MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign

MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign Who’s the Winner in 2021?

Although email marketing is an old marketing strategy, it’s evergreen. People still read marketing emails in 2021. To persuade them to take action, being a skilled copywriter is not enough. You need a reliable email marketing platform that can optimize and automate your emails. Two of the best options currently available are MailChimp and ActiveCampaign. Find out which tool is the best for you!

Written by Ria du Plessis - Digital Marketing Expert

Updated 9/1/2021

Mailchimp logo
MailChimp Review

ActiveCampaign logo
ActiveCampaign Review





This well-rounded tool provides a wide array of features and training resources that streamline your experience.

This platform provides useful email design features and efficient automation.


MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign - Quick Comparison





  • Very intuitive dashboard
  • Numerous integrations
  • Complex comparative metrics 
  • Useful in-app tips and reliable customer support 
  • Flexible segmentation
  • Lead scoring
  • Smart and efficient workflows 
  • Sticky help button 


  • The lists can’t be used simultaneously
  • The automation editor could be more flexible
  • The basic plan provides limited support 
  • Harder to get started on this platform if you’re a beginner 
  • The templates are limited
  • The number of users is limited with the basic plan 

Key Features

  • Segmentation tool
  • Mobile signup forms and custom forms
  • Reporting tools
  • Spam and design testing
  • Automated workflows
  • CRM
  • Dynamic personalization
  • Deliverability tests  


  • Free plan
  • $9.99 - Essential plan
  • $14.99 - Standard plan
  • $299 - Premium plan 
  • No free plan
  • $9 - Lite plan
  • $49 - Plus plan
  • $129 Professional plan
  • $229 - Enterprise plan 


  • Tutorials and guides
  • Live chat
  • Email
  • Phone support for the premium plan
  • Training resources
  • Live chat 
  • Email

Ease of Use

  • Intuitive drag-and-drop editor
  • In-app tips
  • Personalized assistance
  • Some of the features are lumped together and harder to access 
  • Comprehensive features guidance
  • Not beginner-friendly
  • A multitude of different options you need to learn how to navigate through 
  • Harder to configure the workflows 

Best fit for

Beginners, bloggers, less experienced marketers 

Experienced and advanced marketers 

Automation Tools

One of the main reasons why email marketing software was developed is automation. These tools allow you to automate your emails instead of sending them out manually.

MailChimp Automations 

MailChimp offers a generous package for automation. You can easily implement them by choosing multiple triggers. However, Mailchimp’s automation builder is not very flexible. You will have to adapt your strategy to the existing pre-defined flows. 

ActiveCampaign Automations 

ActiveCampaign is probably one of the best email campaign management tools on the market in terms of automation. This software provides a wide variety of automated options you can choose from and a flexible automation-building process. The drag-and-drop automation builder allows you to define your flows as you combine different triggers. Moreover, since it has an integrated CRM, ActiveCampaign can also help you automate sales actions. 

The verdict 

Thanks to its flexibility, ActiveCampaign is the winner because the well-targeted workflows allow you to engage with customers easier. 

Design Options 

There are plenty of things you can do with a robust email marketing platform. One of the first aspects you will have to test is its design functionality. Discover Mailchimp vs ActiveCampaign’s design options.

MailChimp Design Options 

With MailChimp, you get approximately 100 email themes for different email types; newsletters, eCommerce, notifications, etc. This is more than enough to get you started, especially if you’ve got little time on your hands.  The vast majority of these templates are mobile responsive and quite attractive. You also get the chance to customize the layouts with the colors or images you want.  

ActiveCampaign Design Options 

ActiveCampaign also boasts a series of beautiful email templates. Yet, their offer is more limited, and you only get up to 30 templates. However, most of them are quite appealing and easy to use, thanks to the flexible content blocks system. Moreover, you can also easily import and use other templates in your dashboard. 

The verdict

Given its wider choice of options, we opt for MailChimp this time.

List Segmentation and Management 

Both platforms allow you to segment your subscriber lists. This will allow you to send well-targeted emails. Find out more. 

MailChimp List Management 

MailChimp provides the possibility to create different lists. However, the main limitation here is that the lists are mutually exclusive. You won’t be able to send a campaign to users that appear on different lists. As an alternative, you can divide your contacts list into groups or segments, or use a tag system. Nonetheless, these processes take longer and are less straightforward than building a list. 

ActiveCampaign List Management 

This platform is quite flexible when it comes to list-building and it also offers a nice lead scoring tool. With ActiveCampaign, you can easily create different lists to segment your contacts. However, for extra precision and targeting, the tool also asks you to describe the list, name it and add an URL. This strict categorization can be useful for teams where different members manage email marketing campaigns. 

The verdict

The winner in this category is undoubtedly ActiveCampaign thanks to its flexibility.

Signup Forms

Signup forms allow you to capture leads easier. You can implement these forms on your website directly from the platform and customize them according to your needs. 

MailChimp Forms

MailChimp allows you to use a series of embedded forms. The forms can be customized with the form builder tool, which is quite user-friendly even for absolute beginners. Some of the limitations in terms of form building include the fact that not all the available templates are mobile responsive. Moreover, there are different tools you need to use to add a pop-up and an embedded form. 

ActiveCampaign Forms 

ActiveCampaign’s forms are mobile responsive. You get a simple, visual form editor to create and link them to your website or social platforms. Some of the options you get to create the forms include floating bar, floating box, pop-up forms, or inline. It’s easy to add or eliminate fields to customize these forms. Moreover, you can also correlate the forms with your existing lists or tags. 

The verdict

ActiveCampaign gets ahead this time due to its responsive templates and flexible builder. 

You may also like the following comparison: Getresponse vs ActiveCampaign

Testing Capabilities 

When you create an email marketing campaign, t’s very useful to try and test different email formats instead of relying on a single type of content. Let’s see how MailChimp and ActiveCampaign can help you out. 

MailChimp Testing 

You can easily check and see how your campaigns look with this platform. MailChimp helps you test your email’s design by accessing the mobile or desktop preview option. Moreover, the same preview option can also apply to different email inboxes. You can also check if any links are missing from your emails. However, a spam test tool is not available and for the A//B testing function, you need a paid plan. 

ActiveCampaign Testing 

ActiveCampaign provides a spam check option. There is also a handy send test option you can use to send a test email to a given email address to make sure your message won’t end up in the spam folder. However, on this platform, you get limited preview options. If you want to access the client preview feature, you will be charged extra. 

The verdict

Both tools have their advantages and disadvantages, so we would say they’re even when it comes to their testing features. 

Pricing Comparison 

The price you pay for an email marketing platform is an important criterion to consider. While both ActiveCampaign and MailChimp have similar prices, there are some differences between their plans.

MailChimp pricing plans

MailChimp provides a variety of pricing options, and the great thing is that they also allow you to use the platform for free. The free tier only includes the basic features, which might be enough for a start-up or an independent content creator. However, by paying only $10 per month, you’ll be able to use the essential plan, which grants you access to an array of options and support.

ActiveCampaign pricing plans

ActiveCampaign provides different subscription options. Their basic plan called ‘Lite’ only costs $9 per month if you pay for a full year. The more contacts you have on your list, the more you will have to pay for the rest of the plans. With the next plan, the Plus Package, there is a big jump as this one costs $49. The most expensive subscription, Enterprise, costs  $229/month. There is no free tier with ActiveCampaign, but you can access a test drive by contacting the team. The test period lasts for 14 days, enough time to realize if this tool is the right one for you.

The verdict 

Due to its free plan and the lower price difference among the succeeding plans, MailChimp seems to be the winner. 

MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign - Ease of Use

By ease of use, we refer to how intuitive these email platforms are. Here are our conclusions about MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign.  

MailChimp ease of use

MailChimp is one of the oldest email marketing platforms on the market. The platform was developed in 2011, and from the very beginning, this tool aimed to provide its users a fast and intuitive solution, a goal it managed to meet. Up to the present date, MailChimp remains one of the most intuitive email marketing software options. 

The MailChimp interface is straightforward. You will need very little time to figure out how to access its functions. The platform provides easy email creation through its drag-and-drop email builder. There are also plenty of resources you can access to learn how to use the tool. One of the things some users complain about is the fact that there are too many functions clumped in the Campaign section.

ActiveCampaign ease of use 

ActiveCampaign is a bit different from other tools in terms of functionality.  Let’s start with the good part, which is the fact that this is an advanced email marketing tool. ActiveCampaign boasts some outstanding automation and reporting features, as well as several templates you can choose from when you start creating campaigns. Due to its complexity, as you may expect, this tool is more difficult to use.

If you are a beginner, it might be best if you took some time to watch video tutorials on how to use ActiveCampaign or carefully read the guides and instructions you can find on the platform. It will take a bit before you get used to managing this dashboard. However, once you do it, you can schedule a campaign or get a report within minutes.

The verdict 

MailChimp is more user-friendly, especially for beginners.


Integrations are extremely important these days. With so much going on in the world, we use lots of marketing tools that need to connect to facilitate data sharing and ease our work. 

MailChimp Integrations

MailChimp’s integration offer is quite generous. This email marketing software allows you to integrate 220 different tools and applications. Most of these integrations are useful for companies in the eCommerce field. 

Some of the most popular integrations you can benefit from if you choose MailChimp includes PayPal, Chargify, ShopSync, WooCommerce, Canva, GoogleAnalytics, Facebook. This platform’s API does a great job of enabling you to integrate your existing software.

ActiveCampaign Integrations

This platform currently provides more than 250 integrations. It can successfully connect to some of the most common eCommerce platforms and a wide variety of popular marketing tools. Some of the integrations include WordPress, Shopify, Google Analytics, WooCommerce, Pipedrive, Salesforce, Facebook, Typeform. 

ActiveCampaign features an API that easily facilitates integrations with any other software. Moreover, you get comprehensive resources and support if you don’t know how to leverage this feature. There is even a developers community you can contact for help.

The verdict 

ActiveCampaign outperforms MailChimp when it comes to the number of integrations it provides.


Good reporting capabilities are a must-have for marketers. Without accurate and detailed reports, it’s hard to understand how well your email campaigns are working. 

MailChimp Reporting

MailChimp provides different sorts of useful reports. To be able to access them, you need to enable this feature from your account. Mailchimp can track clicks, open rates, purchases, and social statistics. It’s also pretty easy to access a report in MailChimp. To do this, you need to click on the Campaigns icon, then select the Reports option.

ActiveCampaign Reporting

ActiveCampaign also offers a wide range of different reports. They are easy to access from the Reports tab located on the dashboard’s left-side menu. The reports you can get from this platform include data on social performance, clicked links, geolocation, automation, eCommerce statistics, open rates, clicks, number of unsubscribes. Moreover, with this platform, you also get deal reports that summarize your CRM activity.

The verdict 

In terms of reports, it’s fair to say the two platforms are pretty similar. Yet, because ActiveCampaign also provides deal reports, it deserves to be the winner. 

You may also like the following comparison: ConvertKit vs Mailchimp

Customer Support 

Reliable customer service is always a great plus if you decide to purchase an email marketing tool. 

MailChimp Customer Support 

MailChimp is a bit tricky when it comes to customer support. Rest assured that the platform does offer assistance. However, the type of support you can benefit from depends on the plan you’ve purchased. With the free plan, you get email support

To access the live chat support (available only from Monday to Friday), you need a paid plan. Also, when you’ve got a question, you have to browse through the knowledge base before you can get the customer support contact details.

ActiveCampaign Customer Support 

ActiveCampaign is more accessible than MailChimp when it comes to customer support. You can access their useful Help button located in the bottom left corner at any time. Their live chat service is also available on weekends. You can contact the team via email, and there is a comprehensive knowledge base as well.

The verdict 

Thanks to its generous and more straightforward customer support options, ActiveCampaign gets ahead of MailChimp in this round.

When to Use MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign

Depending on your email marketing needs, one of these tools might be more suitable than the other. 

When to Use MailChimp

If you’re currently just learning the basics of email marketing, or you’ve recently started a new company, and you’ve got little time to learn the ins and outs of a complex email marketing platform, MailChimp might be the best choice for you. This platform features a highly intuitive dashboard, straightforward functions, lots of templates, and training resources. 

When to Use ActiveCampaign

If you are an experienced marketing professional that needs a complex email marketing tool, ActiveCampign might be more suitable for you. This complex software provides you with a multitude of different features. You will love its flexibility and the numerous automation and integrations. ActiveCampaign easily supports large contacts lists. 

MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign Pros and Cons

Both these platforms have their strong and weak points. To learn more about their different capabilities, you should read the full review you can find on this page. Here’s a quick overview. 

ActiveCampaign Pros and Cons 

Active Campaign features a complex suite of tools. There are numerous automated workflows you can rely on to personalize your customers' journey and convert them faster. The analytic tools are also reliable, and the spam test function is a useful addition. Another aspect we truly appreciate in this software is the flexibility you enjoy while segmenting your lists.

Just like any other service, ActiveCampaign has some drawbacks as well. For starters, this tool is harder to use compared to other options. If you want to access some of its pro features, you need to pay for an advanced plan, and the price difference between the basic and the subsequent plans is significant.

MailChimp Pros and Cons 

MailChimp can offer you several advantages that are hard to ignore. First of all, this tool is one of the most user-friendly email marketing platforms you will find.  You don’t need any previous experience to be able to master your email campaigns with MailChimp. The email builder is easy to use, and there are dozens of beautiful templates.  Moreover, there are multiple ways to test your email’s design.

When it comes to its cons, one of the aspects that might slow down your email marketing endeavors is the lack of flexibility in terms of list segmentation. Another drawback is the fact that the customer support department is harder to reach.

Alternatives to MailChimp or ActiveCampaign

  • Sendinblueccan be a good alternative to these two platforms. It provides a diversified package of features that includes sending time optimization, pre-built campaigns, reliable A/B testing, and good segmentation tools.
  • GetResponse  is another good substitute. This email marketing software offers sophisticated reporting features, spam detection, different integrations, complex segmentation features. 
  • Constant Contact is another great choice. This tool can help you with engagement tracking features, auto-responders, powerful list building, and management features, a wide variety of attractive email templates. 

Final Winner: 

Both MailChimp and ActiveCampaign provide a wide range of features that will help you personalize your email campaigns and increase your open rates. Each one of these tools has its pros and cons. However, according to the criteria above, ActiveCampaign seems to outperform MailChimp. Yet, keep in mind that MailChimp is best for less experienced marketers.

Check out our other comparisons

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