changes from the top menu:

  • Design
  • Display Rules
  • Integration
  • Analytics
  • Publish

Let’s look at each one in turn:


The Design menu has three panels – Yes/No, Optin, Success – to configure your settings:

OptinMonster editor

(a) Optin Settings

The Optin menu contains the most settings:

  • Name Field – optional on/off if you want to display a name field on your form
  • Email Field – set the placeholder text, color, and font for the email address:

OptinMonster email fields

  • Submit Button – set the placeholder text, color, and font for the submit button:

OptinMonster submit button

  • Design Fields – set the background color, modify/remove template images, and add animation effects if you wish.
(b) Yes/No Settings

The Yes/No Settings let you convert your template into a 2-Step Opt-in Form where the visitor has to make a Yes/No choice on the first screen. You can control what happens when they select either button; for example, show an opt-in form or close the popup. You can also edit the colors and text:

OptinMonster Yes-No Form

(c) Success Settings

The default success page is standard black text on a white background: 

OptinMonster Success Form

But if you prefer you can choose from one of the success themes. Some of these themes are also available in the main opt-in form templates so that you can create a themed flow throughout your opt-in process.

Display Rules

The display rules determine where and how your opt-in form is displayed. In this example, I’ve selected the form to display on exit-intent: 

OptinMonster Display Exit Intent

More on Exit-Intent later…


The Integrations panel is where you link to your email service provider. OptinMonster connects with all the major providers including MailChimp, AWeber, GetResponse, Active Campaign, and more:

OptinMonster Integrations


The final menu option is to connect your Google Analytics account:

optinmonster analytics


After you’ve completed all these settings, you have to enable the campaign in your OptinMonster dashboard:

OptinMonster Enable

Once your campaign is active, you can track its performance from the OptinMonster dashboard.

3 Key Features of OptinMonster

OptinMonster is bursting with functionality. To keep things simple, I’ve picked three of the best features to show you how it can help build your email list.

#1 – Exit-Intent

Did you know that over 70% of visitors who abandon your website will never return?

That’s why OptinMonster invented their Exit-Intent technology – to convert abandoning visitors into subscribers and customers.

The Exit-Intent technology works in the background monitoring user behavior on your site. Just as a visitor is about to leave it prompts them with a specific offer.

For example, you could prompt them to:

  • Download a free eBook or Case Study
  • Sign up for a free product trial
  • Book a free consultation call
  • Signup for your webinar

Here’s how it works:

OptinMonster Exit-Intent

Case Study:

Social Media Examiner started using OptinMonster in 2014. Before that, they used the standard opt-in forms from their email service provider – AWeber.

One of the first types of forms they implemented was an exit-intent popup. They added 95,000 subscribers in 7 months by capturing those visitors about to leave the site and offering them a Free Report.

They still use one today. Head over to their site and you’ll see it in action.

#2 – MonsterLinks

MonsterLinks is the name of the 2-Step Opt-in technology from OptinMonster.

The concept behind the 2-Step Opt-in is a psychology principle known as the Zeigarnik Effect. It states that those who start something are more likely to finish the process.

Here are the two steps of the opt-in:

  • Step 1: a visitor clicks on a link or an image
  • Step 2: a popup opens up asking them to subscribe

Because the visitor clicked the link in Step 1, they are more likely to complete the opt-in form in Step 2.

MonsterLinks can turn any link or image on your page into a 2-Step Opt-in process.

Here’s an example from Backlinko showing you how it looks in practice:

OptinMonster MonsterLink

When Syed Balkhi (Co-Founder of OptinMonster) used a combination of Content Upgrade + MonsterLinks he increased his conversions by 845% compared to a Generic Exit-Intent Popup:

OptinMonster MonsterLink Results from Syed Balkhi

Pro Tip:

While generic lead magnets are OK, you’ll have more success by displaying specific offers to different groups of visitors as highlighted above in the MonsterLinks + Content Upgrade study.

#3 – Page-Level Targeting

Page-Level Targeting allows you to display unique opt-in forms based on a visitor’s location and interaction on your website.

First, you decide when the campaign should appear:

optinmonster display rules when

Next, you choose who will see the campaign:

optinmonster display rules who

For example, you might have two different lead magnets:

  • Managing Your WordPress Plugins
  • WordPress Hosting Tips and Tricks

Because OptinMonster has a deep integration with WordPress, you can make advanced settings in the WordPress dashboard so that each opt-in targets specific categories:

optinmonster wordpress advanced-1  

For example, using the advanced setting you might say that:

  • “Managing Your WordPress Plugins” is only displayed on posts in the Plugins category as a 2-Step Opt-in with MonsterLinks.
  • “WordPress Hosting Tips and Tricks” is only displayed on your posts and pages in the Hosting category as an Exit-Intent popup.

optinmonster wordpress advanced-2

Targeting Options

In addition to Page-Level Targeting, OptinMonster also includes the following Targeted Campaign options:

  • Referrer Detection
  • OnSite Follow Up Campaigns
  • OnSite Retargeting
  • Geo-Location Targeting
  • Cookie Retargeting
  • Device-Based Targeting
  • AdBlock Detection

Other Notable Features

It’s worth mentioning that OptinMonster also includes Split Testing and Analytics.

A/B Split Testing

A/B testing helps you eliminate the guesswork and make data-driven decisions on what works best.

You can try different content, headlines, layouts, and styles to see what converts best with the A/B testing tool.

Often, what you think is the best opt-in form proves to be wrong. It’s much better to test one variation at a time and let the software check the best option.

Conversion Analytics

There would be little point having all these fantastic opt-in forms if you had no way of measuring how effective they were. (That’s why I included some proven data above.)

OptinMonster integrates with Google Analytics to give you a quick glance on how your opt-in forms are performing. You can analyze clicks, views, and overall conversion rate for each opt-in form and their variations.

When you analyze your stats, you can take the right action to improve your lead generation strategy.

Pricing and Support

OptinMonster differs from other WordPress list building plugins as it’s a subscription-based service. 

There are several subscription plans available each with the option of monthly or annual billing:

  • Basic – $19/month or $108/year – An entry tool for those just starting out.
  • Standard – $39/month or $228/year – Great for businesses who want to do more.
  • Pro – $59/month or $348/year – Everything you need to get huge results, fast!
  • Growth – $99/month or $588/year – The premier solution for smart marketers.

Support Documentation

The OptinMonster support documentation is excellent. It covers every topic in detail so that you can create, install, and optimize your opt-in forms.

OptinMonster Support Docs

If you should come across a problem that you can’t find explained in the online documentation, then you can submit a ticket to the global support team.

Review Summary

OptinMonster is an excellent list building tool that gives you the ability to create high-converting opt-in forms. It supports all the major email service providers, offers a great user experience, and is incredibly easy to use.


  • Easy to use
  • Full range of Predesigned Templates
  • Drag-and-Drop Form Builder
  • Exit Intent Technology
  • MonsterLinks for 2-Step Opt-ins
  • Page Level Targeting with advanced WordPress integration
  • Easy A/B Testing
  • User-friendly Reporting
  • Integration with all major email service providers


  • There is no built-in Analytics functionality; everything is tracked via Google Analytics


OptinMonster may not be the cheapest list building software on the market. But it’s a robust product with plans to add more features.

As it’s only available as a subscription-based service, you’ll always have to pay a monthly or annual fee to use it.

But you can start with a 14-day free trial, which is an affordable way of testing if it works for you without making a long-term investment.

And once you’re happy with it, then you can upgrade to take advantage of even more smart features.

Get OptinMonster
David Hartshorne

I'm a freelance writer working with business owners, marketing teams, and digital agencies to create in-depth, actionable content that resonates with their audience. When I'm not writing about digital marketing, you’ll find me roaring for the Villa or chilling with a thriller.

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