Professionally Reviewed by Kyla Liu - Marketing and Sales Funnels Expert
Written by Ria du Plessis - Digital Marketing Expert
What is ActiveCampaign?
ActiveCampaign is an omnichannel marketing platform that focuses on helping businesses provide better customer experiences for their audience. This powerful software helps segment your contacts into specific categories and then sends them highly targeted automated emails.
ActiveCampaign in a NutShell
- ActiveCampaign does not offer a free plan
- There is a free trial though
- It's a good fit for the Advertising, Media and Ecommerce Industry
- The software provides Segmentation and Geo
- Time-zone-based Delivery
ActiveCampaign Pros & Cons
Built-in CRM: ActiveCampaign’s CRM can improve your relationships with your customers by gaining knowledge about them. At the same time, it can segment your contacts into targeted categories that enable the software to send your audience relevant content that will keep them engaged.
Advanced automation and segmentation: ActiveCampaign tries to do more than segment your audience into different categories. They want to help you as a business give each customer a personal experience when they open an email from you. I could not find software that offers more advanced automation than this one.
Thorough Reporting: ActiveCampaign offers a considerable amount of reporting that can be quite overwhelming. Comprehensive reporting is good since you can analyze how your campaigns perform and optimize them next time for better results.
A/B Split testing: I enjoy using A/B split testing because it is a great way to see how campaigns perform compared to one another. With this feature, you can create two campaigns and send them to different contacts in a segment and then push the campaign that performs the best.
For experienced users: If you are a beginner, this software will be overwhelming since it has so many advanced features. I recommend you purchase this software once you are familiar with how email marketing works because you will benefit a lot more once you have that understanding.
Premium pricing: A software with so many advanced features does not come cheap, which is understandable. Even though these prices are on the higher end, the features you are getting are well worth the price that you are paying.
Who is ActiveCampaign Good for?
If you are looking for a powerful email marketing tool- ActiveCampaign is software that offers incredibly advanced features. I found that no other software can compete with their automation tools. They have all the necessary features you need and more to run a successful email marketing campaign.
If you are a large business- ActiveCampaign is better suited for larger business that grows at an exceptional rate. These businesses will need to have software that can keep up with the demand as they grow, and ActiveCampaign will provide those services.
If you have a big budget- I have already mentioned how ActiveCampaign charges a premium price, but I think it's important that you realize these prices can add up quickly. Their most popular plan starts at $159 with 500 contacts. If you are not careful, then this software can exhaust your marketing budget.
ActiveCampaign is not recommended for:
If you are looking for simple software- ActiveCampaign is everything but basic, and if you are a beginner, then I don't recommend this software. ActiveCampaign’s features are intense because they offer so much within every element that it can be hard to navigate when creating a simple email campaign. You will be wasting your money if you purchase ActiveCampaign and not use all of the features.
If you are an up-and-coming business- ActiveCampaign will strain your budget if you haven’t set aside a large quantity of money. If you are still navigating your way around email marketing as a business, then I suggest first using a more affordable platform to learn the basics of email marketing software before switching over to ActiveCampaign.
ActiveCampaign Video Review
Key Features and Workflows
ActiveCampaign Deliverability (Rated: 3/5)
ActiveCampaign boasts one of the highest deliverability rates, however, I felt that it deserved a 3.
Active Campaign’s deliverability rate is considered one of the highest in the industry, and the system offers you time-zone scheduling, as well as geographic segmentation, in order to improve your open rate.
ActiveCampaign Pricing (Rated: 4/5)
ActiveCampaign is priced as a premium system, but at the end of the day, you are paying for a system with the capabilities and tools to drive successful email campaigns. They earned a score of 4.
If you have 1,000 contacts, then ActiveCampaign’s prices can range anywhere from $29-$279 per month. You can get a discount if you purchase their software on an annual basis. Multiple features get added with each higher-up plan. Their professional plan includes features like conversion reporting, split automation, predictive sending, and In-App messaging.
Price: starting at $9/month (500 contacts)
|Price: starting at $49/month (500 contacts)||Price: starting at $129/month (500 contacts)||Price: starting at $229/month (500 contacts)|
You can easily cancel your ActiveCampaign subscription within the software by locating the "cancel" button under "Billing & Upgrade." Unfortunately, ActiveCampaign does not offer refunds, and they can terminate their services without notice.
Creating Email Campaigns and Managing
One of the things that I found remarkable about ActiveCampaign is how easy and straightforward it was to create email marketing campaigns. The platform’s dedicated section for creating email marketing campaigns is easy to use and extremely well-organized, making it ideal for both beginners and experts to start building.
- Emails Sent/Opened and Links Clicked – ActiveCampaign offers excellent reporting tools to track your individual email and campaigns’ success rates, including tracking open rates based on time, segments, and more. Additionally, you can create goals to track, as well as view how each is performing.
- Deliverability Rate and Delivery by Time Zone – ActiveCampaign’s deliverability rate is one of the highest among all the available email marketing software in the industry. To ensure even more opens, you can also schedule your emails to be delivered by time zone, ensuring users view your content at the right moment.
- Creating and Importing Email Lists – ActiveCampaign’s handy import feature allows you to either add all your existing email lists to your contacts by importing a CSV file or copying and pasting the list manually. You can also add integrations to input new leads as they are created into your lists.
- Split Tests and A/B Tests – One area where ActiveCampaign sets itself apart from the pack is with its A/B testing capabilities. You can run basic tests by changing subject lines and leaving the content the same or create two entirely different emails. The best part is that you can select winners based on different criteria, and you can determine them both after they’ve run or during the test itself.
- Personalization – I found it quite easy to create personalized content thanks to ActiveCampaign’s logic-based conditions. You can set triggers to change the content based on previous actions taken, interests, links clicked, and other interactions. In my tests, these automated emails still produced a surprisingly high open and response rate.
As I mentioned before, it is very easy to create email campaigns with ActiveCampaign. You will start by going to the Campaigns tab in your dashboard and choosing the option to create a new campaign.
After you chose your campaign type, you have many templates to choose from before designing your campaign. I will talk about the design of the templates and campaigns a bit later on in the review.
Reporting and Analysis (Rated: 5/5)
ActiveCampaign clearly deserves a 5 for their analytics, as they boast an easy-to-understand system with all the metrics you need to understand your campaign’s performance.
Overall, I found that ActiveCampaign provides one of the most complete reporting tools available, even including a strong visualization tool to make reports easier to understand. From basic data such as opens and click-throughs to more advanced analytics including click-maps and goal-based metrics, you can create reports that help you build a better campaign.
- Engagement Reports (Email Open Rate and CR Tracking) – ActiveCampaign’s reporting system features a detailed look into the activities of your subscribers, allowing you to track how often your emails are opened and links are clicked. You can set the period to track (even down to hourly open rates), measure both unique reads and total reads, and measure those who didn’t open your emails.
- Heat Maps – Though it doesn’t offer visual heat maps, you can still use ActiveCampaign’s link tracking to see which links are being followed and clicked most frequently, how often they’re being clicked, and how is doing it. This data can be used to improve your segmentation and provide smarter if/then triggers for your personalization.
- Campaign Comparison Report – ActiveCampaign’s performance reporting tool, which was released a year ago, gives you full visibility into each of your campaigns’ metrics. The feature lets you view your previous and current campaigns side-by-side to compare a variety of factors, including tags, automations, conversions, and more. You can also set periods to examine and export your reports to CSV files.
- Social Media Tracking – Another feature I found helpful is ActiveCampaign’s social media tracking. This feature allows subscribers to share your content with their own followers through social media and allow you to track how frequently your content is being shared and engaged with.
- ROI Analysis – ActiveCampaign’s Campaigns Performance report lets you view a variety of data, including the revenue generated, especially if you’re connecting with an Ecommerce platform. You can also measure attribution, understanding exactly which parts of your campaign are producing conversions, and thus revenues.
When I wanted to create a report to see how well my campaigns performed, I found it very easy. All I had to do was to go to the Reports tab on the lefthand menu.
When you open the tab, you will find all these amazing reporting features that ActiveCampaign offers. You have the option to view your campaign reports, automation reports, goal reports, and even create custom reports!
ActiveCampaign Integrations (Rated: 5/5)
I score ActiveCampaign a 5 because of the extensive integrations which are well equipped to assist you in linking your marketing efforts.
Adding external tools and integrations can help expand your marketing efforts and enhance your email campaigns, which is why I was pleased to see the wide range of integrations offered by ActiveCampaign. The company offers nearly 300 integrations and apps that let you connect your email campaigns to your broader marketing efforts.
- Google Analytics – integrating Google Analytics with ActiveCampaign’s software allows you to track important data such as where your subscribers go when they click on your links and grants insights on valuable customer activity to help you adjust your campaigns accordingly.
- API Integrations – ActiveCampaign’s API integrations allow you to integrate all the tools you need in order to make your campaigns a success. Structured around JSON, REST, and HTTP, you can easily add what you need to your campaigns – from syncing contact information to customizing your campaigns.
- Ecommerce Tools – ActiveCampaign offers integration with some of the most popular Ecommerce tools available in the industry, including Magento, PayPal, and Shopify. This makes it easy to connect your online store with your ActiveCampaign account and incorporate customer activity into your email campaigns.
- CRM Integrations – Managing your growing business has been made easier with the various CRM integrations ActiveCampaign has to offer. Their extensive list of CRM integrations includes major names like Asana, Salesforce, Base, SugarCRM, and Zoho CRM.
- Social Media Integrations – In addition to connections like Facebook, you can integrate a variety of social media platforms including YouTube, Twitter, and includes Zapier, which offers a variety of additional apps that require no coding skills to connect. These allow your brand to reach and target a wider audience and allow your subscribers to share your campaigns on their respective accounts.
- Apps – In total, ActiveCampaign features over 270 apps that include everything from database tools, Ecommerce connectors, event management, and CMS tools. More importantly, you can integrate any of these with no coding experience at all.
- Plugins – If you already use tools like WordPress or Ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Magento, you can use ActiveCampaign’s plug-in functionalities to insert forms and other links into your pages to streamline your email workflows.
ActiveCampaign Automation (Rated: 5/5)
ActiveCampaign’s automation features are some of the best, with customizable action events made easy by ActiveCampaign’s flowchart-based automation tool, and so I give ActiveCampaign a score of 5.
If you’re looking for advanced automation functionality, ActiveCampaign is one of the top tools on the market. At its core, the system is based on a series of if/then logic triggers that you can customize with a variety of specific actions and events. These triggers are based on tags, and more specifically behavioral tags (which are automated).
Even so, creating new automated workflows is easy thanks to ActiveCampaign’s flowchart-based automation tool. All you have to do is to go to the “Automations” tab and choose the option to create a new automation.
You can now design specific triggers and set conditions for your automation. Depending on your goal, there are pre-made automation workflows available from which you can choose to reach your specific campaign goal.
ActiveCampaign’s automation setup wizard is a convenient tool to help you create automated campaigns and will guide you on the steps you need to take to create your workflow. You can still set your own conditions so that your automation better suits your goals.
After you choose your goal, it is time to set up the trigger/action for your automation. You can follow the instructions; upload or choose a contact list, choose when to run the trigger, and more.
The great thing about ActiveCampaign is the fact that you will get an overview of your entire automation process before you go live with it. After you made sure that you are happy with your entire automation process, you can go to the option where you can customize the email that will be sent to your contacts when triggered in the automation process.
You can edit it and insert a personalized template to fit your brand. All you have to do is to click on the email section of your automation flow example.
ActiveCampaign offers a lot of templates to choose from. You can choose one of the basic templates or one of the more advanced ActiveCampaign templates to edit.
If you are happy with your email design, you can choose to insert a “wait” time in your automation flow. This will be the time between the trigger and when the email will be sent.
You can choose the amount of time you want between emails. To do this, you can simply click on the wait trigger and adjust it.
After you created your wait condition, you can add an if/else condition to your automation workflow. This means you can set who should receive your email based on certain actions.
You can create your own conditions based on actions.
Design and Ease of Use (Rated: 3/5)
ActiveCampaign is user friendly, with tools to allow you to build your campaigns easily. The templates on offer are limited, however, and forms cannot be embedded into your newsletters. Overall, I give ActiveCampaign a score of 3.
You know a software solution is a good one when its design and user interface is comprehensive enough to have all the features you need but still easy to understand and use that even a complete beginner can easily navigate it. ActiveCampaign’s easy-to-use dashboard and helpful campaign maker tools are a great step to help create your first campaigns with no problems.
- Drag and Drop Interface – ActiveCampaign uses a drag and drop interface to build campaigns and workflows, making it easy to turn your visions into reality. You can create custom workflows, emails, and forms to help drive higher engagement and conversions.
- Landing Page Creator – ActiveCampaign doesn’t include a native landing page creator, but it has integrations for a variety of tools to build them including LeadPages, ClickFunnels, and OptimizePress.
- Email Templates – Though it’s slightly more limited than some competitors, ActiveCampaign does provide you with 30 pre-made templates in several categories that can help you quickly launch a new campaign with minimal effort. You also have the option to customize them or create your own.
ActiveCampaign’s drag and drop interface is very easy to use. When creating your first campaign you get the option to design your own email, just as when creating automation.
Before you design your campaign with the drag and drop designer, you should choose your campaign type. After you chose to create your first campaign, a list of options will appear on your screen. I felt it was easier to go with the standard campaign option, in the beginning, just to get to know the interface and design options.
When you choose the standard campaign option, you will have to choose the contact list you want to use with the campaign. This will be the list of people that will receive your email when you send it out.
After you have chosen your contact list, you will get to the fun stuff. You will get to use the drag and drop design options! You will have to choose a template to start with, but you have the option to change it as you wish.
After you chose your template, you will be able to edit it with the drag and drop editor. You can add your own photos, text, and company logo.
Now the question is, how do you get people to sign up to your email list so that you can send your newly designed campaigns to them? Well, for that, you will need to create a sign-up form that can integrate with your website.It is very easy to design and active a form with ActiveCampgain. You can start by going to the “Website” option on the menu. You will then be able to choose the form option.
You can choose the type of form you want to create and where the contacts should be saved. After this, you will be taken to the form design page.
You will use the ActiveCampaign drag and drop design interface to create your form. You can design your form to fit your brand.
When you choose the standard campaign option, you will have to choose the contact list you want to use with the campaign. This will be the list of people that will receive your email when you send it out.
- Sign-up Forms within Newsletter Tool – ActiveCampaign offers a variety of forms you can include on your webpages and landing pages, but it doesn’t feature an option to embed them in your newsletters. The company’s forms operate strictly on an “opt-in” basis, and you can use them as part of your automation cycle, and even to start new email drips.
ActiveCampaign Customer Service (Rated: 3/5)
ActiveCampaign’s support is limited to phone calls and forms, which may mean that you won’t get assistance as soon as you might like, which earned them a score of 3.
ActiveCampaign provides its clients with various channels to contact them. They have a dedicated team for sales and another for customer support, ensuring that whatever questions you may have are answered. Aside from this, they also have an extensive database of their service’s information and an inclusive community that can help resolve issues.
GetResponse: If you are looking for software that comes close to ActiveCampaign’s powerful automation, GetResponse is a good competitor. GetResponse is an all-in-one marketing platform that allows you to create and automate email campaigns and includes a feature that will enable you to create Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads from within your account.
Omnisend: This tool is an excellent choice for eCommerce businesses and also a cheaper alternative to ActiveCampaign. You can use their free plan with 500 contacts and up to 15,000 emails per month.
Sendinblue: What I like most about Sendinblue is their SMS marketing tool which allows you to send automated SMSes to your subscribers. Their pricing strategy is different compared to other email marketing software. They offer you an unlimited number of contacts, and you get charged for the number of emails you choose to send per month.