ActiveCampaign Review: In-Depth
ActiveCampaign is one of the leaders in customer relations and marketing automation. The brand has tens of thousands of clients around the world and helps out in different industry fields. Through email templates, smart integrations, and efficient analytics, companies can reach their buyers where they’re at. Plus, pricing is reasonable, and there are plans to suit all sizes.
As the name suggests, ActiveCampaign takes a dynamic approach to marketing campaigns. That said, the service also streamlines the creation and follow-up processes while providing efficient reports.
- Clear Analytics
- Email Templates
- Engaging Content
- List Segmentation
- Marketing Automation
- Messaging & Subscriptions
ActiveCampaign: Background Information
The company was founded in 2003 by Jason VandeBoom in Chicago, Illinois. From the beginning, the software was tailored to small and medium-sized businesses. However, its primary focus was on consulting services and help with contact management.
As the brand grew, new options surfaced, steering the SaaS enterprise towards customer relations and marketing automation. Today, ActiveCampaign has over 500 employees and additional offices in Indianapolis, Sydney, and Dublin. It also raised $100 million in a Series B investment round with the help of Susquehanna Growth Equity.
Service Features & Technical Details
Many options and services that fall under the umbrella of email and marketing management. Here’s a closer look at what to expect from an ActiveCampaign account.
Customer Relationship Management
While the company’s strength does not lie in customer relations management, there are still plenty of features to take advantage of. This includes dividing audiences into contact lists, and prospecting leads for more successful campaigns.
- Email Marketing
- Integrated Automations
- Lead Scoring
- List Segmentation
This is where the brand shines. Businesses will love the mobile-optimized function, which allows them to reach their clients right where they are.
- Analytics & Graphs
- CAN-SPAM Compliance
- Drip Campaigns
- Event-Triggered Emails
- Media Library
- Mobile Optimization
- Organized Mailing List
- Split Testing
- Subscriber Management
- Template Designs
- WYSIWYG Editor
Marketing is useless without analytics. Fortunately, the software offers A/B testing and various trackers so clients can better know what’s engaging and what’s losing their buyers’ interest.
- Audience Segmentation
- Drip Campaigns
- Engaging Content
- Landing Pages
- Lead Scoring
- Opt-In/Opt-Out Forms
- ROI Tracker
- Split Testing
- Social Media Marketing
- Visitor Tracking
Features in Detail
There is quite an array of functionalities to explore with this software. Below is a review of the primary features and how they fit into a company’s marketing and customer relations management.
The newsletter creation tool works efficiently and allows for ample customization. Those with larger teams will appreciate the ability to share and view each other’s edits and marks. This allows for more collaboration and a consistent brand voice.
Team members can easily segment and organize their audience lists to make sending multiple email campaigns much simpler. There is even a personalization tool so they can communicate with clients on a first-name basis.
The drag-and-drop design editor is a seamless feature that customers can use to add text, images, page breaks, buttons, videos, and more to their messages. There’s no need to be a web designer or tech expert, either. Simply click and drag into the email template.
- Contact list organization
- Drag-and-drop designer
- Media library
- Summary view
- Targeted & segmented emails
The image library is a great way for businesses to show customers what they want. Through pictures and videos, they can engage more people, all while keeping that personal charm.
The software’s dynamic content feature splits messages into groups: nurture, sell, and upsell. This way, the calls-to-action make more sense and go to the right buyers. Teams can also pull from RSS feeds and URLs to get just the right content for their emails. Plus, it’s the same drag-and-drop functionality that makes creating a campaign so seamless.
- Nurture: “try it out”
- Sell: “sign up today”
- Upsell: “get 10% off”
The automation library is full of pre-set actions that employees can take advantage of. This includes things like follow-ups, pitch emails, referrals, and sales messages. Again, it’s as easy as making a few clicks and letting the software do the rest.
It all starts with going to the “trigger” tab in the automation library. There are 24 different trigger actions that clients can add to their emails, including subscribing/unsubscribing, or submitting a form. The idea is, once a recipient clicks on the trigger in the email, they’ll automatically redirect to the company’s site or a Web form.
Users can build more actions into their automations, such as if/then conditionals, split testing, and updating a contacts list.
- Automation goals
- Goal reporting
- Target contacts and take action
The “contacts” tab allows users to organize their lists and manage subscribers. They can also import lists from other services like Asana or Zoho CRM.
With lists, subscribers know why they’re receiving an email, which can reduce spam reports and opt-outs in the future. It takes a bit of initial set-up, but the returns are huge.
- Send contacts the content they want
- Boost audience engagement
- Add a personal touch to emails
Prospecting & Lead Scoring
ActiveCampaign uses a kanban board style to create deal pipelines that can help with lead scoring and sales. Through visual “boards,” clients can break down their target audiences and sales goals into bite-sized pieces.
From there, each contact segment has a pipeline, so no one is left without an assigned task. The auto deal assignment has a multitude of options, such as:
- Round Robin
- Distributed based on the value
- Disable automatic assignment
These are also automated for smoother customer experience. Employees should know why someone decided to unsubscribe, so ActiveCampaign auto-triggers a sequence that asks the client why they’re leaving. That follow-up is one less thing that team members need to worry about. Plus, the lost contact goes into a specific list for unsubscribers.
ActiveCampaign has plenty of timetables and tools to assist teams in sending out emails. There’s even a “resend campaign” option. By looking at the reports and split tests, clients can decide which messages do best when. Combined with the automations, they’ll never miss a beat.
Analytics & Graphs
The “reports” tab will give users a visual representation of how their marketing efforts are doing. Here, they can see sent campaigns, open and click rates, geolocation maps of subscribers, and more. Employees can also add Google Analytics integration.
The analytics are quick to update and, combined with the automations; help companies give buyers more of what they truly want. Now there is no more guesswork, only more engagement, and dynamic content.
The lead scoring feature makes it easy to see which recipients are clicking through to the site, which pages they’re visiting, and how often they check things out. Here are just a few of the things ActiveCampaign can track:
- Audience interactions
- Calls to action
- Email content
- Open & click rates
- Subject lines
For those who want to see which emails do the best, they can try the A/B testing feature. By clicking the “split test this campaign” tab, users can track everything from the number of emails delivered, click and open rates, unsubscribers, automation triggers, and more. This helps teams determine which subject lines and images lead to the highest customer engagement.
- Compare up to five emails at once
- Split 100 contacts
- Decide which metrics matter most
Knowing when a person visits the site and leaves seconds later is referred to as analyzing the bounce rate. This important statistic reveals where a business can improve as well as where their visitors are dropping off. The software’s machine learning comes into play here and can predict which content will engage the most.
Just as it’s important to know who to send emails out to, it’s also crucial to have a blacklist of contacts. These are the people who don’t match the product or service’s target audience or have shown obvious disinterest. ActiveCampaign’s machine learning tool helps tremendously with this.
The software is available in over a dozen languages, which makes sense, considering the company has a client base that spans the globe.
- Brazilian Portuguese
For those who want more from their AC account, they can look into these upper-tier services.
The software helps clients build a better reputation by offering authentication services. Not only does this add more security, but it can also ease delivery issues. ActiveCampaign utilizes DKIM, DMARC, and SPF verification.
Users can add a custom domain name to their accounts, which white-labels their company for branding purposes. It also adds more professionalism and will include the custom link in all future email messages.
Account Levels & Administration
Every user account besides Lite offers multi-account access. Some people use this tool to create an account record for the business, while others have reputable team members that merit their unique profile.
There are over 150 third-party integrations available on ActiveCampaign. Among those include Google Analytics, which helps teams track data and ROI more efficiently. The software also has a Salesforce App, which brings more valuable information into the mix. This is perfect for finding prospects and clinching sales deals. Of course, there are plenty more integrations to explore, but here is just a sampling of the options.
- Google Analytics
ActiveCampaign Plans & Pricing
Below is a run-down of the four account types available on ActiveCampaign. A quick note about pricing: the costs here reflect businesses that have up to 500 contacts. This means that the rates increase the larger the lists are.
#1 Lite: All the Marketing Basics
Along with email and chat support, Lite users can take advantage of AC’s free design templates and email automation. They’ll be able to send event-triggered messages as well as follow-up with opt-in/opt-out forms. The integrations are fewer, but teams still get social media tools and unlimited sending.
Functionality: Cloud, Mobile, Web
Number of Users: 3
Number of Social Accounts: 1
Price: starts at $9/mo
- Free templates
- In-depth reporting
- Live chat & email support
- Social media integrations
- Unlimited sending
- Limited subscription tools (no SMS)
- No rebranding (must keep AC logo on forms)
#2 Plus: Great for Small Business Collaboration
This plan comes with more room to play with lead scoring and integrations. Users can also access more integrations and markets to buyers via SMS. They’ll also be able to follow-up with Facebook ads and target audiences based on website visits, click and open rates, personal interests, industry, and more.
Functionality: Cloud, Mobile, Web
Number of Users: 25
Number of Social Accounts: 2
Price: starts at $49/mo
- Custom user permissions
- Facebook custom audience integration
- Rebranding (AC logo removal)
- SMS subscriptions
- Strategy & onboarding consultation
- Basic free email designs only
- No split automations
#3 Professional: A Best-Seller That Offers Machine Learning
The split automations on the Professional plan make it easier to personalize customer experiences. Moreover, users can take advantage of AC’s machine learning to predict which new campaigns will be most successful. This saves time and money and gets the right content in front of the ideal buyer. Clients also get three monthly training sessions from an AC expert.
Functionality: Cloud, Mobile, Web
Number of Users: 50
Number of Social Accounts: 3
Price: starts at $129/mo
- Event tracking
- Full importing from third-party integrations
- Predictive sending
- Site messages
- Three one-on-one training sessions per month
- Limited access to design library
- No custom domains
#4 Enterprise: Unparalleled Customer Support & Customization
This plan, while it can get pricey, comes with everything that the software has to offer. That includes premium support, training, and account representation from an expert. Clients can also completely rebrand their marketing materials and use a full library of templates, integrations, and custom domains.
Functionality: Cloud, Mobile, Web
Number of Users: Unlimited
Number of Social Accounts: 3
Price: Starts at $229/mo
- Custom marketing strategy with premium support
- Free social data
- Full rebranding
- Unlimited users
- Unrestricted email testing
- Some email designs cost extra
Pricing & Key Features Comparison Table
The great thing about this software is that it appeals to smaller companies and start-ups as well as more established enterprises. The four plans vary in their access to integrations and customization, but the base prices are quite reasonable. This chat reflects the 2020 pricing model.
|# of Users||$3||$25.00||$50.00||Unlimited|
|Support||Email, Live Chat||Email, Live Chat||Email, Live Chat||Email, Live Chat, Phone, Account Rep|
Terms & Conditions
The terms and conditions state that users grant full permission to the company to reuse, distribute, or display any marketing content they share on the platform. Like other companies, ActiveCampaign shares personal data with third-parties. This information includes email address, location, and industry, among other things. The software does not tolerate impersonation and harassment and may close any violating accounts. AC takes no responsibility for the actions of its third-party partners. Its services and tools are available on an “as-is” basis without warranty.
ActiveCampaign collects usage information such as log-ins, transactional details, device location, and data stored in cookies. The software asks for consent before syncing with Google Analytics and related data. Collected information is used to send technical notices, respond to questions and comments, monitor trends, and detect security incidents or bugs. The company only shares these details following legal processes or with vendors to provide improved service. Questions about these policies may be directed to the team via email or to North Dearborn Street, 5th Floor, Chicago, IL 60602.
Users can cancel their account at any time. Teams must have their designated administrator send the cancellation notice. The changes will take place at the end of the current subscription cycle. A refund, partial or full, will not be distributed. Individuals may try a basic version of the software for free without entering their credit card information. This should inform their purchasing decision.
ActiveCampaign is one of the few companies that offer multiple channels for communication. Below is a review of each method.
The brand has a toll-free sales hotline at 1-800-357-0402. Moreover, current clients may have access to phone service if they purchase the Enterprise package. Those on the lower-tiered plans will have to choose a different means of communication, such as email or live chat.
Individuals can go to the “Contact Us” page on the website to browse through the different support channels. One of them is Live Chat. Upon clicking this link, a pop-up chat box appears in the bottom-right corner. It includes fields to enter a name, email address, and message. Response times are quick and typically appear within minutes.
Another option on the “Contact Us” page is the Help Center. This handy section of the site has a search bar at the top so individuals can find answers to their specific queries. There are also dozens of articles related to automation, tracking, CRM, reporting, and more. The Live Chat button is also present in the bottom-right corner.
Teams can scroll to the bottom of the page to find additional resources such as one-on-one training, videos and guides, community forums, and additional contact info.
The majority of customer reviews report that AC is a great software that grows with new clients. It has four out of five stars on Trustpilot, with most complaints focusing on technical glitches and spotty support.
That said, the wealth of automations on here is worth checking out. Many users are satisfied with the resend feature and the split testing and emails. People also sing praises to the list clean-up actions and deal pipelines, which are organized, clear, and efficient.
Just who would benefit most from this software? While the platform may suit a multitude of industries and sizes, it was made with a specific client in mind. Here’s how different demographics will fare on ActiveCampaign.
This is the type of customer that founder Jason VandeBoom really had in mind when he first started the company 17 years ago. Today the offerings are a bit different, but the primary users are smaller companies that have between 500 and a few thousand contacts.
A medium-sized business may fare well on the AC platform, providing that they aren’t too large. Consider that ActiveCampaign itself has just over 500 employees. Also, the software’s most popular package allows for 50 users.
A bigger company may want to look into alternative services. ActiveCampaign is a great resource and tool for many businesses, but those with an email list larger than 100,000 may struggle to find adequate support.
The AC toolkit may really be a hit or miss for contractors or start-ups. Depending on their budget and particular needs, they may find the prices to be too high for what’s offered on the lower tiers.
ActiveCampaign Pros & Cons
Overall, ActiveCampaign is a win for small to mid-sized businesses. It’s a business-based platform that will grow with clients and support them virtually every step of the way.
Some of the software’s strengths lie in the customization and integration, which allows users to pull content from RSS feeds and URLs. The audience segmentation and lead scoring is spot-on and helps companies get the right emails in front of their customers. The platform is also very secure and offers ample support.
On the downside, the software takes some getting used to and can get quite pricey for larger enterprises.
- Dynamic content with integrated RSS feeds
- Email segmentation and split testing
- Excellent security measures
- The wealth of automations
- Various lead scoring tools
- Gets expensive at higher levels
- The dashboard takes some getting used to
Top 6 Best ActiveCampaign Alternatives
For those who are wondering which services rival ActiveCampaign, check out a quick review of these alternatives.
This brand offers similar automation features and flexibility as AC, including auto-responses and triggers. The pricing comes out to be around the same, too. That said, it looks like GetResponse offers more options on the lower levels, such as Facebook ads, unlimited lead funnels, and free reign of templates.
2. Drip: Integrations & CRM at a Higher Cost
Drip is now merged with LeadPages, but its offerings remain the same. This includes powerful email marketing tools, dozens of integrations, and of course, drip campaigns. That said, the pricing is much higher and can’t beat ActiveCampaign.
Lots of people will be drawn to MailerLite’s no-cost version, but the lowest paid plan is also affordable at only $10 per month. It includes Facebook Ads integration among dozens of others as well as split testing and RSS campaigns.
Constant Contact offers the same drag-and-drop functionality and event-triggered emails as ActiveCampaign. It costs about twice as much, though it achieves a high level of professionalism. It checks just about every box that AC’s Lite plan covers while adding on more advanced tools.
As the name implies, this platform is dedicated to professional customer relations management and offers a sweet trial version. The Starter plan is the same price as ActiveCampaign and includes templates, editors, builders, automation, and social monitoring.
Aweber is one of the original platforms to show up in this space. As such, it offers tons of integrated features, pre-built campaigns, hundreds of templates, and ample reporting tools. Pricing starts at $19 per month, nearly double what AC asks for.
ActiveCampaign & Alternatives Comparison
Below is a side-by-side look at ActiveCampaign and its competitors. Keep in mind that the features and prices here reflect the basic paid plans, not the trial versions.
|Get Response||Drip Service||Mailer|
|Agile CRM Service||Aweber Service|
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Uses ActiveCampaign?
Non-profits, start-ups, and small-to-mid-sized businesses all take advantage of what this software has to offer. The client base spans all kinds of industries and job fields, as well as countries. The majority of these customers focus on building trusting relationships with their buyers. Whether they offer skincare, fresh produce, or consulting services, they benefit from AC’s email templates, automations, and reporting tools.
How Does Businesses Use ActiveCampaign?
Companies use this software to save time and retain more loyal customers. To do that, they utilize the different technologies and features available on the platform.
- Marketing automation allows them to auto-send emails when a website visitor clicks something
- Email marketing tools make it easy to drag-and-drop content that engages recipients
- Sales CRM helps teams design funnels and score leads for more successful pitches
How Do I Create an ActiveCampaign Campaign?
It takes just a few steps to build an email campaign, fill it with dynamic content, and send it off to recipients.
- Create a list of opted-in subscribers and add contacts if necessary
- Select “Create campaign” and give it a name
- Choose a pre-designed template or build one from scratch
- Use the media library to add images, videos, and buttons
- Update the subject line
- Preview the email campaign and select which metrics to track
Is ActiveCampaign Free?
No, the software is not available for free, at least not for the long-term. The good news is that individuals can do a trial without having to submit any payment information. This guarantees that they won’t be charged once the trial is over. While perusing this limited free version, they can explore subscription forms, audience segmentation, and a range of automation.
How Do I Send an Email to ActiveCampaign?
How Do I Send an Email to One Person?
- To send a one-to-one email to someone through the ActiveCampaign dashboard, start by going to the “Contacts” tab on the left-hand side.
- From there, find the desired individual and click the “Email” button next to their name.
- This opens the message composer, where users can type their correspondence. From there, simply click “Send” to get it on its way.
How Do I Send One Email to Multiple Recipients?
If team members have a specific group of contacts that they wish to send an email to, they can do this in the same way they create a typical campaign.
- Find the list of contacts that will receive the email. Or, create the list by adding recipients to it.
- Create the email and use the builder tool to add media and a unique subject line.
- Preview the content and click “Send.”
Ample Tools at the Right Price
While other CRM and email marketing platforms may offer more options and customization, ActiveCampaign is highly affordable and grows with its clientele. Even on the lower-tiered plans, clients can access a range of automated features, templates, and segmentation tools. It does take some getting used to the dashboard, but the support staff is quite helpful and communicative. Whether teams have ample experience in CRM and marketing automation or not, they will be well taken care of with AC’s software. If you or your team has reviewed ActiveCampaign’s tools, be sure to leave a comment about your experience.