ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp

Activecampaign vs. Mailchimp

Marketing is essential for every business. Online marketing is the quickest and easiest method to reach your customers in this era of technology. Marketing automation tools have made this job easier and more convenient. You can now focus on more productive tasks while the automation tools promote your products to your customers for you.

Mailchimp and Activecampaign are the two most renowned marketing automation tools. Aspiring entrepreneurs might wonder about the pros and cons of Activecampaign vs. Mailchimp. 

While they are unique in their own ways, they have some features that you may prioritize over the other. For beginners, Mailchimp is the way to go while Activecampaign is the next level.

But there is more to learn before you jump to a conclusion. The marketing tool that suits your business the most depends on several variables. Type of your business, the goal of your organization and your budget all of these are contributing factors to decide the correct tool. I will explain some details about these two to figure out a clear winner.

What Is A Marketing Automation Tool?

Digital marketing comprises different components such as Email marketing, ad campaign, social media marketing. Some of these tasks are repetitive and time-consuming. A marketing automation tool manages these processes through various channels automatically. These allow employees to focus on more complicated tasks and reduce errors.

A marketing automation platform is a tool designed to manage, simplify, and perform repetitive marketing tasks automatically according to given instructions. This includes sending emails, ad pop up, social media posting, and others. Marketing automation tools perform all this according to workflow and offer customers a more personalized experience.

What Do Marketing Automation Tools Do?

Marketing automation tools take responsibility for time-consuming marketing tasks. They simplify the complex and erroneous tasks of modern online marketing. This not only reduces any unintentional mistakes but also passively allows your business to grow and expand. You don’t have to be the one sending every email, posting every ad. These tools will do the job for you.

The main purpose of marketing automation tools was to send emails automatically to potential customers. But advanced automation tools in modern times allow much more than that. From lead nurturing and lead qualification to automated ad campaigns and even customized emails, marketing automation is here to ease up the already complex process.


Mailchimp is the pioneer of marketing automation tools founded in 2001. It started mostly as an email marketing tool. In its early years, it was considered a subsidiary of its parent organization rocket science group. It began its full-fledged campaign in 2009 when it introduced its paid service. Within a few months, its growth was off the charts.

Within 5 years, Mailchimp was sending nearly 10 billion emails per month to potential customers. In 2016, Forbes ranked Mailchimp no. 7 in their cloud 100 lists. By 2017 the company was earning 14000 customers every day. 

Now it is one of the largest names in email marketing and marketing automation. Mailchimp boasts the following features:

Automatic email campaigns

Mailchimp specializes in email campaigns. They automate email campaigns thus saving up time for your business. Every potential customer that signs up to your website receive emails automatically. Those mails could be simple thank you, a birthday wish, or any discount offers for any occasion. Automated email campaigns take all the responsibilities.

Automatic emails also help you interact more with your customers. Mailchimp also features customizable emails for separate customers. This enhances customer satisfaction while you are in control. You can also review your email campaigns to change the workflow. These options let you change whatever is necessary and suitable for your organization.

Inbox preview system

Mailchimp has a preview feature to simulate how an email would look like. This simple but remarkable feature can be your savior and revert any gross mistakes. The email represents your business to the potential customer. If It conveys anything wrong to your customers, the mishap could be drastic. The email preview feature keeps it from happening.

Targeting specific locations

You can target customers from specific locations thanks to Mailchimp’s geo-targeting feature. Mailchimp analyzes the location data of subscribers. This gives you valuable insights into which areas customers are interested in your products. This not only lets you reach specific areas but also lets you know which areas to reach.

Accessibility on the go 

You can create email campaigns from anywhere without logging in. Email beamer is a feature that lets you prepare campaigns on the go. You just need to mail your content to the email address provided by Mailchimp and the rest shall be taken care of. Their automated service will prepare a draft for you to preview.

Master analytics

The performance of your campaign could provide valuable feedback as to what’s working and what is not. How many emails were sent successfully, how many were opened, if any particular customer likes the email pattern or not these are the vital information to facilitate your campaign.

Mailchimp has skilled analytics that provides in-depth analysis. They inform the campaign managers of what to change for better performance of the campaign. The analyzed data also allows the campaign manager to try out different email patterns to see which attracts what type of customers. These analytical changes improve the efficiency of your campaign drastically.


  • Offers different templates to choose from
  • User friendly
  • Affordable for small business owners
  • Advanced automation
  • Pre-built workflows


  • Limited emails for the paid version
  • Limited features for advance users
  • Obsolete segmentation system
  • No SMS marketing


Activecampaign was founded in 2003. In time, they became one of the largest sales automation companies in the world. In 2020, they have over 90000 clients in 161 countries, generating revenue of 90 million dollars. 

They claim to be the most advanced sales automation tools, which isn’t an overstatement. Their services include the following:

Advanced automation system

Their automation system is state of the art. This not only includes automatic emails and auto-responding, it also boasts an inbuilt CRM system. This allows us to create highly customized workflows for more personalized customer experience. You can add notes to the messages sent to your customers, thanks to its ‘Deals’ system.

Tracking website

Activecampaign features a site tracking system. This enables you to track the entire browsing history of contact on your website. You can see what they are searching for or which product they are interested in. Using this feature, you can segment your contacts and offer them a more personalized experience based on their preference.

Conditional content

Conditional content is another feature to deal with each customer individually. You can show your potential customers exactly what they want and dynamically alter contents for individual contacts. This feature analyzes which webpage they had visited the most or stayed longer. You can easily narrow down their preferred products and later notify them in a distinct fashion.

User-friendly API

Its API system is user friendly and highly praised by the customers. You can use different varieties of apps in your system. Activecampaign’s API system easily integrates with other apps in the platform and uses their full potential to its advantage.

Email preview

Another unique feature that Activecampaign has is email testing. You can test different parameters of an email before sending it to find out what works best with each type of audience. It lets you easily figure out the best version of email to send to your potential customers.

State of the art CRM

Activecampaign’s CRM system is one of the best. Their CRM is designed to focus on their main goal- email marketing. It is super easy to use and automates literally everything between marketing sales. Not only that, but it also works back and forth which means it can manage after-sales deals to ensure you have one more returning customer


  • Powerful automation
  • Advanced lead scoring
  • Automation customizing
  • Easy to build flexible workflow
  • Automation and email preview
  • SMS marketing


  • Unlimited customizing options can cause difficulty
  • May not seem user friendly
  • Fewer templates compared to its rivals
  • You cannot build a landing page

ActiveCampaign vs. MailChimp: Which One is Right for You?

Both Activecampaign and Mailchimp offer lots of different options to their customers. Let’s compare those features to find out what works best for you:

Ease of Use

The first step for choosing the right email marketing tool is to look at how easy or difficult the user interface of these tools is.

First, we take a look at the user interface of the most popular MailChimp. The main reason for the popularity of MailChimp is the simplicity of the user interface. It has an interface that is easy to intuitive navigate, a drag, and drop email editor. However, some sections of Mailchimp Interface like Automation section are hard to find.

Now, ActiveCampaign’s user interface is not as easy as you can find in its competitor MailChimp. The main reason behind that is, this email marketing tool is designed to be a more robust email marketing platform with advanced features that you can only get with enterprise-grade email marketing tools.

In simple words, ActiveCampaign has a very steep learning curve, whereas MailChimp is very easy to grasp. From the user interface point of view, MailChimp takes the first round.

Design and Flexibility

ActiveCampaign has 30 built-in email templates and flexible content blocks that you can drag and drop in texts, images, social buttons, or product promo codes. It even has the feature of importing your own template.

MailChimp has a much more extensive library with around 100 built-in email templates. All the templates are very nicely designed. You can also customize them according to your taste and choice. It also has an importing template feature similar to ActiveCampaign.

ActiveCampaign and MailChimp both have nice email templates, but MailChimp’s templates are better. The second round also goes in favor of MailChimp.

Marketing Automation Capabilities

MailChimp has some useful automated campaigning features available. Abandoned cart campaigns, product purchase confirmations are notable among them. But as said earlier, the automation section of MailChimp is a bit messy. Especially the automation editor, which has a bizarre user interface. Their automation feature is also not very flexible.

ActiveCampaign has very sophisticated automation features that you can only find on expensive enterprise email marketing services. You can decide your required actions and conditions to build a sophisticated workflow system for segmenting, sending emails or tagging data, and more.

MailChimp may have some fantastic features, but it falls short before what ActiveCampaign has to offer. ActiveCampaign takes this segment.


One of the most essential things in deciding the right email marketing tool is the pricing of them. First, let’s take a look at the pricing of both MailChimp and ActiveCampaign.

ActiveCampaign (Lite)MailChimp
Free PlanNot available2,000 Contacts with 10,000 emails
5,000 Subscribers$ 69/month$ 49.99/month
10,000 Subscribers$ 111/month$ 74.99/month
25,000 Subscribers$ 179/month$ 189/month
50,000 Subscribers$ 239/month$ 259/month

From the table, we can see that though MailChimp offers free plans up to 2,000 subscribers, as the number of subscriber’s increases, both MailChimp and ActiveCampaign prices even out and for more than 25,000 ActiveCampaign pricing is less than MailChimp.

Here, the comparison is made between the ActiveCampaign Lite plan and MailChimp. The ActiveCampaign Lite has several sophisticated features missing like CRM, lead scoring that you can get with ActiveCampaign Plus, professional or Enterprise plan.

Choosing which one won depending on pricing is challenging. For small or medium-sized businesses, MailChimp offers the best pricing. On the other hand, for massive business campaigns, ActiveCampaign prices are lower and offer many more features. This makes the MailChimp a bit overpriced. So, ActiveCampaign takes the crown in this round.

Reasons for Marketing Automation Failure

Marketing automation tools are the wonders of modern technology. They can boost your business to the top level and expand your organization beyond expectations. But sometimes, the impact they have on your business can be quite the opposite if not used properly. Marketing automation can fail for many reasons. Let’s take a look at a few of them:

  1. No human touch  

Marketing automation tools mostly focus on email marketing. They send emails automatically to potential customers. Also, contribute to SMS marketing, social media marketing, etc. Many advanced automation tools feature email personalization based on individual customer’s tastes and choices. It is good because it offers diversity and avoids monotony.

But your email campaign as well as other campaigns might fail if you solely depend on automation tools to handle email marketing and whatnot. Many customers would decline messages if they feel like they are from machines. Check every now and then the contents of your email. Try sending a few emails on your own.

  • Failure in top of funnel foundation

Marketing automation platforms might not perform to its full potential without a steady flow of leads. If you don’t have proper inbound lead generation, you will not be able to take full advantage of the market you already have. Having a large contact database doesn’t necessarily mean you can nurture and find prospects.

Email addresses decay every year. You can’t rely on the current huge contact database to set up automation and launch your campaign. Some marketers end up buying leads which results in low ROI. Growing your contact database every now and then and making sure there is a steady lead generation can increase your marketing automation efficiency.

  • Lack of inbox personalization

Some components of online marketing are repetitive such as sending emails, social media posting, etc. Marketing automation tools are built on the purpose to ease up those repetitive tasks. They can send a few thousand emails at a time to potential buyers saving a huge amount of time and labor.

Without inbox personalization, email marketing could miss the mark by a huge margin. Advertisement of gaming headset wouldn’t generate any interest to a comic book fan. Or a 20 years old university going male is less likely to be interested in the best baking ingredients. Segmentation and personalization are important to get the right product to the right person.

  • Limited usage of marketing tools

One misuse of marketing tools is limiting the marketing channels only to emails. Even though they are focused on email-based marketing, they can do much more than. Receiving the same emails every week could become tedious for some customers and they might lose interest. It is one of the major reasons for marketing automation tools failure.

All the marketing automation tools offer multi-channel marketing. You can send emails, texts, notify them about ad campaigns simultaneously. Segment the ad channels based on customer preferences to achieve the best outcome. Score the contacts based on purchases, website visits and email opens. Properly planned execution of marketing tools can be the key to success.


While Activecampaign is the clear winner of Activecampaign vs. Mailchimp, that doesn’t mean it is suitable for everyone.

Activecampaign’s automation is more advanced, email marketing is much more sophisticated. An attribute worth mentioning is that they check the emails by a real agent to make sure it’s compliant and sounds more humane. Features like advanced CRM, SMS marketing, and e-commerce integration sets Activecampaign apart.

Mailchimp on the other hand has a simpler user interface. It is really suitable for beginners. Different customized templates offer more variations than Activecampaign and also it is really user friendly. Its exclusive feature is a landing page which many other marketing platforms do not offer.  

If you are an advanced user using automation tools for years and want to take your marketing to the next level, Activecampaign is your go-to marketing automation tool. But if you are a beginner owning a small business and willing to take the baby steps to expand your business, Mailchimp has more to offer than anything else.

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