Welcome to our ActiveCampaign review.
We recently rated ActiveCampaign the best marketing automation platform of the year, and it was one of our top three favorite email marketing software tools too.
In this post, we’ll be sharing our full review of ActiveCampaign so that you can see for yourself everything it has to offer.
We’ll start by discussing what it is and what it can do. After that, we’ll dive into the features, discuss pricing, reveal the platform’s biggest pros and cons, and more.
Ready? Let’s jump into it.
What is ActiveCampaign?
ActiveCampaign is an all-in-one customer experience platform with advanced automation capabilities. It’s best known as an email marketing platform.
It includes a ton of sales and marketing tools to help you to manage campaigns and create top-notch customer experiences at scale.
For example, you can use it to build landing pages and forms and collect leads.
Then, you can manage those leads in the built-in CRM. And nurture them through the built-in campaign builder and email marketing tools.
But what makes ActiveCampaign different from other email marketing platforms is how advanced its automations builder is.
Unlike most other platforms, ActiveCampaign hasn’t treated automations like an add-on—it’s the platform’s core focus.
It gives you all the tools you need to automate virtually everything, from your campaigns to your list scoring, contact management, site tracking, sales pipelines, and beyond.
What features does ActiveCampaign offer?
ActiveCampaign is jam-packed with powerful features. These features are grouped together into different tools:
- Contacts (list management, segmentation, lead scoring, etc.)
- Campaigns (emails, autoresponders, RSS, split testing, triggered, SMS, etc.)
- Automations (workflow builder, conditional content, automation templates, transactional email, etc.)
- Deals (pipeline management, CRM, etc.)
- Website (Landing page builder, forms, pop-ups, site tracking, site messages, etc).
- Reports (analytics and custom reporting)
- Apps (third-party integrations)
We’ll take a closer look at each of these tools/features next.
When you first log in to ActiveCampaign, you’ll be brought to your account dashboard:
ActiveCampaign initially populates your dashboard with some options. Click the one that best matches what you plan on using ActiveCampaign for and you’ll get tailored toolbar tips to help you to get started quickly:
Once you’ve done that, the dashboard will be replaced with a bunch of widgets that give you a birds-eye view of all the most important stuff you need to keep track of, like your ongoing campaigns, automations, contacts, pipelines, to-do tasks, etc.:
And what’s cool is you can customize your dashboard by moving these widgets around.
Through the left-hand sidebar, you can access all the different tools and features that ActiveCampaign comes with. Let’s explore each of them.
From the Contacts toolkit, you can manage all your leads and lists.
The first thing you’ll want to do if you already have existing contacts is to move them over to ActiveCampaign. Click Request a free migration to have the experts at ActiveCampaign handle it for you.
Or alternatively, hit Import to add your contacts manually via CSV, copy/paste, or app integrations.
You can open up any contact in your list to open up a Single Contact View of all the data you hold on them.
From here, you can also add notes, tasks, and deals to their account. Plus, add tags to segment them into different lists for easier targeting, view their recent activities, add them to automations, and more.
You can even email contacts 1:1, directly from your Contacts dashboard, by clicking Email next to their name
There are lots of other neat features within the Contacts toolkit, which you can access through the sidebar menu on the left.
For example, the Scoring feature lets you set up automation rules to score leads based on different conditions. Lead scoring is useful as it makes it easier to identify your most valuable, well-qualified contacts and prioritize them in your marketing/sales campaigns.
The way it works is simple: You tell ActiveCampaign to add a certain number of points to a contact’s account when they meet a certain condition.
For example, if they click on a link in one of your campaigns, you might add 3 points. If they’re from a certain geographical location, you might add another 2 points. If they visit a product page, you might add 5 points.
Then, you can set up targeted marketing/sales campaigns based on the number of points your contacts have.
For example, you might send out a promotional offer to all contacts that have 8+ points as they’re most likely to convert. Or you could have your sales team schedule a call with high-value leads with over 15 points. You get the idea.
By default, ActiveCampaign will have already created a few Lead Score Rules for you: one that automatically scores contacts based on how often they engage with your emails, and another that scores them based on how often they engage with your website or visit specific URLs.
You can edit these and turn them off/on in a couple of clicks, or just click Add a score > Contact Score to build a new rule from scratch.
Campaigns is where you build your email marketing campaigns in ActiveCampaign. To get started, open it up in the sidebar and click Create your first campaign.
There are a bunch of different Campaign Types to choose from:
- Standard (one-off broadcasts that go out to a group of subscribers)
- Auto Responder (campaigns that are sent out automatically to new subscribers when they opt-in)
- Automated (custom sequences)
- Split Testing (A/B campaigns in which you send multiple variations of an email out to figure out which performs best)
- RSS Triggered (campaigns that are sent whenever your RSS feed updates; great for newsletters)
- Date Based (campaigns that are sent out on certain dates, e.g. the subscriber’s birthday or anniversary)
Click whichever option best matches what kind of campaign you’re trying to set up then enter a name, and click Next. For the purposes of this review, we’ll just select Standard.
On the next page, you can choose the list(s) that you want to send the campaign out to. You can create lists of contacts based on attributes/conditions to create highly-targeted campaigns.
Next, you can start designing your emails.
There are a ton of pre-made templates to choose from for all the most common types of emails, such as restock announcements, weekly newsletters, product recommendation emails, welcome emails, review requests, discount codes/promotional offers, etc.
They’re organized into categories to make it easier to find what you’re looking for, and you can Preview any template in both mobile and desktop view in one click.
Click select on a template to customize it, or alternatively, click Start From Scratch.
You’ll then be prompted to choose a subject line for your email (which you can personalize with dynamic fields), and then brought to the drag-and-drop editor.
The drag-and-drop editor is pretty neat. You can move different elements around the page as needed and click on them to change the content/style/design.
You can also drag new Structures (i.e. layout elements like rows and columns) and Blocks (individual widgets like image blocks, text boxes, videos, timers, social sharing buttons, etc.) in from the right.
Most other drag-and-drop editors do the same sort of thing. But ActiveCampaign’s editor has a few unique features that take it to the next level.
The first is Saved Modules.
This lets you store content blocks that you’ve already edited/customized to your own library, so you can reuse them again and again in different campaigns. It’s a huge time-saver.
The second is AI content generation. Rather than writing your email copy from scratch, you can let ActiveCampaign’s artificial intelligence do it for you.
Just click on any text box in the drag-and-drop builder and enter some prompts to explain what you want to talk about, then hit Generate. Again, this saves a ton of time.
The last feature we want to mention here is Conditional Content. Click the three dots next to any block in the drag-and-drop editor, then click the workflow icon.
Here, you can personalize your emails for individual contacts within the same campaign by adding conditions and telling ActiveCampaign to only show that content if those conditions are met.
Once you’ve finished designing your emails, click Next to schedule it for sending. You can send a test email out first to make sure it looks the part and turn things like open/read/reply/link tracking on/off.
Also, make sure you read over ActiveCampaign’s Spam Check notes before you send. It’ll highlight any potential issues that might harm your deliverability rate.
The Automations Builder is where ActiveCampaigns really shines. It lets you create sophisticated workflows to automate virtually anything: email campaigns, contact management, deals/pipelines, SMS, site tracking, ecommerce, etc.
First, click Automations in the sidebar from the main dashboard. Then, click Create an automation.
The easiest way to build your automations is to choose a Recipe. Recipes are like pre-built templates for commonly-automated tasks, and ActiveCampaign has a huge library of them for you to choose from.
For example, if I was using ActiveCampaign for Blogging Wizard, I might use the Send New Blog Posts template to quickly set up a workflow that automatically sends out an RSS email to contacts whenever I publish a new post.
If I was running an ecommerce store, I might use the Site Tracking Abandoned Cart recipe to start tracking website visits and automatically sending out abandoned cart reminder emails to customers who don’t finish checking out.
Or I might use the Product Interest Tagging recipe to tag contacts who have visited a certain product page more than once. That way, I can set up email campaigns in the future that include personalized product recommendations and discounts for individual contacts based on their product interests.
Once you’ve chosen a recipe, click Continue to open up the workflow builder and customize it. You can also just click Start From Scratch to start from a blank template.
The workflow builder has a bit of a learning curve, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s incredibly powerful.
The idea is that you add Triggers and Actions and connect them together to create your automation. Triggers are conditions that have to be met for the next step in the workflow to run, and Actions are the things that happen when the workflow is triggered to run.
There are dozens of Triggers and Actions to choose from (including lots of stuff you don’t find on other marketing automation software), and it’s possible to set up some incredibly sophisticated and complex automations.
With the Automation Map, you can see how all the automations you’ve built connect to each other.
This is another feature we’ve only ever seen on Active Campaign. It’s very useful for businesses that have complex automations and makes it easier to map out your strategy, update existing automations, and identify new opportunities.
Deals is ActiveCampaign’s built-in sales CRM. You can set up and manage sales pipelines.
We don’t have time to look at everything you can do in Deals in this review (we’re just going to be focusing on the marketing tools).
But if you want to access it, you’ll need to sign up for either a Sales plan or a Bundles plan. We’ll talk more about this in the pricing section of this review.
From ActiveCampaign’s Website toolkit, you can build opt-in forms, pop-ups, and landing pages, manage site tracking, and more.
As with Campaigns and Automations, there’s a huge library of page and form templates to choose from. And they’re all professionally designed and optimized for conversions.
For example, there are your basic Lead Capture page templates, templates for promotions ebooks and digital downloads, Thank You page templates, and more.
Click on any template or Start From Scratch to open up the drag-and-drop editor.
It works the same as the email designer, with a drag-and-drop interface that lets you customize the layout and content with a real-time preview. Drag Blocks in from the right, and click on individual elements in the preview window to change the content.
There are all the usual blocks to choose from, like image blocks, buttons, text, video, in-line forms, countdown timers, etc. Plus, there’s also a PayPal block that you can use to take payments, so you can sell products directly through your ActiveCampaign landing page.
If you go to the Site Tracking tab, you can connect ActiveCampaign to your website to track webpage visits made by your contacts in real time. This helps with segmentation/personalization and also provides deeper visitor insights.
All you have to do is turn it on and copy-paste the Tracking Code into your site’s footer.
Apps & reporting
From your dashboard, click Reports in the sidebar to open up the ActiveCampaign reporting tool.
Here, you’ll find a ton of useful analytics and visualizations that can help you to keep track of all the most important metrics and KPIs.
You can generate different types of reports including Automations reports, Sales Engagement reports, Contacts reports, Campaign reports, Deals reports, Website reports, and more.
At the bottom of the sidebar, click Apps to open up ActiveCampaign’s app store.
Here, you’ll find literally hundreds of third-party integrations that you can connect to ActiveCampaign in a couple of clicks.
These are categorized into different sections. For example, there are accounting apps, scheduling apps, developer tools, CMS solutions, analytics apps like Google Analytics, and more.
How much does ActiveCampaign cost?
ActiveCampaign’s pricing is a little complicated.
There are several different ‘products’ to choose from, depending on your use case: Marketing, Sales, Bundles, and Transactional Email.
Then, there are several different plans/pricing options available within each product package, each of which comes with different features/usage allowances.
ActiveCampaign Marketing pricing
The Marketing package comes with all the core email and marketing automation tools. It’s split into four plans: Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.
Marketing Lite starts from $29/month and includes 1 user, basic email marketing and automation features, inline forms, site & event tracking, and chat & email support.
Marketing Plus starts from $49/month and includes everything you get on Lite, plus 3 users, landing pages, pop-ups, AI email content generation, eCommerce integrations, and more.
Marketing Professional starts from $149/month and comes with everything in Plus, as well as 5 users, and more advanced features like AI predictive sending, split automations, site messages, conversions, attribution reporting, and more.
Marketing Enterprise is for larger teams and you’ll have to talk to their sales team for a custom quote. It comes with everything in Professional plus 10 users and enterprise-focused features like custom reporting, an uptime SLA, unlimited email testing, custom objects, HIPAA support, and more.
ActiveCampaign Sales pricing
The Sales package gives you access to ActiveCampaign’s CRM and sales engagement tools. It’s split into three plans: Plus, Professional, and Enterprise
Sales Plus starts from $19 per user per month and comes with sales automation, lead scoring, pipeline/account/deal management, task management and reporting, and AI email content generation, and more.
Sales Professional starts from $49 per user per month and comes with everything in Plus, as well as sales engagement automation, 1:1 email, AI-powered sentiment analysis, AI-powered win probability, Facebook Lead Ads, Split Automations, and other features.
Sales Enterprise is for scaling teams and you’ll need to get in touch with them for a quote. It’s customizable depending on your needs and includes features like custom reporting, single sign-on, custom objects, HIPAA support, an uptime SLA, etc.
ActiveCampaign Bundles pricing
ActiveCampaign’s Bundles packages give you access to both their Marketing and Sales tools. Again, it’s split into the same three plans: Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.
Bundles Plus starts from $93/month. It comes with everything in Marketing Plus and everything in Sales Plus, as well as 5 users and 1,000 contacts.
Bundles Professional starts from $386/month. It comes with everything in Marketing Professional and Sales Professional, as well as 10 users and 2,5000 contacts.
Bundles Enterprise is customizable based on your needs and you’ll need to talk to Sales for a quote. It comes with all of the above, plus 15 users and 2,500 contacts, and enterprise-focused features.
Transactional Email pricing
ActiveCampaign’s Transactional Email plans just provide the API and SMTP for your site/app so you can send out transactional emails like order confirmations and password resets to your customers.
Pricing depends on how many emails you send per month, starting at $15/month for 10,000 emails (+ $1.80 per additional 1,000).
ActiveCampaign also offers a 14-day free trial, so you can try all its core features out for free before you buy.
ActiveCampaign’s pros and cons
Here’s a recap of what we think ActiveCampaign’s biggest pros and cons are
- Powerful automation features. The ActiveCampaign marketing automation toolkit is second to none. Its workflow builder is much more powerful and flexible than most and lets you create very sophisticated automations.
- Campaign builder. ActiveCampaign’s email campaign builder is awesome. The UI is nice, the template library is great, and the drag-and-drop editor includes some unique features like Conditional Content and AI copy generation.
- Sales and marketing tools. ActiveCampaign is the whole package. It offers both sales and marketing tools in one platform, helping businesses to unify both departments and allowing for seamless customer experiences.
- Great template library. ActiveCampaign comes loaded with hundreds of professionally-designed templates for emails, landing pages, forms, and more. And its pre-built automation recipes are excellent.
- Enterprise-level features. Unlike a lot of its competitors, ActiveCampaign doesn’t just focus on small businesses and entrepreneurs. It’s a very scalable platform and would be a good fit for large businesses and enterprises too.
- Complicated pricing (and a little expensive). ActiveCampaign’s pricing structure isn’t as straightforward as other platforms, so it can be hard to figure out which plan you need to sign up for. The platform’s split into different ‘products’, and there are different plans for each product that come with different features. It’s super confusing. And it’s definitely on the pricier side of the spectrum too.
- High learning curve. ActiveCampaign is a very powerful and versatile platform with some super advanced features. But the tradeoff for all that is that it’s not as easy to use as most of its competitors. It takes a while to learn how everything works and figure out how to use it effectively.
- Too many features. If you just want to send simple newsletters out to your audience, you might find that ActiveCampaign is a little too powerful. All of its features can be overwhelming for beginners who just want the basics.
ActiveCampaign isn’t a good fit for every business.
If you feel your business isn’t right for ActiveCampaign there are other email marketing services to choose from, here are a number of ActiveCampaign alternatives to consider:
- MailerLite |Our review – An all-in-one email marketing platform with a broad feature set. Stands out for its ease of use and value for money. Free plan available.
- Moosend – One of the simplest email marketing and automation platforms out there. Very easy to use, with straightforward, affordable pricing.
- GetResponse | Our review – Another email marketing and automation platform. Stands out for its powerful generative AI tools and beginner-friendly UI.
Final thoughts on ActiveCampaign
That concludes our in-depth ActiveCampaign review.
Overall, ActiveCampaign gets top marks when it comes to its email marketing and automation functionality.
It has everything businesses need to build complex marketing and sales automations, including a bunch of unique features you won’t find elsewhere (like Automation Maps and some fantastic pre-built Recipes).
Its email campaign builder is great too. We particularly like the fact that it lets you personalize emails for individual recipients through Conditional Content. And the built-in AI email copy generator is a game-changer.
All that said, ActiveCampaign isn’t as easy to use as some of its competitors. And its advanced feature set and high price tag mean it may not be the best choice for beginners who just want a simple newsletter builder and don’t need all the extra bells and whistles.
But if you’re open to the learning curve, you can built out some powerful automations that a lot of other software isn’t capable of.
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We hope you found this review useful. Good luck!
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