Thrive Ovation Review – Stress-Free Testimonial Management Plugin
Many great features that make it easy to collect and display testimonials. It makes the whole process a lot less awkward.
Very user friendly, and can be used with or without Thrive Content Builder.
One-time payment, 3 licenses. Fair prices, but the Advanced and Pro licenses are far better deals.
Summary: Thrive Ovation is more than just a testimonial management plugin - it's an all-in-one solution for testimonial collection, management, and display. It removes the painful and awkward process of asking for testimonials, makes managing them a breeze, and displays them beautifully with fully customizable templates.
- Converts comments into testimonials
- Collects testimonials through capture form
- Can add testimonials manually
- Imports testimonials from social media
- Can add tags to testimonials
- Can make dynamic testimonial blocks
- Many beautiful template designs
- Needs more social media integration
- Can't add video testimonials
Note that these discounts are only valid during the launch period,
which ends on Tuesday, 13th September 2016 at midnight Pacific time.
Update: The launch discount has been extended, but reduced from 50% to 25% off.
Install on 1 website
Install on 5 websites
Install on 15 websites
Why I Didn't Think I'd Use It
When I first saw Thrive Ovation in my Thrive membership dashboard, I didn't pay much attention to it. I saw it there the day before the official launch, and the only thing I knew about it from a quick look at the tutorial page was that it was a testimonial management plugin.
Now don't get me wrong, I know how important testimonials are for increasing trust and conversions, but I just didn't think I could use something like that yet. After all, what use is a testimonial plugin if you don't have any testimonials to display, and if you don't sell anything yet anyway?
And honestly, even if I was selling something, just the thought of asking people for testimonials in the first places makes me uncomfortable. I know it's important, but I'm more of an "ignore the problem until it goes away" kind of person.
But it kept niggling away at me, because so far I've loved all the Thrive plugins. So the next day I gave in and decided to install the plugin and try it out.
This is what Thrive Ovation gives you the ability to do, according to the sales page:
- keep all your testimonials in one place
- assign tags for easy sorting and filtering
- automate getting testimonials with capture forms
- get detailed, high converting testimonials by asking specific questions in the capture forms
- add testimonials manually
- import them from social media
- convert WordPress comments into testimonials
- display beautifully designed testimonials with the customizable templates
- add dynamic testimonial blocks
- send permission requests
Over the last few days I've tested out all it's features - and even though I discovered a couple of things I would like to see fixed or added, I ended up being quite pleased with the plugin and what it can do.
If you have the same doubts I did, go ahead and read my review below to find out why I've changed my mind about Thrive Ovation - and why the reasons you think you don't need something like this might actually be the reasons you should start using this plugin right now.
Why Use Testimonials?
First of all, lets cover why you need to use testimonials in the first place.
Testimonials are a very effective selling tool that can help potential customers to pull the trigger and become buyers.
These days we're a lot more skeptical as buyers, and with so much competition just a click away, we can afford to be. So how can you get ahead of your competition as a seller? You guessed it - by using the social proof of testimonials.
We're much more likely to buy something if other people recommend it. If you need to buy a certain type of product, wouldn't you rather buy the one recommended to you by a friend or by someone in the same situation as you?
Think about it - when you buy something online, from Amazon for example, do you check reviews first? I always do, and the reviews that are the most convincing are the ones I can personally relate to.
When you use testimonials, you can show reluctant buyers that other people in the same situation as them took the plunge - they bought the product and got great results from it.
This can make a huge difference in your sales, as you can see in this case study of how WikiJob increased their conversions by 34% - just by moving their testimonials to a more prominent position on the page!
These were just simple one-sentence testimonials that weren't even attributed to anyone - imagine how much more improvement there would have been if they had added photos as well. That same website has done split tests before which show that human pictures can double conversion rates.
With Thrive Ovation you can easily display beautifully designed testimonial boxes thanks to the 37 customizable templates already included in the plugin, and profile pictures will be automatically uploaded if the person has a gravatar account - or they can choose to use their Facebook profile photo.
Not Selling Anything Yet?
One of the main reasons I didn't think I'd use Thrive Ovation is because I'm not selling anything yet. However, as Shane pointed out in the sales page video, testimonials can increase all kinds of conversions, not just sales.
If you put a testimonial on your newsletter sign up form where someone says how valuable they found the information in your emails or how much they love the lead magnet you're offering, you might notice a sudden increase in newsletter sign-ups.
If you're writing a review you could add a testimonial from someone saying how much they love your reviews or the product you're reviewing. The first option could encourage a skeptical visitor to continue reading, and the second could convince someone to click through and check out the actual product.
Don't Have Testimonials Yet?
If you're already selling things but you don't have any testimonials yet, Thrive Ovation can help you in two ways.
The first way it can help is by creating forms for people to fill in to leave a testimonial. The forms are customizable, so you can add your own questions to make sure you get the right information for a high quality testimonial that will really help increase your conversions.
There are also 3 different form templates to choose from so you can choose the look you like best, and knowing Thrive there are probably more on the way.
Here is an example form below. It's completely functional, so feel free to try it out and you might see your testimonial on this site sometime! 😉
Note how your photo gets automatically uploaded if you use an email address with an associated Gravatar, or how you can use your Facebook profile photo if you hover your mouse over the placeholder image.
As you can see in the capture form above, there's no field to enter your website URL. That's because there's actually no option to add it in the form settings, even though each testimonial added to the plugin has a URL field.
After contacting support I found out this was not a bug, they just hadn't added the feature. I thought that was a bit strange, since testimonials converted from comments have a URL field, so I thought all the testimonials should have one. Apparently it's one of the most requested features though, so it'll probably be added very soon.
The second way Thrive Ovation can help you get more testimonials is by turning blog comments into testimonials.
Has anybody left you a comment on your blog saying how much they loved your product or service? Whenever that happens you can easily add the comment to Thrive Ovation's database of testimonials, ready for you to use whenever you need it.
Example of a Manual Testimonial
This is an example of a manually entered testimonial. The main text of the testimonial goes here. As you can see, the text can be formatted and you can even add elements like quotes, bullet lists, and horizontal lines if you wish.
See the empty space under the testimonial? This is another glitch I found. For each testimonial you can decide which fields to show, but for some reason the URL never shows up - though there's an empty space where the URL is supposed to be. The space remains even when you deselect the option to show the URL.
There is also a second glitch that you can't see, but that you'll notice if you're inserting testimonials using the Thrive Content Builder. In TCB the selection area of the testimonials sometimes extends a lot further down than the actual testimonial, overlapping the paragraph underneath it. This makes it difficult to edit the text in that paragraph if you need to.
It's irritating, especially if you're like me and edit things a million times before you're happy, but I've gotten around it by moving the testimonial under the paragraph until I'm finished editing, and then moving it back.
Do You Dread Asking For Testimonials?
The plugin makes the process of getting permission to use comments as testimonials a lot less awkward by giving you the option to automatically send a pre-written email to the commenter asking for their permission.
The included email template is very well written and can be used as is, which I was very happy about because I'd probably agonize over what to write for hours if I had to do it myself! But it's also completely customizable if you want something different.
The email template uses shortcodes to pull in the commenter's name and the comment they left, so each email is personalized. This also allows the commenter to quickly check what they wrote and immediately click either the "Allow" or "Don't Allow" button at the bottom of the email. This should cut down quite a bit on the time it usually takes for testimonials to be approved!
To use this feature you'll first have to sign up with a transactional email service (different from an email marketing service like Aweber), and then connect your account to Thrive Ovation.
Ovation integrates with the following transactional email services, most of which have plans that allow you to send a ridiculous amount of emails each month for free:
I signed up for a free account with SparkPost, which had the most generous free plan. It allows you to send 100,000 emails for free per month - much more than I'll ever need!
I had a few minutes of confusion when setting up the account, because SparkPost gives you two different options to choose from and I had no idea what either of them were and which one I needed for it to work with Thrive Ovation.
Anyway, I figured it out in the end and was able to connect my SparkPost account to the plugin. However, this is where I started running into problems.
Oh Dear, This Doesn't Quite Work...
I turned one of my own comments into a testimonial, and this is where I ran into the first bug - it did not detect my gravatar photo, even though the gravatar showed up in the comment itself.
I tried a few more times that day with the same result, but it started working perfectly the day after that. However, I've noticed that when I upload a testimonial manually the gravatar does not get imported.
Anyway, after I turned my comment into a testimonial I wanted to send myself a permission request to test out the email feature, but there was a notice saying I hadn't configured my email settings (I had).
It has a link to refresh the form once you've set up the email, but even after clicking it, it still didn't detect it. I discovered that it still sends the email if I just go ahead and select that option anyway - but until it gets fixed people might not realize the email has been sent and they might keep trying, accidentally sending their commenter multiple approval requests.
Now onto the email itself. When I received it, all the spaces between the paragraphs had been stripped, including the space between the end of the message and the "Allow" and "Don't Allow" buttons. This caused the buttons to be at the end of the line they were on, and they were cut off part way and continued on the next line.
But the biggest problem was that the buttons weren't linked, so there was no way to approve the request.
I tried sending myself a few more emails, and the spacing issue fixed itself after the first email, but the buttons remained unlinked. I then tried using Postmark instead of SparkPost in case it was a problem on their end, and while the spacing was fine the buttons still weren't linked.
UPDATE: NO BUTTON BUG, THAT WAS JUST ME...
I contacted support about the button issue, and they had a look at my dashboard to figure out what was going on.
It turns out it the buttons weren't working because I hadn't configured the Landing Page settings, which are right next to the email settings. Oops! From the name I had assumed they were settings for if you wanted to make a dedicated testimonial collection page, and then I forgot to check it out later like I had planned to. My bad!
What Else Can Thrive Ovation Do?
We've covered design templates, testimonial capture forms and turning comments into testimonials - but you can also add testimonials manually (which is useful when you get them via email) or you can import them from social media. Oh, and tags! I can't believe I forgot about the tags!
You can assign tags to each testimonial, and you can even set certain tags to be added automatically to all testimonials submitted through a specific form.
This will be extremely useful once you've built up a big collection of testimonials, because you can use tags to filter through them or to create dynamic testimonials.
For example, you can set an element on your page to show 3 testimonials from all your testimonials with a certain tag attached, and if you have more than 3 it will cycle through them. It also means that when new approved testimonials with that tag are added to your collection, they will automatically start showing up too!
Thrive Ovation integrates with Facebook and Twitter - all you need to do is copy the URL of the Facebook comment or the Tweet to import it into the plugin as a testimonial. The person's profile photo will automatically be uploaded, and you can add tags or edit the message as you wish.
Right now you can only import Facebook comments, but a feature request to import Facebook posts has already been submitted, and we've been told it has a high probability of being added.
A nice touch is that a history of activity/changes is saved for each testimonial, so you can see where the testimonial was added from and if/when you edited anything in it.
My most wished for features for them to add are:
- a website URL field and a company field in the testimonial collection form
- the ability to send approval requests for all testimonials, not just ones converted from WordPress comments
- a few more social media integrations like Google+ and LinkedIn
- the ability to add video testimonials
I wasn't sold on Thrive Ovation when I first saw it, but as I learnt what it could do I started to get excited - only to be a bit let down by the glitches I found when I started testing it out.
However, after contacting support and finding out that the broken buttons in the approval email were just because I hadn't configured the landing pages, the major problem I had with the plugin was solved.
The rest are just small things that I'm sure will be ironed out soon. I've been a Thrive Themes customer for a few years now, and the Thrive team has always been very good about releasing regular updates with bug fixes and new features. I think they usually release updates about every 2 weeks.
So do I think it's worth the purchase? I think it is, and I'll tell you why.
Everybody who runs a business should be collecting testimonials - with how much they increase conversions, you're just throwing money away if you don't.
This is such a fantastic tool, already worth the full price as is. And browsing through the support forum I've seen that they've already started adding user requests to their feature request list, so no doubt we'll start seeing even more features added to the plugin in the coming weeks and months.
So my recommendation is to buy this now during launch while you can still get the launch discount, because the price will never be this low again - I think they have a policy on never discounting their products as low as the launch prices.
If you're reading this after the launch discount has ended, then there's no rush except for the fact that you should really start building your portfolio of testimonials as soon as you can. Don't keep procrastinating until it's too late!