An Awkward Middle Child Between ESP and MA
April 24, 2018

An Awkward Middle Child Between ESP and MA

J.P. VanderLinden | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version

Small Business

Overall Satisfaction with ActiveCampaign

I implemented ActiveCampaign for two different companies, each hoping to use AC to deliver targeted emails to opted in users and nurture these users through a decision journey that could take between weeks and months. The goal was to allow for logic branching based on user interaction, and deliver content based on that logic branching that addressed key pain points and guided a user towards the right solution for them.

Pros

  • Most Email Service Providers don't allow for logic branching in their drip sequencing - they allow for time delays or opt out/ins based on opens and maybe clicks, but no true branching or trees. This is a key differentiation for AC.
  • The drag and drop workflows and organization is fantastic, easy to use and fast. You can setup a sequence in a matter of minutes where it would take hours with other providers.
  • Integrating with others is a key part of the modern tech stack. Active Campaign works with Zapier, making it able to talk to landing page software, ad campaigns, other marketing automation, email databases and more. Plus it offers native integrations with Stripe, SurveyMonkey, PipeDrive, Paypal and more.
  • If you're just getting started and have less than 1k contacts, the pricing is very reasonable. You can get out between $17 and $100 a month and get a host of features competitors can't touch.

Cons

  • The reporting UI is difficult to use. I setup a fantastic sequence, but understanding how it was performing was like pulling teeth. How many users branched, how many unsubscribed? I had to dig into individual emails to get this information.
  • As your contact list climbs, the pricing does, too. Once you get up around 2-5k contacts, you really should start looking at options like HubSpot, where the pricing is comparable but the feature list is much larger.
  • At it's heart, AC is an email platform. So no landing pages, the website tracking is kinda half-baked and the CRM feels like it's just tacked on without it being integrated in an intentional and strategic way.
  • ActiveCampaign couldn't be mapped to any specific ROI partially due to the clunky reporting interface. We couldn't backtrack into any specific objectives like purchase decisions or course signups because it was too difficult to map those website actions to the specific campaigns.
  • The biggest value AC delivered was in terms of time saved creating specific drip campaigns. Cloning funnels, making edits, adding new branches was fast and easy and allowed us to iterate and move on to other things.
ActiveCampaign is an awkward middle child between full fledged marketing automation (HubSpot, Marketo, Infusionsoft) and Email Service Providers (MailChimp, ConstantContact, CampaignMonitor). It's a step up from the ESPs with richer list management and branching logic without losing the drag and drop ease of use, while being a poorer cousin to the MA options that include detailed tracking, beautiful reports, landing pages and integrations with true CRMs.
If you're just getting started and know you're going to want an Email Service Provider (not a Marketing Automation software), then you really should check out ActiveCampaign. Compared to MailChimp or ConstantContact or Klaviyo it's a big step up in terms of advanced, smart delivery.

On the other hand, if you know you'll be wanting options like landing pages and robust tracking within 12 months, or expect to be working with a large list soon, you might find yourself disappointed, and should start looking at Infusionsoft or HubSpot instead, as you won't be as likely to outgrow it so soon.

ActiveCampaign Feature Ratings

WYSIWYG email editor
7
Dynamic content
5
Ability to test dynamic content
7
Landing pages
Not Rated
A/B testing
3
Mobile optimization
8
Email deliverability reporting
9
List management
9
Triggered drip sequences
9
Dashboards
5
Standard reports
4
Custom reports
Not Rated

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