Adestra's MessageFocus is a Solid ESP for Medium- to Large-Sized Businesses
Updated March 15, 2016

Adestra's MessageFocus is a Solid ESP for Medium- to Large-Sized Businesses

Joi Brooks | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Adestra

As an agency, we recommend Adestra to medium and large sized businesses interested in email marketing. Most businesses are managed services, but there are some hands-on companies that manage campaigns on their own, including design and list management. The Adestra dashboard makes the process simple for business owners. The cutting-edge features provide advanced solutions like personalization, dynamic content placement, split testing, and programmatic email marketing. For an agency, the tool-set is well supported by the Adestra team.

There are currently a few different editors to help campaign managers, who may be HTML literate or WYSIWYG users.

The reporting is thorough, allowing users overview on a project or campaign level with optional date filters. Granular data is provided via click-through into any one of the key performance indicators. A real-time web report can be generated for non-users marketing overview.

Administrative rights can be provided for users on three levels, which allows marketers to administrate their own workspace, manage campaigns or simply review the process.

*It should be noted that layout skills, knowledge of design, familiarity with spreadsheet and data management, in addition to a solid understanding of how email clients work, are required precursors for a email marketing. Regardless of the email service provider, these necessary skills support all phases of email marketing. It most cases, it is best to hire an experienced and professional email marketer.
  • Adestra's "dynamic" list allows users to consolidate multiple lists in combination with data filters and exclusion lists. This implements segmentation and is a powerful marketing tool.
  • Adestra's MessageFocus API integration provides developer-tools for list, campaign or transactional automated requirements.
  • Campaigns can be sorted into project folders. This allows marketers to group campaigns together for management or reporting requirements. Moving or copying campaigns from one project to another is a simple process.
  • Data downloads via Reporting is available at every level, from overview to individual KPI.
  • Creating "core" tables helps marketers develop lists with similar attributes. Whether a list has many fields or simply the one required email address field, a "core" table helps to quickly map data labels from spreadsheet to online database. Creating data labels on the fly is a simple process, as well. The "core" table also groups similar contacts into one core database.
  • Any list can be quickly "emptied" for to manage refreshed data. The contacts within the "emptied" list would still be members of the "core" table and so the process does not negatively impact reporting.
  • Unsubscribes can be managed in one list (as a default) or individual lists. Creating individual unsubscribe lists -- dependent on business requirements -- would allow for a preference center, whereby recipients could be given a choice as to which campaigns they receive.
  • The Form tool creates signup forms, simple surveys and landing pages. These can be hosted via Adestra or otherwise on the web. The tool provides for branding and proprietary cascading stylesheets, with a number of actions available through a drag-and-drop interface.
  • As of this writing, there are at least 3 different editors available (a drag-and-drop, a WYSIWYG and HTML). However, only a small template library is available if requested through support. Those expecting to find ready-built templates for re-branding would find them through the third-party EDM Designer drag-and-drop editor.
  • For companies that focus on goals and analytics, Adestra provides all the necessary tools.
For medium and large sized businesses, Adestra competes well with dotMailer. While many of the functions are available through either provider, creating campaigns, managing lists and reviewing metrics are somewhat different.

As of this writing, dotMailer's drag-and-drop editor dominates that platform and performs well for low-end users with little-to-no HTML experience. Even high-end users will appreciate how quickly campaigns can be built via the drag-and-drop editor.

While Adestra utilizes the EDM Designer drag-and-drop, the third-party functionality is not completely cohesive and lack of a template library gives dotMailer a bit of an advantage.
Small businesses with even smaller marketing budgets and no email marketing experience would be better off selecting a lower-end email marketing provider. However, Adestra will provide a growing company with every email marketing tool along the way.

Adestra Feature Ratings

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

Evaluating Adestra and Competitors

Yes - Blue Hornet
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Product Reputation
  • Prior Experience with the Product
  • Vendor Reputation
  • Existing Relationship with the Vendor
  • Positive Sales Experience with the Vendor
  • Analyst Reports
  • Third-party Reviews

Adestra Support

I have had campaign related issues solved very quickly. When there are technical issues, that involve more than one departmental, it may involve a longer turn-around and management.
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
Immediate help available
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
Online chat support has come through many times. From explaining how dynamic elements personalize emails to coding the campaign in order to displays those elements. Online chat supported an error response message and resolved the problem immediately. Very happy with the agency-level of support from Adestra!

Using Adestra

I have been self-trained on different ESPs for over 10 years, so my experience isn't comparable to most users. However, I've trained people on various email marketing platforms, and with some training, clients have a positive user-experience with Adestra.
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
  • Dynamic lists
  • Filters
  • Signup Forms and Landing Pages
  • Creating a campaign from scratch