ActiveCampaign 2020; Is It Really the Best Marketing Automation Tool Out There?

by Corey Philip
October 16, 2020

999+ Hours Using ActiveCampaign

100+ Campaigns Managed

6 Top Features

5 Areas for Improvement

As a Chicago-based one-stop email marketing service, ActiveCampaign claims to be a game-changing marketing automation tool with the features you need to help you achieve the goals of your businesses. Since the tool has over 100,000 customers coming from 170 countries, there must be some truth to this claim!

My Experience with ActiveCampaign

I’ve used a variety of email automation tools for the businesses I have run over the years, but ActiveCampaign has always been a constant on my list. Based on my experience, it is more than just an email marketing automation tool. It’s changing the game in its field by being a Customer Experience Automation (CXA) platform which offers automations while improving customer experience.

Performance & Functionality

Ease of Platform Use

Value for Money

Customer Support

We all know that no one likes receiving multiple emails from their subscriptions—that’s an instant unsubscribe in my book. With the powerhouse that ActiveCampaign has become, it now helps customers send fewer emails with better results. Moreover, talking to their customer support has been one of the most hassle-free experiences I’ve ever had.

My favorite features are  lead scoring, win probability, and automated segmentations combined with marketing automation which has helped my team sell faster than ever. It has also helped me stay organized by monitoring sales processes and track interactions with their contact organization/sales automation CRM. So far, I’ve enjoyed being able to prioritize leads, keep track of tasks, and automate contact management so that everything is in place.

I’m a paying user of ActiveCampaign and use it is a key weapon in my arsenal of digital marketing tools.  If you’d like to sign it up and you value my opinion, here is my affiliate link to ActiveCampaign (thank you).

But don’t just take my word for it. In this blog post, we collate everything good (and bad) when it comes to ActiveCampaign. Let’s see if it deserves the title of Best Marketing Automation Tool!


Tired of email marketing tools that don’t deliver? Looking to up your marketing game by reaching out to prospective clients through emails? ActiveCampaign is one email marketing tool to watch out for! Understand more of ActiveCampaign's features and make the switch to a more compelling service provider. 

Key  Features:

  • Email Marketing Automation

  • Split Testing Options for Email Content

  • Drag and Drop Email Builder and Designer

  • Built-in Third Party App Integrations

  • Contact and List Segmentation

  • CRM and Sales Automation

  • Free Email Templates



Performance & Functionality

Ease of Platform Use

Value for Money

Customer Support

ActiveCampaign in a Nutshell (For Dum… Uh, Beginners)

First off, ActiveCampaign is an email marketing tool (duh!). You can skip ahead if you already know how most email marketing tools function. But, before we get to the nitty-gritty, I’m going to break down the basics for those of you that are here because you have no idea what email marketing is and how to get started.

First off, here's how this email automation tool is priced:

Plans and Pricing

ActiveCampaign isn't the 'cheapest' program out there, but it also won't break the break.  It also does quite a bit more.   


Simple, fast and effective flexible move




  • Unlimited Sending of Newsletters

  • Subscription Forms

  • Marketing Automation for Email Drips

  • Support Through Chat and Email

  • Up to 3 Users


Simple, fast and effective flexible move




  • All Plus Features

  • Predictive Sending and Content with Machine Learning

  • Customer Attribution & Path to Purchase

  • Conversion Attribution Reporting
    Split Automations

  • Site Messaging

  • In-Depth Onboarding and Automation Strategy Consultation

  • 3 One-on-one Training Sessions Monthly

  • Up to 50 Users

But that isn't fixed, as prices may change depending on the number of contacts you have. Here are the flexible plans the tool offers.

If you’re interested in trying ActiveCampaign but you're not ready to commit just yet, you have two weeks of free trial with up to 100 contacts and 100 emails sent.

What You Get at a Glance

The cheapest ActiveCampaign plan starts at $9 monthly, which gets you the following features for up to 3 users: unlimited sending, email marketing, newsletters, subscription forms, marketing automations, as well as chat and email support. So what do all of these mean, and how can you actually use them?

 If you’re looking to send out an email blast to your entire email list, this is an easy and cheap tool you can use. These emails can also be scheduled so you can catch your contacts at the time they’re most likely to open or respond. The marketing automation feature also lets you automate emails to people who’ve subscribed to your newsletter, so you only need to worry about setting things up.

At $9 a month, that already sounds great, but will we be able to do more than thank people for signing up for your newsletter about gourmet cheeses?

YES. Using ActiveCampaign, you can actually set up an email series that will help you direct your email list to a particular goal, whether it’s signing up for your podcast or buying an online course. This email series is called a drip campaign, which Active Campaign will send out on a schedule you can set. You can easily start a campaign or automation using over 280 pre-built templates.

For the more sophisticated email marketer, you can customize these flows with conditional content, custom fields and logic filters. Create a condition so that only people who have opened a particular email below will receive the next one, or make it so that the emails will only be sent out on the first Saturday of the month. Instead of sending canned emails, you can customize them with the recipient’s name or address.

With a plan upgrade, you can further improve user experience through event and site tracking. Once you’re familiar with your users and how they behave, you can use “If/Then” conditions to send and target your messages. The emails people will receive will depend on insights and behavior you’ve gathered through ActiveCampaign. 

Aside from emails, you can also automate responders, contacts and list management, as well as CRM systems. Even if you can automate almost everything using ActiveCampaign, you can still build personal connections with your customers. Its CRS system, also known as Deals, makes this possible as it allows you to add notes for your contacts, set up appointments with them, or even send direct messages to them. 

What’s more, ActiveCampaign makes it possible for you to assess email campaign analytics. For an organization that needs to measure how effective their email campaigns and other marketing efforts, this is a beneficial feature! 

Since ActiveCampaign packs a wallop for features, you can only expect that it’s interface can be quite the clutter. But, if you don’t mind the messy look and you’re only in it for the performance, ActiveCampaign makes a wonderful choice for your email marketing needs.

All of these features might seem intimidating at first, but you can always get support from through live chat and phone from their customer service. There is also a self-help knowledge base that's easily searchable. returning results that are relevant most of the time. If you’re subscribed to the more expensive plans, you even get one-on-one training and webinars.

ActiveCampaign Features: What to Expect?

Now that you have a vague idea of what ActiveCampaign is and what it can do for your business, let’s get serious. If you plan on using ActiveCampaign’s premium services, it is only a must that you understand what you’re paying for. 

Here’s a rundown of the features you’ll experience and how they can help your business. 

Contact Management Through Tags and Lists

There are campaigns that work best for a particular group while it may flop in another. To avoid generalizing your email campaign, you need to identify contacts and customize a marketing scheme suitable for them. 

ActiveCampaign brings you the convenience of listing your contacts (to a specific segment or condition) and tagging them for further segmentation. All of this can be achieved with just a few clicks. As convenient as this function may seem, it can be overwhelming to beginners. 

Offers a Comprehensive List of Third-Party App Integrations

To offer convenience and seamlessly tie up its services with other tools’ features, ActiveCampaign gives you access to a varied list of integrations.

If you check out ActiveCampaign’s Apps and Integrations page, you’ll notice a selection of 150 tools. Such integrations make ActiveCampaign an all-around tool for email marketing. 

Ease of Setting Up Email Marketing Automation

One of the essential factors that dictates an email marketing tool’s effectiveness and efficiency is its automation function. 

With ActiveCampaign’s email marketing automation feature, you can engage with prospects without taking the time and effort to manually craft emails. One of your clients/customers signed up for a birthday discount? This tool will not only alert them of promos and perks, but will also send a birthday greeting! Depending on how you program this tool, ActiveCampaign can make it possible. 

With only the code on your website as reference, engaging with prospects can be more convenient and more effective. Talk about smart and efficient artificial intelligence integration! 

Comprehensive and Effective Email Marketing

Nowadays, just having an online presence isn’t enough. Aside from websites and the use of social media platforms, you can elevate your marketing and promotions game with email marketing. 

ActiveCampaign helps you send an email blast to all of your contacts. After all, what’s the use of obtaining those contacts without the means of connecting with them?

New subscriber on the list? Let the autoresponder take care of it for you. More than just basic email marketing, you can create campaigns that are sophisticated and complex, while enjoying flexibility that will ease the process. 

Did we forget to mention that ActiveCampaign provides you with email campaign analytics? No doubt, you’ll need this feature to measure your campaign’s performance and effectiveness. 

Intuitive UI Design for Email Designer 

No email management tool is complete without an email designer. We can go on and on about what you’ll see with ActiveCampaign’s email designer but if there’s one thing that stood out (this will definitely help you out in the long run) is its drag-and-drop tool. 

But, like many other advantages to this function, there’s a catch. ActiveCampaign’s long-time users have noticed the following concerns with the email designer. One, is when text is pasted from a different source, the default font is automatically used. Second, when pictures are uploaded, it can take a bit of time to finish. 

Supports Split-Testing

Doubtful as to which email campaigns work better? You don’t have to guess as ActiveCampaign supports Split Testing. This function allows you to analyze the performance of an original email campaign and the performance of a variation. 

Lacking Aspects of ActiveCampaign: What Could Be Improved? 

Not everything that ActiveCampaign has to offer is perfect. Like other tools, it all comes down to preferences and organizational needs.

To provide you with a 360-degree assessment of ActiveCampaign’s performance, here are some of the things long-time users don’t like (but potentially can be improved) about this email marketing tool. 

Ready-made Email Automation Templates

According to registered premium users, ActiveCampaign offers a wide variety of ready-made email templates for automation. Since time and money is essential for any organization, such innovation is really helpful! 

However, this service doesn’t come for free. You’ll have to purchase them on ActiveCampaign’s market. Some pricing options include several ready-made automation templates. If such expenses aren’t feasible for your marketing budget, you can create one for you to use.

Pricing Strategies May Seem Expensive for Some

At first, business owners may think twice on whether or not investing in ActiveCampaign is a worthwhile choice. Some registered users admit that initially, the ActiveCampaign’s pricing strategy can be unreasonable for a limited number of contacts. However, when you compare the services offered by ActiveCampaign and its prices to other providers, registered users think this tool is the most affordable. 

It is also important to note some pricing strategies, especially the basic ones, charge a fee for adding new features on top of your original plan.

Busy and Overwhelming User Interface

As mentioned earlier, ActiveCampaign has a lot of helpful features that an organization can take advantage of for their campaigns. However, newbies who have no idea or aren't adept in using email marketing tools can find the user interface a bit too much. 

Aside from this concern, there are instances when building an email campaign template seems sluggish. The visual builder can be unresponsive at times and this wastes precious time.

Not Suitable for Beginners

Most registered users of the ActiveCampaign tool admit that the learning curve for this platform is quite high. If you take account of every aspect of the tool, it can be overwhelming. 

For small businesses that desire to automate their email marketing campaign, it may take some time to get the hang of ActiveCampaign. But, the payoff is great!

Unable to Integrate Third-Party Apps or Modes for Payment

For an organization that thrives on sales, a convenient app or money transfer option is vital for customer satisfaction and ease of transaction. Unfortunately, payment options aren’t available for ActiveCampaign.

Is ActiveCampaign the right software for you?



If you’re a marketer who is familiar with marketing automation tools, ActiveCampaign will make your life a lot easier. Since ActiveCampaign’s key feature is its advanced automations, targeting your audience may be done with just a click. You can even customize trigger campaigns whether it is for Facebook ads or Google ads. You will like its automated segmentation, third-party integrations, and autoresponders.

Not Recommended

If you only need to send simple email newsletters or set up basic email sequences (for example, a welcome campaign), then you better find other cheaper and more user-friendly alternatives. It will be confusing for beginners to use this because the features are overwhelming and there will be a lot of them that you won’t be needing at all.

Small and medium businesses


As an integrated sales and marketing platform, it will help small and medium businesses grow their sales by using CRM, lead scoring, and win probability. Since the built-in CRM connects all your email marketing data, it will be easy for your sales teams to identify and act on the next steps. Lead scoring can help you find your possible clients because it can calculate win probability then streamline sales follow-up processes.

A CRM with email and sales automation keeps your entire customer data organized in one platform. Manage your pipelines, update deals, and always follow up at the perfect moment. If you automate your emails and sales with CRM, it will help you manage and organize your entire customer data to update deals and follow up at the right moment.

Not Recommended

If you want to keep your businesses low-maintenance, then this is not the one for you. It requires regular maintenance of everything.    



You’re a serious blogger who needs a multi-channel marketing tool. Apart from sending emails, ActiveCampaign also allows you to send SMS, personalized ‘Conversations’ to website visitors, and even manage how Facebook and Youtube ads are displayed to contacts. It’s a great solution if you’d like to be able to centralize a good chunk of your marketing and give your customers a better all-round experience.

Not Recommended

You’re a newbie blogger who needs a landing page. Unfortunately, you can't make landing pages on ActiveCampaign. And as someone relatively new to blogging, you probably don't have the time to set up, monitor and optimize campaigns.

The Final Verdict: To Pay for ActiveCampaign’s Services or Not? 

After looking at a broad spectrum of reviews from registered users (whether they're big organizations, small businesses or ordinary individuals) as well as my own experience with the tool, I've come to a conclusion. 

ActiveCampaign lives up to its promise of being a comprehensive email marketing tool. Even if there are issues that may put some users off, ActiveCampaign is significantly better than its competing providers. Moreover, ActiveCampaign prides itself in being an email marketing tool that is in a league of its own. From multiple innovations, to customer support, and continuous improvements, ActiveCampaign is in the biz for the long run to help kickstart your business’s success. Although it can take some time to get familiar with the overall processes of ActiveCampaign, once you are fully-aware of its features, there’s no stopping you in making the ultimate email marketing campaign. 

If you belong to an organization that’s integrating email marketing into your marketing and promotions scheme, ActiveCampaign is always worth a try! It has a free trial period that you can take advantage of to understand how it works and what its most outstanding features are. BUT make sure to identify what your email marketing needs are first! Then, using the tool (on the free trial, of course), see if it fits your needs and if there are features that you can use to make your campaigns more effective. 

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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