Thrive Ultimatum Review + Comparison with Scarcity Samurai

Shane Melaugh has just announced Thrive Ultimatum, the newest product from Thrive Themes for internet marketers and bloggers.

Thrive Ultimatum is a scarcity plugin for WordPress - a tool that you can use to add scarcity elements like countdown timers to your website. Scarcity is when you add special offers that are available only for a limited amount of time.

You can see it in action on this website in the sidebar and the footer ribbon. You can use matching templates on the ribbons and widgets, but I've used different ones to give you an idea of the different looks you can get. All the templates are completely customizable with a drag-and-drop editor. But this plugin goes far beyond simple countdowns - continue reading this review to discover all its features.

Scarcity gives potential customers or subscribers a feeling of urgency. This will increase the chances of them making the decision to buy immediately, instead of putting it off and eventually forgetting about your offer.

During the first 7 days of launch you can get a 50% discount off the normal price, so don't delay if you want to take advantage of this special offer.


Does Scarcity Marketing Really Work?

Yes, without a doubt. And I'm speaking from experience as a buyer myself, not just as a website owner. I can't even count the number of times I've bought something I wasn't sure I needed, just because it was a limited offer and I was afraid to miss out. I'm sure you can think of many times when the same thing has happened to you - it's human nature.

If someone is on the fence about buying a product or signing up to a mailing list, adding a scarcity element is one of the easiest ways to convince them to jump in. And since I already know about scarcity tactics I know exactly what they're doing, but it still works on me anyway - as long as the scarcity is real!

Click here to watch a video in which Shane Melaugh from Thrive Themes shows a case study with some very honest results from applying scarcity to some of his websites. He also gives examples of famous brands and companies that use scarcity in their marketing with great success.

Can Affiliates Use Scarcity?

If you've never used scarcity before, you may not be sure if it's for you - especially if you haven't got your own products to sell. Of course, if you're an affiliate promoting a product that already has a scarcity element, like a limited time discount, then you can set the timer on your review to match the one on the sales page.

However, if the product you're promoting doesn't have any scarcity elements, you can still add one of your own by offering a bonus available only for a limited time. This will even give you an advantage over other affiliates competing with you.

Click here for a cheat sheet you can download (under the video) to figure out the best way to apply scarcity in your own marketing, along with real-life examples for each method.

Scarcity is not only useful for selling products - you can also use it to build your mailing list. For example, you can offer a free gift for a limited time only to people who sign up to your list.

Basically, you can use scarcity wherever you have a call to action, no matter what that action is. Here are more examples of places you can use scarcity to increase your conversions:

  • Affiliate reviews
  • Product launches and sales pages
  • Upsells/OTO offers
  • Bonus offers
  • Squeeze pages and newsletter signup pages
  • Online product stores
  • Contests
  • Surveys

Why I Decided to Switch to This Plugin

I wasn't so excited about this plugin when I first heard about it, because I already own another scarcity plugin (Scarcity Samurai, which I reviewed here a few years ago).

I'm not 100% happy with that plugin anymore, but I didn't think I needed another scarcity plugin when I was already able to make all the different types of scarcity campaigns with the plugin I already owned - or so I thought!

However, even though I didn't think Thrive Ultimatum would have anything new regarding campaign types, there was another very important feature that Scarcity Samurai lacks: mobile compatibility. This was promised during launch but was never added, which was a big disappointment for me.

Thrive Themes on the other hand has really impressed me with how they have regularly released updates for their products over the time that I've been a customer. And the updates aren't just to make sure the products continue working - they often add new features.

When I heard that Thrive Ultimatum is already mobile compatible out of the box, I knew I would be switching over to this plugin even if it had no other new features. In this day and age, not being mobile compatible is no longer an option.

But mobile compatibility is not the only thing Thrive Ultimatum brings to the table - turns out it has a whole suite of features including some I never even thought of, that will take your promotions to the next level.

Done-For-You Campaign Templates

When setting up your scarcity campaign, you can use the ready-made templates in the campaign wizard or you can choose to build your campaign from scratch.

There are 3 templates available as I'm writing this review, but more will be added soon.

  1. 7 day offer
  2. Christmas special
  3. End of month specials
  4. ...more to come

If you decide to build your campaign from scratch, it's still very quick and easy to set up because the dashboard makes it clear what you need to do next in every step of the process.

Campaign Types

There are 3 different campaign types you can choose from:

  1. Site wide campaign with absolute dates - for when you have a special offer between two specific dates.
  2. Site wide campaign with rolling dates - for recurring or periodic sales, for example every month/Christmas/Cyber Monday.
  3. Site wide evergreen campaign - triggered by user action, for example when the user signs up for a newsletter. Thanks to the integration with Thrive Leads this can be done very easily.

Trigger Types

You can also choose from 3 different triggers/events that will start the campaign for each visitor:

  1. Thrive Leads conversion - when someone signs up to your newsletter.
  2. First visit to site - so the campaign won't bother regular visitors who have already seen the offer.
  3. Visit to a specific page - for example a thank you page, so the campaign will only be shown to people who have bought a specific product.

Where Can You Display Scarcity Campaigns?

You can choose exactly where to display the campaign, and you can target any piece of content on your website. You can choose categories, posts, pages, page templates, post types, archive pages, and any other pages like the front page, error pages, the search page, etc. You can also choose specific pages to exclude.

Design Types and Templates

There are 3 different design types you can choose from:

  1. Top ribbon - this will display at the top of the screen.
  2. Bottom ribbon- this will display at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Widget - this can be displayed in any widget area on your site.

Right now they have 16 templates for the ribbons and 16 matching ones for the widgets, but they’ll definitely be adding more templates to the library over time. To give you an idea, Thrive Landing Pages had 6 templates out of the box, and it now has over 140.

All the templates are customizable of course, so you are unlimited in the designs you can use.

All the templates are beautifully designed and mobile-responsive, which is super important in this day and age. Scarcity Samurai, a scarcity plugin made by another company that I reviewed in the past, promised this feature but never added it. Try resizing this browser window to see how the footer ribbon changes as the window gets narrower.

Customizing the Design

You can choose a template and either use it as is, or you can edit it with the Thrive Editor. The Editor uses a drag-and-drop interface and allows you to completely and easily customize the templates to get them looking exactly how you want them.

Double the Urgency

With Thrive Ultimatum you can also change the design according to how much time is left in the campaign. This is an awesome feature, because you can literally double the urgency if for example you add text saying “LESS THAN 24 HOURS LEFT!” once the countdown timer reaches 24 hours.

It’s super easy to do this - you just click a button to add a new “state” to your campaign, and it copies the banner or widget you have already and allows you to edit it to your liking - so all you have to do is add a line of text and set when you want it to appear.

You can add multiple states, and even add multiple countdowns - for example one of the ribbons and a widget. Each countdown in the campaign can have it’s own states. In the dashboard it will show a timeline of which state appears when, so you can easily see what your campaign will be like. All this can be done in about 2 minutes!

Conversion Events

Using Conversion Events, you can stop showing the scarcity banners once your visitor has bought the product or signed up to your newsletter. And if you like, instead of just ending the campaign, you can actually move to another campaign instead!

This way you can string campaigns end to end, and offer them upsells to what they’ve already bought, or another product entirely. This is extremely powerful.

Lockdown Campaigns

With Lockdown Campaigns, you can also integrate the plugin with your autoresponder, so that you can send links to people that can trigger a campaign. They will be redirected to a page of your choosing depending on where they are in the sequence - if they haven’t triggered the start of the campaign yet, if they’re in the middle of it, or if it has already expired.

Paul McCarthy, one of the co-founders of Thrive Themes, says that Lockdown Campaigns are bulletproof - even if visitor changes their browser, their IP address, or their device, if they click that link it can’t be cheated.

Autoresponder Compatibility

Here is the list of autoresponders the plugin is compatible with at the time I’m writing this review - just pick whichever one you’re using and a URL will be generated for you to use in your emails:

  • Mailchimp
  • AWeber
  • GetResponse
  • MailPoet
  • ​Wordpress account
  • Ontraport
  • iContact
  • ConvertKit
  • ActiveCampaign
  • Infusionsoft
  • SendReach
  • KlickTipp
  • Sendy
  • ArpReach
  • Drip
  • Constant Contact
  • MadMimi
  • HubSpot
  • SendinBlue

Unlimited Campaigns

You can have unlimited campaigns running at the same time, which means you can target different people depending on where they are in your buying cycle.

So you can have one campaign for new subscribers, another campaign for people that have bought a certain product, and another one for people that have bought a different product. And if a visitor fits the criteria for more than one of these campaigns, you can even set the priority for each campaign so they are shown exactly what you want them to see.

Thrive Ultimatum vs Scarcity Samurai

FeaturesThrive UltimatumScarcity Samurai
Number of compatible autoresponders196
Fixed date campaigns
Evergreen campaigns
Recurring campaigns
Mobile compatible
 IP tracking
Top banner
Bottom banner
Inline banner*
Widget banner
Drag-and-drop customization
Automatically change banner according to time left
Stop showing banner once visitor has taken desired action
Switch to new campaign after conversion
Unlimited campaigns
Priority settings
Ready-made templates
 Price$67 - $97
(until June 6)
$97 - $197

* Update: Shane Melaugh has confirmed that the inline banner feature will be added soon!

What Could Be Improved?

It's a pity that it's not possible to make a header or footer ribbon in a campaign show up on different pages than a widget - if you want to do that you need to make separate campaigns for them.

However, I think this might have been done so that you can compare statistics of the banners on different pages, and in that case I wouldn't want it to change unless they add statistics for each banner instead of just the campaign as a whole.

I would love it if inline banners could be added - that means banners that you can add anywhere in the content area of your post or page, not just in widget areas. It's the only feature Scarcity Samurai has that Thrive Ultimatum doesn't. But Thrive Content Builder does have inline countdown banners (without all the extra features of TU though), so I can make do with those in the meantime (and you'll be able to use them too if you buy the OTO).

Update: Great news! Shane says the inline banner countdown is coming very soon, as it's one of the first post-launch features they're adding to the plugin.

Another feature I would love to see is the ability to add a countdown to overlay/popup banners. I don't currently use overlays on my sites, but I know they can be quite effective so I'm planning to start sometime soon. Thrive products often get updated with new features, so I'm hopeful they'll add this one too. It would be a great addition!

How Much Does It Cost?

It will be possible to buy Thrive Ultimatum from May 30 at 10:00 am EST. The plugin will be available at a discounted price for the first 7 days of the launch, from May 30 to June 6.

During this time the price will be $67 for a single site license and $97 for an unlimited personal site license. After the first 7 days, the price will double to $127 for a single site license and $197 for an unlimited site license. Notice the scarcity tactic? 😉

Are There Any OTOs/Upsells?

There is an OTO - a discounted offer for the Thrive Themes Membership. It will cost between $60 and $468, depending on what type of license you choose and whether you prefer to pay quarterly or annually.

I've actually been a member for a couple of years already, and I can really recommend it. You get all their premium themes (currently 10, one of which I'm using on this blog) and plugins (currently 4, all of which I'm using on this blog) and all the future products and updates they release during your membership.

The plugins you'll get are:

  • Thrive Content Builder & Landing Pages
  • Thrive Leads
  • Thrive Clever Widgets
  • Thrive Headline Optimizer

My Bonus

Note that if you buy Thrive Ultimatum through my affiliate link and then buy the OTO as well, you qualify to get my bonus for Thrive Leads (which you can read about in my Thrive Leads review). I also plan to review all the other Thrive products I use, so you'll qualify for any bonuses I add to those reviews as well.

To get the bonuses, make sure you clear your browser cookies before you make the purchase, even if you don't think you've clicked an affiliate link for any Thrive product before. Unfortunately I've had to deny many requests for bonuses because people skipped this step.

Once you've cleared your cookies, click one of the links on this page to go to the Thrive website and make your purchase. Then just use my contact form to send me your order number and date of purchase so I can check you bought through my link, and I'll send you the bonuses asap.


All in all I'm quite impressed with this plugin. It definitely has a lot more features than Scarcity Samurai, and it's cheaper to boot - at least for the first 7 days.

The plugin definitely exceeded my expectations, and I really love how you can string campaigns one after the other, essentially making a "scarcity funnel" and increasing your profits while rewarding your customers for taking action immediately.

I also love how customizable the banners are. Thanks to the Thrive Editor you can modify them really easily to get them looking exactly how you want them. And no more trying to squeeze everything into a banner that's too small - you can make them as big as you need to.

Thrive Ultimatum definitely has my recommendation, and it's the scarcity plugin I'll be using on my own websites from now on.

Rating: 5 stars


  • Shane says:

    Thank you for the detailed review!

    Just wanted to mention that the missing “inline banner” type countdown is coming very soon. It’s one of the first post-launch features that we’re working on. 🙂

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