If you love tools like Zapier and IFTTT, then you’re going to want to read our review of the Uncanny Automator WordPress plugin. Or, if you love automating tasks but haven’t heard of Zapier, you should also read it!
Uncanny Automator basically is Zapier…but for your WordPress site. It lets you “connect” over a dozen plugins to each other or to any app on Zapier.
The upshot is that you can automate a lot of important actions on your site – the possibilities really are “endless”.
On a personal note, I love using Zapier to automate tasks, so I’m definitely excited to share this Uncanny Automator review with you.
Uncanny Automator Review: What The Plugin Does
If you’ve used Zapier or IFTTT in the past, you know how Uncanny Automator works – it’s the exact same idea, just in your WordPress dashboard.
If you haven’t, here’s the general principle for all of these tools.
Basically, they help you automate tasks and actions by connecting two apps together.
You can say if “this thing” happens in Plugin A, then do “that thing” in Plugin B.
Let me give you a more concrete example…
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Let’s say you have an online course built with LifterLMS. Then, maybe you’re also using BuddyPress to create a sort of social community for all your course-takers.
By default, those are two separate plugins. But with Uncanny Automator, you can set up an automated task that says:
If someone joins the course on “Underwater Basket Weaving”, then add them to the BuddyPress group for that course.
Now, you can just sit back and weave your underwater baskets because everything is on autopilot!
You can also add multiple triggers or actions at the same time, including the 1,000+ apps that are supported on Zapier. So you can get more creative and do things like:
If a user enrolls in a course, then…
- Add them to a BuddyPress group
- Add them to a MailChimp list
- Put them in your CRM software
- Send yourself a text message
Obviously, a big part of Uncanny Automator’s usefulness comes from the plugins it supports. So here’s what you can currently “connect” with Uncanny Automator.
The Plugins That Uncanny Automator Currently Supports
I imagine this list will expand over time, so make sure to check the current list if you’re reading this in the future. But at the time that I’m writing this Uncanny Automator review, here’s what it supports.
First, it supports core WordPress functionality as well as Zapier. So you can connect any of the plugins to either:
- Some basic WordPress functions
- Any one of the 1,000+ apps that Zapier supports
Then, it also supports these plugins:
- Easy Digital Downloads
- The Events Calendar
- WP Courseware
- WP LMS
- Gravity Forms
- Ninja Forms
- Contact Form 7
- WP Fusion (this helps you connect to tons of CRMs and marketing automation tools)
- H5P – to be honest, I have no idea what this is – but you might know it!
Each Plugin Has Its Own Triggers And Actions
Triggers and actions are two important terms for understanding how Uncanny Automator lets you work with the plugins.
A trigger is basically the “if” part of the equation. It doesn’t “do” anything by itself, but it starts the chain of automation.
An action, on the other hand, is something that Uncanny Automator does as a result of the trigger.
Each plugin will support both triggers and actions. For example, here’s the list of triggers and actions for LifterLMS:
Hands-on With Uncanny Automator
Ok, so hopefully you have a good idea of what Uncanny Automator does in theory. Now, let me show you how it actually works on your WordPress site.
I’ve installed Uncanny Automator, as well as BuddyPress and LifterLMS. Now, let’s go over how it would work to recreate the example from before (automatically adding new course-takers to a BuddyPress group).
So now my site has:
- A LifterLMS course for Underwater Basket Weaving
- A BuddyPress group for Underwater Basket Weaving Course Discussion
Now let’s connect them!
Creating A Recipe With Uncanny Automator: Select The Trigger
A “recipe” is basically one specific combination of:
Just think of a recipe as “something you want to automate”. Again, if you use Zapier or IFTTT, you should be pretty familiar with this terminology.
To create your first recipe, you go to Uncanny Automator → New Recipe.
At the top, you’ll see a list of all the available integrations that Uncanny Automator was able to detect on your site. For me, that’s:
- WordPress Core
To get started, you choose which integration you want to be your trigger. For this example, that’s LifterLMS. Remember, joining a specific LifterLMS course is what triggers everything else.
Once you select the integration, you’ll see a list of all the available triggers:
For this example, I want “User is enrolled in a course”.
Once you select a trigger, you’ll be able to choose the specific course (you can also choose a quantity):
And if needed, you can actually create multiple triggers:
Choosing What Action To Complete
Once you’re finished with your triggers, the next step is to choose the action that you want to perform after the trigger condition is met.
Again, it’s a similar interface.
First, you choose the integration. Notice how you also get access to a Zapier option. This is super powerful because it lets you connect any one of the 1,000+ apps that Zapier supports:
For this example, I just need BuddyPress, though (I’ll show you Zapier later on).
Once you select the integration, you can choose which action to perform:
Then, you can choose the specific group:
As with triggers, you can add multiple actions if needed.
Once you’re happy with everything, you click the toggles to make your triggers and actions live:
And now the recipe will start working!
To help you keep track of all your automation tasks, Uncanny Automator gives you three different areas with logs for:
I created a new user and enrolled it in the Underwater Basket Weaving course, so if everything is working properly, I should see that information in the logs.
Spoiler – it worked! You can see the overall log for the recipe here:
And if you dig into the trigger and action reports, you can see more detail.
Here’s the trigger report:
And here’s the action report:
And just in case you were wondering – Joel Embiid is indeed a member of the Underwater Basket Weaving Course Discussion Group now (as well as the best center in the NBA).
Checking Out The Zapier Integration
Before I finish out this review, I want to specifically show you how the Zapier integration works.
If you choose the Zapier action when you create a new recipe, it lets you connect to Zapier webhooks:
To use this effectively, you’ll first need to create a recipe in Zapier using webhooks.
Then, Zapier will give you the webhook URL to input in the Uncanny Automator interface. This video details the full process.
The upshot is that you really can connect to any other Zapier app.
Additionally, as you can see in the screenshot above, you can pass up to 5 variables (tokens) to Zapier as part of the recipe.
Uncanny Automator can even help you choose which variables to pass from the interface. For example, it makes it easy to include common tokens for common information like:
- User email
- Site URL
And you can also insert tokens from specific plugins – like the name of the LifterLMS course:
Uncanny Automator Pricing
Uncanny Automator comes in two premium tiers.
First, there’s a Lite version that’s available for $49. This version doesn’t give you access to all the triggers and actions and only lets you use one trigger per recipe.
If you want access to all the triggers/actions (including Zapier) and unlimited triggers per recipe, you can purchase the full version for:
- $149 for use on one site
- $249 for use on five sites
Final Thoughts On Uncanny Automator
As I said in the beginning, I love Zapier, so I’m naturally a fan of what Uncanny Automator is doing here.
Being able to create recipes like this is helpful in so many ways, and I could literally write an entire post just on use cases.
I guess one thing you might notice is that some of these plugins already support Zapier. For example, WooCommerce already has Zapier integrations, as do LifterLMS and LearnDash, as well as several of the form plugins.
Whether or not that’s true for the specific plugins that you’re using, Uncanny Automator can still add value beyond that because:
- You can run recipes based on multiple triggers. Most built-in integrations will only let you choose a single, pre-determined trigger. You can also use different plugins as triggers in your recipes (so you could trigger something based on both LifterLMS and BuddyPress)
- You have more control over what information you pass to Zapier because you can pass up to 5 variables from your choice of data points.
- It still has support for plenty of plugins that don’t have built-in integrations. That alone makes it valuable.
- You can directly connect plugins together. Again, this is unique.
- It might just plain be cheaper, even if you do only need to connect a single plugin to Zapier. For example, it costs $200 just to get access to WPForms’ Zapier integration, whereas Uncanny Automator gives you a more flexible Zapier integration for $149.
Ready to start automating your WordPress site? Click below to head to Uncanny Automator: