ActiveCampaign Review: Features, User-Experience and Pricing

By: Puranjay Singh   Last updated: 12 March 2018

ActiveCampaign offers affordable marketing and sales automation. With a built-in CRM, on-site messaging and text messaging, ActiveCampaign gives everything a small business, startup or blogger might need for marketing. Although it's misisng some features, the low price makes it a great solution for small businesses.



Pricing & Support


Best for: Small businesses, SaaS startups, small agencies, bloggers

Plans from: $17/month

ActiveCampaign Review Overview

ActiveCampaign fills a niche for businesses who want an all-in-one marketing automation software but have neither the budget nor the team size for Infusionsoft or HubSpot. Think of it as an Ontraport alternative that is geared more towards marketers than business owners and solopreneurs.

Like Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign is also an "all-in-one" marketing tool. That is, it has features to handle every stage of the customer lifecycle, from capturing leads to turning them into buyers.

Broadly speaking, ActiveCampaign's features cover the following:

  • Email marketing
  • Marketing automation
  • Sales automation and CRM

Let me preface this review by saying that none of the features listed above are best-in-class. There are better email marketing tools than ActiveCampaign (my recommendation: ConvertKit). There are better marketing automation tools (InfusionSoft). And there are certainly better sales and CRM tools (Salesforce).

What ActiveCampaign has working in its favor, however, is its closely integrated design and approachability. Marketing automation software is notoriously difficult to use. ActiveCampaign brings a ConvertKit-like ease of use to this category.

Another thing ActiveCampaign has going for it is low price. You don't need thousands of dollars to start using this software. The cheapest plan starts at just $17/month. There is no onboarding or training cost. And you only pay on a monthly basis - no annual contract.

All of this makes AC one of my favorite marketing automation tools.

About ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign feels like a younger company, but it has actually been around since 2003. With just under 100 employees, it is run like the kind of business it serves: small, but fast growing.

ActiveCampaign has raised just $20M in private equity. It is clearly not an industry behemoth like Salesforce or a near-unicorn like Infusionsoft. It is a small business slowly evolving into a medium-sized business.

Should the company's decidedly "startup" profile worry you?

If you are an enterprise customer, the answer might be yes. Enterprise businesses usually work best with other enterprise businesses. If that describes you, pick something like Salesforce or Eloqua.

For other businesses, however, ActiveCampaign represents a decidedly non-Silicon Valley approach to tech business (it's run out of Chicago) - small, stable with a focus on profitability over growth. The business has been around for nearly 15 years; it's going to be around in the future too.

Review Methodology

As always, my ActiveCampaign review focuses on three core things:

  • Marketing automation capabilities and features
  • User-experience, pricing and support
  • Insight from industry professionals gathered through surveys and conversations

Understand that the rating reflects how appropriate I feel the software is for its target audience, not the average user. If I give a software a 5 star rating and say that it's audience is "enterprise companies", it means that I have discounted things like pricing (which doesn't really matter to enterprise customers). Instead, I've focused more on what enterprise customers would want.

I also run a marketing agency where I deal with a number of marketing automation cases. A lot of insight and opinions come from my personal experience using and testing these tools and their use cases.

ActiveCampaign Review: Features

ActiveCampaign's marketing automation features is powerful, just not as powerful as more expensive alternatives like Salesforce. It does have a few standout features that others don't (such as on-site messaging and tracking).

Likewise, the sales automation and CRM features are limited; you won't be "blown away" by anything. But the usability means you will be more likely to want to use it. Some built-in sales features such as email tracking come in very handy.

Although email remains a focal point of the software, the email editor leaves a lot to be desired. Still, most businesses won't have much to complain about given the price.

Let's look at ActiveCampaign's features in more detail below.

What I like

  • Marketing automation builder is superbly user-friendly
  • Built-in email capability in CRM is particularly useful
  • On-site tracking and messaging is a welcome feature
  • Email analytics are top-notch

What I don't like

  • Email builder is clunky and difficult to use
  • No way to build landing pages
  • CRM can get overwhelming with a lot of contacts
  • No shopping cart, payment processor, and limited integrations

1. Marketing Automation Builder Works Great

ActiveCampaign's automation builder has just the right mix of ease-of-use and features that makes me actually want to use it. Like any visual editor, you can drag-drop elements and automation rules to create complicated workflows.

You get a lot of room for customization for each element. You can instruct ActiveCampaign to wait to send emails until a specific event is fulfilled (such as a user visiting a 'thank you' page). You can use if/then rules to define automation logic and create complex workflows. You can even use webhhooks to automatically extract data.

Screenshot of ActiveCampaign automation builder

ActiveCampaign's marketing automatin builder has a friendly user-interface and tons of automation options

2. Ready Made Automations from Automation Marketplace

Don't want to go through the trouble of making automations from scratch?

ActiveCampaign has a solution: the automation marketplace.

Marketers can sell their custom automations in this marketplace. You can buy an automation (many are free) and plug it straight into your automation builder.

Essentially, you get a high-converting, proven workflow in minutes. The downside is that importing a custom automation into the automation builder can buggy.

Activecampaign automation marketplace

Above: some of the automations available in the automation marketplace

3. In-Depth Email Segmentation

Salesforce Marketing Cloud has the best segmentation capabilities among automation tools, but in terms of usability, you can't beat ActiveCampaign.

You can segment your list based on a number of conditions - country of origin, device, email opens, page visits, etc. You can then stack multiple conditions to get a highly targeted list.

Further, you can dynamically add tags to create segments automatically. For instance, you can set up an automation rule to add every customer who visits the "thank you" page to a "Customers" list.

activecampaign email segmentation

Chaining multiple segmentation rules together helps you zero-in on your target audience. Above: the segment is based on contact location, visited URLs and tags.

4. Personalized/Dynamic Content in Emails is Very Promising

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Pull your latest blog posts via RSS and add them to a newsletter
  • Pull content from any webpage and add it to an email template
  • Create personalized content based on the subscriber's location, segment, etc.

I'll admit it - I don't use it much, but it's better than a lot of competitors.

Adaptive content in ActiveCampaign

You can use conditional content blocks to target people who fit a certain tag, location or existing segment.

5. Split Testing Built-in

One of my biggest pet peeves with Infusionsoft is the lack of built-in split testing. If you're going to increase your open/CTR rates, testing is a must.

This isn't a problem with ActiveCampaign. Split testing is a core feature in the email tool.

Besides basic A/B testing, you can customize how many contacts receive which variant. Once you have a winner, you can automatically use it for the rest of the campaign.

It's fast, intuitive and works well with the automation builder.

Split testing in Activecampaign

You can plug split tests into your automation flow. In the above example, automation would would run only until 100 contacts have been split.

6. Site Event Tracking and Messaging

With ActiveCampaign, you can track site activity by installing a piece of code on a page. Once installed, ActiveCampaign will track everyone who visits the site and what actions they perform (including custom events).

This gives you data on whether someone filled a form, clicked a link or watched a video (and if yes, then for how long). Think of it as an enhanced version of Google Analytics' on-page data.

Once you've captured the data, you can plug it into the automation builder to create complex automations. For instance, you can track a blog post and only target users who've watched an embedded video.

Additionally, you can also use ActiveCampaign to show site messages (such as helpful information or support links).

Event tracking in ActiveCampaign

You can see each contact's site activity in the CRM. This gives you individual-level insight to how people are using your site.

7. SMS Marketing Built-in

Two features I particularly like about ActiveCampaign: you can send automated text messages and your readers can subscribe via SMS.

The only other tool I know that offers built-in SMS capability is Ontraport. And even that doesn't allow users to subscribe via text message.

If you run a local business, this is a powerful promotion tool. You likely already use SMS to send promos. Now you can use the same to get more subscribers to your list.

SMS marketing in ActiveCampaign />
                <div style=

Above: an example of SMS marketing in ActiveCampaign

8. Useful Sales Automation Features

ActiveCampaign's CRM is good, not great. You get a decent amount of insight. With the new 'Deals', it also doubles up as a Trello-like projecct management tool - though I'm not sure if this feature was really necessary.

One feature I like is automated lead scoring. ActiveCampaign automatically assigns a score to each lead based on its likelihood to convert. This way you can direct your resources to your best opportunities.

You can also send and track emails from within the CRM. I know most salespeople prefer Gmail, but for those who don't, this is a big timesaver.

Pipeline management in ActiveCampaign

New features such as pipeline/deal management (pictured above) add to feature bloat.

9. Social and Behavioral Data in CRM

Here's a feature I like a lot: ActiveCampaign's marketing automation CRM shows social and behavioral data for each contact.

You get all of this data in the CRM:

  • Social feeds
  • Past interactions and site activity
  • Location and behavioral data, including age and interests

Few automation tools offer the same level of insight in the CRM. You can use this data to create more complex automations.

Contact management in ActiveCampaign

Above: the contact management screen in ActiveCampaign shows the location and social profiles for each user.

10. Missing E-commerce/Payment Features

An all-in-one marketing tool that doesn't let you sell products or accept payments is essentially missing the final stage of the buyer's journey.

This is one complaint I have with ActiveCampaign. Unlike Infusionsoft, there is no way to create order forms or add a shopping cart to your website. You also can't accept payments easily; you have to rely on third-party integrations.

Activecampaign chrome extension

Extra features such as the Chrome extension (pictured above) make up for the lack of a few critical features.

11. Limited Integrations

ActiveCampaign has about 150 integrations and apps. This is substantially lower than InfusionSoft's nearly 600 integrations.

For most businesses, this shouldn't be a problem. But if you use slighlty obscure software, you'll struggle to find an integration.

Thankfully, you get API access so you can create custom integrations yourself.

Integrations in Activecampaign

Some of the approximately 150 integrations available in ActiveCampaign.

ActiveCampaign Review: Complete Features List

ActiveCampaign offers limited features in the starting plan (Lite). To get most features, you'll have to upgrade to the Plus plan at the very least. To access site messaging, you'll have to get the Professional plan.

That said, feature availability is fairly robust across different plans. Even the cheapest Lite plan gives you email marketing and marketing automation tools.

Let's see how ActiveCampaigns's features compare against competitors in the marketing automation space:

Availability Feature Description

Visual Automation Builder

ActiveCampaign has a visual automation campaign builder.

In-Depth Segmentation

You can source data from multiple sources and chain conditions for in-depth segmentation.

Mobile Optimized Templates

ActiveCampaign's opt-in forms, landing pages and emails are mobile-optimized.

Content Management

ActiveCampaign doesn't have any content management capabilities built-in.

A/B Testing

Split testing is a native feature in ActiveCampaign.

Built-in CRM

ActiveCampaign has a fully-functional built-in CRM.

Content Predictions/Recommendations

ActiveCampaign supports dynamic content but personalization capabilities are otherwise limited.

E-Commerce Capabilities

ActiveCampaign doens't offer shopping carts or order forms.

Membership Sites

ActiveCampaign does not offer any membership sites.

Text Messages and Postcards

You can send automated text messages but not postcards.


Email Deliverability

ActiveCampaign's email deliverability remains high. Enterprise users can use custom mailservers for even higher deliverability.



The number of built-in integrations is limited (~150).

Payment Processing

There is no built-in payment processor in ActiveCampaign.

Affiliate Program Management

There is no support for creating/managing a referral or affiliate programs


If there's one thing you can take away from this ActiveCampaign review, it's that this software does a lot of things well, but nothing exceptionally well.

The automation campaign builder is a delight to use. The CRM is user-friendly. Email analytics are top-notch.

There are also a bunch of features other competitors lack, such as automated text messaging, site messaging and site tracking. All of these plug right into the automation builder. This gives you tons of data for creating complex automation workflows.

At the same time, there are a few missing features. You don't get a landing page builder, nor do you get any order forms or payment processing. You will have to rely on third-party tools to manage these. This takes away from ActiveCampaign's tag of being an "all-in-one" marketing tool.

The bottomline: ActiveCampaign's marketing automation capabilities are strong. It also offers great segmentation and sales automation features. At the same time, missing order forms and landing pages makes it just shy of being an "all-in-one" tool.

ActiveCampaign Review: User-Experience

I place a premium on UI/UX in any software. I've experienced it first hand in my agency - if the software is too complicated, people tend to not use it. User-experience, not features, is often the factor in any successful software deployment.

When evaluating user-experience, I think from the perspective of the software's target audience. In ActiveCampaign's case, this would be small businesses, startups and serious bloggers. These users usually don't have large teams to help them run the software. Consequently, they rely a lot on a DIY spirit to get up and running.

For this class of users, a strong user-experience is particularly important.

Here's my evaluation of ActiveCampaign's user-experience.

What I like

  • Clean, minimalist UI
  • The automation builder
  • Segmentation in (almost) every tool

What I don't like

  • Email editor is clunky
  • List-based emails undermine CRM features
  • Strong UI can't hide poor UX

1. User-Friendly Automation Builder

The ActiveCampaign automation builder is one of the most user-friendly solutions in the market. You get a ton of automation options and you can drag-drop them to create some pretty complex workflows.

Even better, the automation builder gathers data from all other parts of ActiveCampaign. So if you made a list in your CRM based on social data, you can easily plug it into the automation builder.

Most people won't need any training or documentation at all to use the automation builder, and that's high praise.

ActiveCampaign email sequence builder

Clear labels and colors help you quickly understand any automation flow at a glance.

2. Good Looking Software

Although it has a decided lack of "fun" (thanks for ruining me, Slack), ActiveCampaign looks good. The UI is polished and sophisticated. Most features are easy to access. The blue color theme also looks nice.

It definitely looks like a product from 2017, not a reskinned tool from the 2000s.

Activecampaign dashboard

The dashboard gives you a lot of insight about your marketing performance in a single glance. And it looks good.

3. Intuitive Segmentation

One of my favorite ActiveCampaign features is its segmentation capabilities. You can add virtually unlimited segments in nearly every aspect of your marketing.

The good part is that creating segments feels very intuitive. The simple if-then workflow is something most users will "get" immediately. Since ActiveCampaign automatically gathers all contact data, you can create segments for virtually any target group.

Segmentation builder in Activecampaign

You can create multiple segments like the one pictured above to narrow down on a targeted audience.

4. Sending an Email Requires Building a List

Here's a user-experience problem: if you want to send a broadcast email, you have to first create a list (or select a pre-existing list).

This sounds reasonable - most email marketing tools follow the same approach.

The problem is that ActiveCampaign has a built-in CRM. You should be able to send emails based on CRM segments and forego the list making requirements altogether.

But instead, you have to go through a few additional steps to create a list, completely undermining the CRM. This is a remanant of older, pre-CRM design that I hope changes soon enough.

Screenshot of email list selection in activecampaign

Despite the existence of the CRM, the first thing you have to do before sending a broadcast email is to select a list.

5. Email Editor is Very Clunky

If you want to send a text email, you'll find ActiveCampaign painful to use.

The email editor is, simply put, poorly designed. You have to drag-drop elements into the template before you can start writing your emails. Somehow, the drag-drop process is neither smooth nor intuitive (unlike MailChimp which has a pretty solid template editor).

Making users go through the entire template creation process just to send a simple text email is just bad user-experience.

Email editor in Activecampaign

Above: ActiveCampaign's email editor.

6. Occasional Speed Issues

I value speed a lot in my software and ActiveCampaign scores poorly on this count. Occassionally, switching between tools will lead to a loading screen that lasts for several seconds.

I know this isn't a dealbreaker, but in 2017, I've come to expect speed from my software. A few random niggles really detract from the overall user-experience.

Activecampaign speed issues />
                <div style=

As Brian Harris of VideoFruit points out, you'll see loading screens like this one a lot.


I'll be honest: ActiveCampaign's UI design led me to believe that I will get a similarly polished UX.

But while the automation builder and segmentation capabilities are great, the overall UX is rather clunky. The email editor is a pain to use and speed really bog down the app experience. Some baffling product decisions - the focus on building a project management tool, for instance - also don't inspire confidence.

Another complaint is the strange focus on lists for sending emails, even though there is a perfectly usable CRM. The lack of a landing page builder and the rather sterile-looking email form templates is a sore point as well.

As a positive, despite the UX issues, ActiveCampaign is surprisingly easy to use. Most features simply feel intuitive. Most users can get around the app without consulting the documentation.

To sum it up: ActiveCampaign looks good and boasts probably the best automation builder in the market (in terms of usability). But speed issues and minor (and easily fixable) UX issues affect the user-experience. Overall, it remains one of the easier automation tools to use on the market.

ActiveCampaign Review: Pricing, Support, and Community

Pricing: Generally speaking, complex, all-in-one marketing software like Infusionsoft or HubSpot cost a lot. They also require a yearly commitment and sometimes, an expensive onboarding process. Simpler email-focused automation software like ConvertKit, on the other hand, is typically more affordable with much lower initial commitment. ActiveCampaign falls somewhere between the two.

I evaluate pricing based on upfront cost, annual costs, price creep and feature availability across plans.

Support Usually, the more complex the software, the more support you'll need. Marketing automation is generally a complex category of software. Consequently, many tools offer free or paid onboarding along with regular support and training. I evaluate tools based on quality, depth and speed of the support.

Comunity is an important but often overlooked factor. A vibrant community means that you get access to insight, learning and networking opportunities. It also means that it's easier to find freelancers and consultants to work with the software.

Let's see how ActiveCampaign fares on these counts below.

ActiveCampaign Pricing

ActiveCampaign the cheapest tool on our marketing automation software list. But this "cheapest" price is somewhat misleading; if you want all the features and have a decent number of subscribers (10k+), you will have to pay a fairly steep monthly fee.

Essentially, pricing is based on what plan you choose and how many subscribers you have. The cheapest plan costs $70/month for 10,000 subscribers, but doesn't have all the features. The more advanced plan - Plus - costs substantially more at $175/month.

While this price creep is significant from plan to plan, there is no paid onboarding or annual contract. You can also sign-up without speaking to sales - a plus in my book.

Let's look at different ActiveCampaign plans below:

Plan Pricing Billing Period No. of Contacts Onboarding Fee Min. Total



1 month






1 month






1 month






1 month




A few things to keep in mind:

  • There is an annual contract.
  • There is no onboarding.
  • There is no limit on the number of emails you can send each month.
  • "Lite" plan has very limited features.

ActiveCampaign pricing increases with the number of subscribers. The jump is not linear; the more subscribers you have, the lower your monthly bill.

Here's a look at the pricing for each plan with 1k, 5k, 10k and 25k subscribers. As you'll notice, with 10k subscribers and the full-featured plan, you're looking at a substantial bill of $350/month - not cheap at all.

Plan 1k subs 5k subs 10k subs 25k subs





















ActiveCampaign Competitor Pricing Comparison

How does ActiveCampaign stack up against its chief competitors? Below, I've compared the cheapest plans across key competitors:

Software Cheapest Plan Min. Billing Period Onboarding Fee Min. Total








1 month



Eloqua Most Expensive


12 months





12 Months



Infusionsoft Best Value


12 months





12 Months





1 month





12 months





1 month



I chose InfusionSoft as the "best value" since it has the most comprehensive list of features for marketing automation at the lowest possible price tag (for the features you get).

While ActiveCampaign's initial price is low, your bill will go up substantially once you cross 10k subscribers and need all the features. Some of the competitors on this list, on the other hand, offer all the features with every plan.

Bottomline: ActiveCampaign is really affordable to try with plans starting at just $17/month (or even $9/month if you have under 500 subscribers). However, if you want to get any utility from the software and have a decent-sized list, expect to pay at least over $100 each month. Fortunatley, there is no expensive onboarding.

Not terribly expensive, but not cheap either.


Like many companies its size, ActiveCampaign does not offer any phone support - not even an option to purchase paid support.

You do, however, get live chat and email support, both of which are surprisingly fast. I was able to get a response in under two hours for my email.

Besides the usual, there are two things you should know:

  • ActiveCampaign offers 1:1 training for users of Plus plan and up
  • You can also request for free migration if you're coming from another service

If you use the Enterprise plan, you get a lot more support options, including a dedicated account rep, automation strategy consultation, uptime SLA, and free phone support.

As for self-support, ActiveCampaign's documentation and content is good, but not as in-depth as some of the competitors (notably, HubSpot). The training webinars are a great source of learning, but the guides and videos focus too much on ActiveCampaign's features and not the general "how" and "why" of marketing automation.

To sum it up:

  • Live chat and email support is fast and knowledgeable
  • Free data migration and 1:1 training are welcome features
  • There is no phone support for most users
  • Training and educational content are average at best

Overall, ActiveCampaign's support is good enough for most users, but if you are completely new to marketing automation, the lack of hand-holding might can be overwhelming.

In either case, be prepared to spend at least a week going through documentation and watching webinars to get a hang of the software and marketing automation in general.


Community is ActiveCampaign's weakest feature. While its competitors are busy hosting conferences, meetups and live training events, ActiveCampaign only offers a forum, a Slack community chat, and a Facebook group.

Consequently, whatever live events or meetups you might attend are all community created and curated. There is no support from the parent company for it.

I hope this changes in the near future. I know a lot of marketers who enjoy using the product, but the lack of community outreach means there isn't nearly enough noise and enthusiasm for ActiveCampaign online.

One good thing I should mention is ActiveCampaign's list of "certified experts". If you need marketing consultation, these experts are a good place to start your search.


ActiveCampaign's pricing makes it incredibly cheap to try. Thanks to zero onboarding fees and annual contracts, you can start using the software for as little as $9/month.

Don't think that's going to be your final price, however. The cheapest plan lacks several core features. Price also goes up as your number of subscribers increase. To access most features, you'll have to pay a couple of hundred dollars at least.

Of course, this is substantially lower than Infusionsoft or HubSpot's upfront price tag, and miles away from what Eloqua charges ($24,000 upfront). Most serious users should expect to pay about $2,856 each year ($238/month).

As for support, it's all that you'd expect from a company of this size and maturity. Email and live chat support is strong, but the lack of phone support is a negative. There is plenty of training, however, so you won't have a hard time getting started.

As for the community, things can be much, much better. A forum and a Facebook group does not a community make. A few meetups, some live events and perhaps a conference would go a long way towards fostering a community.

In short:

  • Pricing: Affordable with very low initial investment Excellent
  • Support: Fast support response but no phone support Good
  • Community: Small, poorly visible community Poor

Alternatives to ActiveCampaign


An expensive but feature-rich ActiveCampaign alternative that offers an all-in-one marketing solution



Affordable and user-friendly email marketing automation with limited features. Designed for bloggers.



Affordable, small business-focused marketing automation with an easy to use interface and strong email capabilities.


ActiveCampaign Review: Final Verdict

ActiveCampaign has a lot of great things. It's marketing automation builder is delightfully easy to use. The CRM is good and improving rapidly. You get a lot of options for creating in-depth segments. Plus, the on-site tracking and messaging features are a welcome addition.

A few poor UX and product decisions, however, make ActiveCampaign not as good to use as you might expect. There is a general sense of misdirection and feature bloat. The project management/pipeline management tool in the CRM, for instance, seems like something best left to standalone alternatives.

Similarly, some minor speed and UX issues make this a 3.5/5 software instead of a 4.5/5 tool.

On the pricing front, the initial price is low but misleading. Any serious user can expect to pay at least $100/month, though the lack of paid onboarding is much welcome.

Lastly, the support is good but the community is dormant.

To summarize, ActiveCampaign is good for marketing automation, but don't expect it to be a complete all-in-one marketing solution. If you want to get started with marketing automation, this is a great product to use, especially if selling things online is not a goal (or if you already have a shopping cart/payment processor).

SaaS startups, serious bloggers, small businesses, agencies and infopreneuers will appreciate ActiveCampaign. If you have separate sales and marketing teams, however, pick a more full-featured alternative.

Choose ActiveCampaign if you:

  • Need heavy segmentation capabilities
  • Want an easy to run automation campaign builder
  • Are comfortable with self-learning
  • Run a very small (1-5 people at most) marketing team

Not sure if ActiveCampaign is for you? Check out some ActiveCampaign Alternatives such as ConvertKit and Ontraport.