If you’re human, you’ll probably agree with me when I say that we, as humans, aren’t always the best at doing things quickly.
I mean, if we don’t have a hard deadline for something, most us like to…well, let’s just say, put things off for another day.
But if we do have a hard deadline that we absolutely have to meet in order to get what we want? Well, then most of us are a lot more likely to act, right?
At least that’s the principle behind scarcity marketing, a tactic that pushes people to act by adding urgency to an offer.
For example, if you know a sale on a product you want will only last for 24 hours, you’re probably much more likely to purchase that product before the clock strikes zero. I’m not just hypothesizing here, either – even adding a simple countdown timer for shipping cut-offs was able to boost Miss Etam’s conversion rate by 8.6%.
So…why all that intro about scarcity marketing?
Because Thrive Ultimatum, the plugin I’m reviewing today, is a powerful way to add scarcity to your WordPress site using flexible countdown timers.
In my Thrive Ultimatum review, I’ll tell you why I think Thrive Ultimatum is much more than just another WordPress countdown timer plugin. Then, I’ll give you a hands-on look at how you can actually use Thrive Ultimatum to create powerful countdown timers that boost your conversion rates through scarcity marketing.
The problems with most WordPress countdown timer plugins
I write about WordPress a lot. That means I’ve had to investigate free WordPress countdown timer plugins for a few different blogs.
Let me tell you what I’ve found after writing those posts:
You don’t have very many good options when it comes to free WordPress countdown timer plugins.
Here are the problems I encountered with those plugins:
- Most are just plain ugly. Ok, ugly isn’t the deepest criticism…but I doubt you want your website looking like it was built in the 1990s.
- They aren’t smart. With a few exceptions, most just count down to a specific date, no matter what action(s) your visitors have taken. That’s fine if you’re counting down to a wedding…but not great if you’re selling something.
- They only show up in one spot. Usually, you use a shortcode or a widget to stick your timer in one spot…and that’s where it stays.
Why Thrive Ultimatum is a smarter countdown timer plugin
Ok, I say Thrive Ultimatum is a smarter countdown timer plugin because it offers much more than the “countdown to a specific date” functionality of most other countdown timer plugins (though it can do that if you want it to).
I’m going to go over all of the features in this review. But first I want to share the absolute coolest feature that Thrive Ultimatum offers:
Evergreen countdown timers.
With an evergreen countdown timer, each visitor to your site gets their own unique countdown timer. For example, you could give every single visitor to your site their own individual 24-hour countdown timer for an offer you’re promoting.
Beyond those neat evergreen countdown timers, which I’ll show you in more detail below, Thrive Ultimatum also helps you create:
- Regular fixed date countdown timers
- Recurring countdown timers
Other things I like about Thrive Ultimatum
Beyond offering different countdown types, Thrive Ultimatum also has a few other neat features that deserve mention:
- Countdown timer designs that actually look good. Plus, you can use Thrive Architect to further customize your designs with drag and drop, if you want.
- Change content based on time. Thrive Ultimatum lets you change the message you show visitors as the countdown timer gets closer to expiring.
- Pre-built campaign templates. These let you quickly create a full campaign. Or, you can always create a campaign from scratch.
- Countdown timers that follow visitors around. You can make your countdown timers “follow” your visitors around in widgets or notification bars.
- Lockdown feature. Build special links for exclusive scarcity deals.
- Change functionality on conversion. Once a visitor converts on a campaign, you can show a different offer.
Advanced features like the ones above are why I use Thrive Themes products on many of my sites.
But, I recognize that how all of these features actually come together might still be a little vague. So, join me as I go hands-on and show you how Thrive Ultimatum actually works.
Hands-on with Thrive Ultimatum: Creating a campaign
For this Thrive Ultimatum review, I’ll go through and create a brand new evergreen countdown campaign from scratch. I won’t show you how to create all the different campaigns, but this is the most complicated type of campaign, so the other campaigns are pretty much just simpler versions of the Evergreen campaign.
Step 1: Create a new countdown campaign
Like other Thrive Themes products, Thrive Ultimatum sits inside the Thrive Dashboard in your WordPress sidebar.
When you fire it up for the first time, the first thing that the plugin asks you to do is create a campaign:
Once you do that, you’ll be greeted by the option to choose one of those pre-built campaign types I told you about in the feature list:
These are basically a shortcut to quickly create certain common types of campaigns (the names are good descriptors for what each does).
But because I want to show you the whole process, I’m going to continue on using the Build from scratch option.
After giving your campaign an internal name, you’ll find yourself in the campaign dashboard.
As with other Thrive Themes products, the plugin includes helpful tooltips to guide you through all of the steps that you need to take to get your countdown timer up and running:
Because Thrive Ultimatum is so feature packed, these tooltips definitely come in handy.
Step 2: Choose your campaign type
Next up, you get to choose your campaign type. Remember, Thrive Ultimatum gives you three different options:
Let’s go with the Evergreen Campaign to showcase the full power of the plugin.
You can choose:
- How long the countdown timer should last
- If you want to Activate Lockdown to lock the timer to specific users (more on this feature later on)
- Whether or not to repeat the campaign
- If you want a realistic end time – this makes it less obvious that the countdown timer is evergreen by setting a realistic end time (e.g. it ends at midnight for each user)
- What action triggers the countdown timer to start
The Trigger Type is especially interesting because it lets you do cool things like:
- Start the countdown timer only after a user converts via Thrive Leads
- Only start the timer when a user visits a certain page
Step 3: Choose how your countdown timer displays
Next up, you’ll choose the spots where you want your countdown timer to display.
You can either display it sitewide or on individual posts or pages (or combinations of posts/pages).
You select these locations via simple checkboxes:
One neat feature here is the ability to save a display template so that you can quickly reuse the same settings for another countdown timer.
Step 4: Design your countdown timer
On the next step, you’ll get to choose what type of timer to display and then customize its design.
You can pick between:
- Top or bottom ribbons
Then, depending on your selection, you’ll see a set of templates that fit that location:
Once you select a template, you can further customize it using the powerful new Thrive Architect page builder:
At this point, your countdown timer is technically ready to go. But…you can still take advantage of a few neat optional features.
Adding new events to your countdown timer
If you look in the bottom-left of the dashboard, you’ll see a neat timeline that tells you exactly what will happen during your campaign:
If you click that Plus button, you can add a new Timeline Event. This is a powerful feature that allows you to, say, change the design of your countdown timer 2 hours before it reaches zero:
Again, you don’t have to use this feature. But it is a great way to add even more urgency to your campaigns, and not many plugins offer it.
Similarly, you can also add Conversion Events to define what happens after a visitor converts based on your countdown timer.
I mean, it doesn’t make sense to continue displaying the evergreen timer after a visitor converts, so this feature lets you either end the campaign or move them to a new campaign after they convert:
Viewing stats for your countdown campaigns
Once you push one of your countdown timer campaigns live, you’ll be able to view basic stats about its conversion rate right inside the Thrive Ultimatum dashboard:
A deeper look at the Evergreen Lockdown feature
In the tour above, I glossed over one of Thrive Ultimatum’s coolest features. So I want to circle back quickly and give you a look how the Evergreen Lockdown feature works.
Basically, this feature lets you “lock” the countdown offer to users who complete a very specific action. Either:
- Converting in Thrive Leads
- Visiting a special promotion page
Essentially, you’re combining the exclusivity of the offer (only people who are subscribed to your email list) with the urgency of a countdown timer.
Once you select the Lockdown Campaign type, you’ll be able to set a:
- Pre-access page for visitors for whom the campaign hasn’t started yet
- Promotion page that visitors see during the campaign
- Expired page that visitors see after the campaign
Then, Thrive Ultimatum generates unique links that use email marketing software merge tags to lock the campaign to your actual email subscribers:
To be honest, this feature is a little bit advanced because it requires you to create a whole funnel just for the campaign.
But if you’re willing to put in the time to create the campaign, I don’t know of any other plugin that gives you such an advanced way to promote an offer to your email list.
This feature is seriously cool. And again, this level of detail is another one of the reasons why I’m such a fan of Thrive Themes.
What type of webmaster benefits most from Thrive Ultimatum?
I think Thrive Ultimatum is a plugin that can benefit all types of WordPress users, though not every feature is accessible to casual users.
If you’re a casual user who doesn’t want to get into designing complete funnels, you can still use the basic countdown timer types to effectively promote offers and sales.
For example, it only takes a couple of minutes to create a basic countdown timer promoting a sale on an affiliate offer.
Where Thrive Ultimatum shines, though, is its advanced Evergreen countdown timer campaigns. These campaigns take some time to set up well. But if you’re willing to put the time into creating them, I don’t think you’ll find a plugin that offers you more control and flexibility. At least not one that I’ve ever heard of!
Thrive Ultimatum pro’s and con’s
- Powerful evergreen countdown timers with Lockdown feature
- Easy to create good-looking basic countdown timers
- The templates actually look good, and Thrive Architect makes them easy to customize
- More depth of functionality than pretty much any other scarcity plugin
- Display different designs based on the time left on countdown timer
- To truly take advantage of the most advanced features, you’ll need to put some serious time into creating your campaigns.
- Not a con per se, but because of its integrations with Thrive Leads, you’ll benefit more if you use the whole suite of Thrive Themes products
How much does Thrive Ultimatum cost?
To get Thrive Ultimatum, you can purchase either:
- The standalone Thrive Ultimatum plugin starting at $97 for a single site license
- The complete Thrive Themes membership, starting at $19 per month (paid annually)
Given the standalone price of Thrive Ultimatum, the Thrive Themes membership is an especially good value if you think you’ll use Thrive Themes’ other products.
Final thoughts on Thrive Ultimatum
When it comes to WordPress countdown timers and scarcity, Thrive Ultimatum is about as detailed and feature-rich as you’ll get.
To truly harness the full power of the plugin, you need to be willing to take the time to set up funnels for your offers.
But even for casual use, Thrive Ultimatum still offers effective standard countdown timers. You’ll just end up paying for powerful features that you might not use.
All in all, Thrive Ultimatum is another well thought-out and high-quality plugin from the Thrive Themes team.
Give it a look if you want to add some scarcity to your WordPress site.