MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign: Which is a better email marketing software?

The year 2019, many out there think that the email marketing is superannuated, concurrently there are plenty others — not only do they believe email marketing is still the best way to connect and communicate with the prospects but also they do perceive how to leverage the right email marketing software to scale their business.  

However, if we go by the numbers alone, there are infinite email marketing software that you can sync your business with, leading to a genuine dilemma — which one exactly? So we decided to provide you with the ins and out of the two prominent email marketing software, that currently dominate the industry, MailChimp and ActiveCampaign. On that note, let’s put both of them under scrutiny and finds out which one come out on top.

Wise Guide

If you want to explore other good email marketing software, this article about “Best Email Marketing Software for Small Businesses” could be of help.

What is MailChimp?

MailChimp came into being in 2001, even after staying active for almost two decades, it still stands tall with over 15,000,000+ users worldwide. Making it one of the favored email marketing software. It’s a viable option for companies of all sizes, but an absolute delight for small business thanks to its affordable pricing, ease of use and ample amount of templates.

Although it does come with a few low sides, less flexibility, limited email segmentation features — to name a couple. Which deviate users towards its counterparts. Talking about its counterparts, ActiveCampaign is the one that leads the way, so let’s put it at glance.

What is ActiveCampaign?

As compare to MailChimp, ActiveCampaign does lack behind when we talk about the number of users. Last we figured it was around 100,000+ users worldwide. Other than that,  ActiveCampaign does come out as a strong contender.

Further, when it comes to features and functionalities it has an upper hand, whether we consider its intuitive dashboard, or powerful automated workflows or even its A/B testing, automation sequences, ActiveCampaign aces in multiple sections. But, like many other platforms, ActiveCampaign foils too, as it offers limited customization and absence of landing page builder makes it worse and leaves ActiveCampaign with a huge scope for improvement.

Nevertheless, both platforms have their peaks and valleys. So we decided to run a comparison to provide you with a better analysis. To keep it to the point and not to deviate from the core purpose, we have focused on the pre-eminent attributes. That being said, let’s see how they stack up.

MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign — Ease of Use

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Mailchimp Dashboard

Back in time, most of the email marketing software was intricate. In that desperate time, MailChimp became an instant success and mild navigation, precise interfaces played a major part in that. Though the menu seems a little involved, but other than that everything seems fitting and easy to work with.

ActiveCampaign_Dashboard
ActiveCampaign Dashboard

Where MailChimp holds its ground on easy to use attributes, ActiveCampaign advances in other regions. It has a simple menu that enables users to navigate quickly.

But, if you are a neophyte, then going with MailChimp makes more sense than going with ActiveCampaign. It is subtle to go with ActiveCampaign too but only if you have prior knowledge of how it works. So when it comes to ease of use MailChimp is the winner.

MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign — Marketing Automation

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Mailchimp Automation Example

MailChimp label itself as one of the most powerful marketing automation platforms. However, these words seem hollow once we start comparing it with the A players. Moreover, its automation editor deemed as less flexible, resulting in a bad workflow.

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Activecampaign Automation Example

On the contrary, ActiveCampaign not only offers a premium drag and drop automation builder, but its ability to track users behavior, turn out to be an influential asset, which is clearly missing in case of MailChimp.

That’s not it, you can scrutinize all the automation process from a single view, and if feel like making a change, you’ll have an absolute command to do so. Also, it seamlessly integrates with the inbuilt CRM, which means the sales process can be automated too. Now, we won’t be wrong if we say in terms of Marketing Automation, ActiveCampaign win this bout.

MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign — Email Deliverability

The most crucial part of any email marketing software is — how well they perform in email deliverability. If all of your emails are ending up in the spam section, then the whole purpose gets defeated and regrettably, it does, in many cases.

No ambiguity in the significant role of email marketing tool, but there are multiple other determinants that influence the email deliverability, such as— ESP (Email Service Providers), content, sender reputation, etc. Therefore users need to heed these sections too, before assessing the credibility of any software.

Now, if we gaze the deliverability rate of both platform, here is an aftermath of multiple tests that have been conducted on both software in different years. ActiveCampaign has a deliverability rate of 85.8, 96, 97 percent in 2017, 18, 19 respectively, against MailChimp’s 87, 82, 81 in same years, certainly makes the ActiveCampaign a winner but as we mentioned other factors also play a big part hence taking them in view is quite mandatory.

To know more you can refer to this article which entails a comprehensive analysis of “Email deliverability.” And, yeah, ActiveCampaign is a winner, once again.

MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign — Analytics Reports

Reports have proven their importance from time to time. Not only they help in cultivating new strategy but also exhibit the loophole in the previous one. This is where both software doesn’t disappoint and provides the following;

  • Automation Reports
  • Geolocation Reports
  • Links and Social performance reports
  • Email execution reports etc,
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Activecampaign Report Example

In addition to that, you can use ActiveCampaign CRM to view the deal reports, which allows you to asses the funnel success rate, time, the number of deals, etc. Where MailChimp is a little E-commerce focused and provide more tools in the same. Which makes this round kind of even.

MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign — Third Party Integration

In the current scenario, each tool or software is related to another in some way, due to which the inclination to integrate third-party solution becomes considerably imperative. And, both being a veteran email marketing software they provide ample amount of tools.

Where ActiveCampaign offers 250+ apps MailChimp isn’t far in the line with 200+ apps. But recently they did remove the popular Shopify app for some reason yet there are plenty other third-party integrations that can help in connecting your Shopify account to MailChimp.

Needleless to say, ActiveCampaign offers more apps, as compared to MailChimp. But since it covers all the major ones,  so does the ActiveCampaign, there is no clear winner here. So let’s settle for one point for both.

MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign — CRM

If one wants, he/she can use MailChimp as a CRM, since it provides you with comprehensive data, reports and bunch of other stuff, that a real CRM suppose to do. Nonetheless, on technical terms, MailChimp doesn’t have a CRM.

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ActiveCampaign CRM Example

Conversely, ActiveCampaign has an inbuilt CRM, which is purposefully designed and certainly does a way better job than MailChimp. It grants you the power to create deal reports, automate the sales process, etc, which ultimately leads to a smooth and productive sales process. So, without any uncertainty in mind, this round goes to ActiveCampaign.

Wise Guide

ActiveCampaign’s CRM is good but it only has basic features. If you are looking for a CRM with more complete features, you can read about best CRM software for Small Business here.

MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign — Support

It’s no surprise that the ActiveCampaign is a bit more precocious than MailChimp in customer support. And, besides providing live chat, email, and tutorials, which MailChimp also do, they go the extra mile and offer one on one training as well.

Furthermore, ActiveCampaign is more accessible as a dynamic help icon is cemented on all screens, which is missing in MailChimp. Consequently, there is no hesitancy in giving this round to ActiveCampaign.

MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign — Pricing

If you just started, then you’re gonna love MailChimp, as it comes with three plans, including a free one.

MailChimp Pricing

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Mailchimp Pricing

Forever Free Plan

MailChimp is generous enough to offer many advanced features in a forever free plan. Features like — access to all the templates and design options, email automation, A/B testing, abandon cart features, etc. Although there is a catch, it is restricted to 2000 users and 12,000 emails a month.  

Grow Business Plan

Grow business plan is fitting for businesses who are ready to expand and already have outgrown the forever free plan. And, obviously, it comes with many perks over the free plan, like —

  • Preview of your crafted emails
  • Chat and email support
  • Email delivery by timezone
  • No MailChimp branding over the email and many more.

The monthly plan starts with $10 a month with 500 subscribers and unlimited emails. The prices increase as the number of subscribers.

Pro Plan

Pro plan does provide cutting edge features but also cost an additional 199 bucks, which amounts to whopping $209. A truly expensive add on but as it’s fully packed with all the advanced features, makes the cost fair and logical. All the flexibility that we get in Pro plan make the entire process smooth and effortless, and you have the very ability —

  • To create segmentation based on the user’s behavior.
  • To create comparative reports.
  • To access the premium support
  • To run Multivariate testing, etc

However, it’s not for everyone, given the cost. So feel free to overlook it, if you aren’t interested in traits like advanced reporting system, multivariate testing, complex segmentation, etc.

Pay as You Go

This plan is perfect for people that aren’t frequent with their email marketing campaigns. So instead of paying big bucks for the entire month, just pay for the number of emails that you’re sending out. Which sum up to around $0.3 an email.

ActiveCampaign Pricing

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Activecampaign Pricing

Same as MailChimp, ActiveCampaign has four plan, unfortunately, no free plan here, still you can try ActiveCampaign for 14 days, free of cost.  

Lite Plan

Lite plan starts at $9 a month (if paid yearly, otherwise $15) for up to 500 users. Despite being a basic plan, it offers many advanced features which include powerful email automation, designs alternative, social media integration and countless more. On the bad side, it is just limited to 3 users, worse, ActiveCampaign logos plastered on opt-in forms. And, in the name of customer support, you’ll only get live chat and emails, no call support.

Plus Plan

The price is increased, so does the number of features along with the number of accounts. Upgrading to this Plus will cost you $40 more(if paid yearly, monthly will be $70), which sum up to $49 a month for 1000 users only. Businesses with a team can utilize this plan as it offers around 25 accounts along with a CRM. Even it has a custom user role and enables users to send SMS. Moreover, there is no creeping from ActiveCampaign in terms of branding their name all over your forms.

Professional Plan

It goes without saying, as the price take a hike, the features become more advanced and more in number. Professional plan starts at $129 a month (if paid yearly, monthly will be $159) for 2,500 users. And, as the name indicates it is specifically built while keeping professionals in mind. A few of its highlights are site messaging, attribution, predictive sending and win probability which leads to better marketing and it comes with 25 additional accounts — 50 in total.

Enterprise Plan

Precisely built for dominant players in the business. This plan brings you all the premium feature that an email marketing software should provide. The one we really liked is where they provide dedicated training and account manager to address all of your concerns, whether it’s about a chink in the strategy or simple consultation. It starts at a whopping cost, $229 a month (yearly paid, for monthly $279) for up to 2,500 users.

ActiveCampaign is expensive, there is no ambiguity in that. But it is unquestionably a bang for a buck as it is one of the most advanced software in its domain. However, MailChimp proffers numerous lucrative deals at a competitive price, makes it a cost-efficient software for many — consequently team MailChimp leads to a clear victory in this round.

MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign — The Big Conclusion

As we apparently can see that ActiveCampaign won the comparison leading with two points. But is it the right software for your business, we still need to figure that out, don’t we?

So here is what we advocate. ActiveCampaign is one of the most advanced email marketing software. Since, it is peculiarly built for the businesses who want to utilize the power of robust marketing automation, built-in CRM and take their marketing campaign to the next level, if that’s what interest you, then ActiveCampaign would be a right match. And as it offers multiple reasonable plans, even the small business can opt for it.

On the other hand, MailChimp turns out to be an outstanding pick for E-commerce businesses. It bestows the very ability to run email marketing along with the Facebook and Instagram ads altogether. Ease of use is also one of its striking attributes that one can’t overlook, which makes it popular with the newbies.

Furthermore, ActiveCampaign and MailChimp both are legitimate software and have been for the past many years, so going with either one will help you in scaling your business. You just need to heed your requirements and go for the one which gratifies all of them.

Lastly, that’s our take on both platforms, in case something is still unclear or you want to add your experience, feel free to comment. We will get right back to you with relevant information.

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