MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign: Comparing Features and Pricing Between Marketing Automation Solutions

MailChimp and ActiveCampaign are both marketing automation software solutions that help companies of all sizes deliver effective marketing campaigns. In addition, they both use accumulated data and automation to create personalized email campaigns intended to convert more subscribers to customers. We have earlier reviewed both MailChimp and ActiveCampaign.

ActiveCampaign vs MailChimp marketing automation comparison

Product Overview

ActiveCampaign: ActiveCampaign learns from users’ data and consequently delivers effective, personalized messages. It includes a customer relationship management component that organizes all customer data, consolidates communication channels, and automatically conducts prospect tracking. With its drag-and-drop interface, users can build and execute email campaigns, create custom goals, consolidate all data (including third-party data) and view detailed reports. The software also integrates with many different, popular applications, like Shopify and Zoom.

MailChimp At-a-Glance box

MailChimp: The world’s largest marketing automation platform, MailChimp automates the creation of compelling email campaigns that are tailored toward customers’ individual needs. It features a dashboard to help users better understand all the interrelated data it collects. MailChimp integrates with popular e-commerce platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Google.

How They Stack Up

Email Marketing

ActiveCampaign: ActiveCampaign offers a drag-and-drop email design interface as well as professionally designed email templates. Other features include:

  • Send one-time emails to all contacts or a targeted list
  • Automatically send emails as soon as someone joins your email list
  • Schedule email campaigns with distribution on specific dates and times
  • Create a drip campaign, particularly for new customer onboarding
  • Create automated, complex workflows by combining triggers, actions and logic
  • Perform A/B (split) testing to understand which emails are most effective

MailChimp: MailChimp has many of the same features as ActiveCampaign. This solution allows users to:

  • Create and design emails using a drag-and-drop interface, prepared templates or custom coding
  • Connect to an online store to showcase certain items
  • Use built-in photo editing and collaborative features, like shared comments

MailChimp also has a new “Email Beamer” feature that lets users create an email from a mobile device, through their Outlook or Gmail server, and then funnel it to MailChimp via a private email address. MailChimp then automatically assembles a draft campaign and, when desired, distributes it. MailChimp’s flexibility lets users send emails based on time zones, segment a list based on location, personalize messages through predicted demographics and create automated emails based on defined triggers.

Bottom Line: Both ActiveCampaign and MailChimp allow users to target particular subscribers, combine triggers to create complex workflows and simply prepare templates. MailChimp does have its new email Beamer feature; however, its practical advantage has yet to be rigorously tested.

Analytics and Data

ActiveCampaign: With ActiveCampaign, users can set campaign goals, such as number of page views or webinar sign-ups, then respond according to goal completions. These goals help users better track aggregated data from users. For example, a goal is only completed after someone visits a pricing page, clicks a call to action link, and signs up for an email list, satisfying all three goal completion criteria.

ActiveCampaign automatically tracks the conversion rates, so you can know exactly how many contacts completed set goals versus how many have been through the automation sequence. Assessing a campaign’s automation performance, particularly when combined with A/B testing, can lead to a more successful email campaign. ActiveCampaign also integrates social and behavioral data as well as contact and lead scoring to assist your sales efforts and CRM.

MailChimp: MailChimp offers an account dashboard that gives an overview of your campaign, including which contacts opened emails, what they clicked, audience growth, campaign engagement and e-commerce performance. It also has interactive graphs that visualize these statistics.Users can also view graphs of country engagement, subscriber habits, and more.

MailChimp’s drill down data features allow users to compare themselves to other MailChimp users in the same industry to see how effective they are in relation to competitors. In addition, online store owners can track sales from click to purchase, pull stats from website traffic tools, analyze return on investment, and predict future trends. Subscriber Activity Reports can track subscribers’ activities in real time and allow users to send a modified campaign to those who don’t open emails.

Bottom Line: Both of these tools give users a robust view of their data. MailChimp’s approach is slightly more user-friendly, whereas ActiveCampaign’s can be fine-tuned a bit more to your exact marketing and sales goals.

Pricing

ActiveCampaignActiveCampaign’s fee schedule is based on the number of customer contacts and the chosen plan. Subscribers can choose from a sliding scale of between 500 and more than 10,000 contacts. If you have 1,000 contacts, for instance, the Lite plan would be $17 per month when paid yearly, the Plus plan $49, the Professional plan $129 and the Enterprise plan $229.

Every plan includes unlimited email sends, email marketing, marketing automation and access to 24/7 chat and email support. The Lite plan allows for up to three users. The Plus plan includes CRM with sales automation, contact and lead score, and includes up to 25 users. The Professional plan adds supplemental features, like site messaging, and accommodates up to 50 users. The Enterprise plan accommodates an unlimited amount of users and offers 24/7 phone support.

MailChimp: If you have fewer than 2,000 contacts and send fewer than 12,000 emails per month, MailChimp is free, a bonus for small companies. However, users will pay if they want unlimited emailing. If so, the price scales up relative to the number of subscribers, from $10 per month for 0-500 subscribers to $25 per month for 1,501-2,000 subscribers.

Beyond unlimited emails, the paid plans offer more features like email delivery by time zone, advanced testing tools, support and predictive demographics. MailChimp also offers a Pro Marketer option that costs $199 per month. It has enterprise-level features, such as comparative reports and multivariate testing, for high-volume senders.

Bottom Line: MailChimp’s pricing is slightly more competitive, especially for smaller companies. However, if your main goal is marketing, you’ll have to pay the additional $199 per month for its Pro Marketer option.

Takeaways

Both ActiveCampaign and MailChimp have simple drag-and-drop interfaces and professionally designed templates to help users create professional mailers. They both offer robust workflows and testing options.

The difference between the two appears more when we look at their approach to data. ActiveCampaign focuses on the completion of goals, CRM and sales. MailChimp offers an informative dashboard, interactive graphs, and comparisons. Generally, MailChimp has better pricing, but ActiveCampaign has more features for companies that want to build their CRM and increase sales.

ActiveCampaign and MailChimp aren’t the only marketing automation vendors out there. If you’re looking for marketing automation alternatives, our lineup of reviews is a good place to start.

If your organization is starting fresh with marketing automation tools, take a look at our Marketing Automation Buyers Guide. It offers a full overview of key features, costs and common challenges with the software.

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