ConvertKit vs ActiveCampaign: 2020 Showdown

Looking for a way to improve your marketing results, convert more leads, and earn extra revenue?

An automation tool will help you to do just that.

These services aren’t just there to do the hard work for you, they also improve the quality of your campaigns by allowing you to segment your audience, build beautiful email templates and more. You can even track the outcomes of your campaigns with A/B testing and reports.

People using automation have improved their conversion rates by up to 50%.

But which tool should you choose?

In 2020, the debate is usually ActiveCampain vs ConvertKit.

Why?

They’re both popular platforms, excellent for email marketing and visual list-building.

ActiveCampaign has been the go-to choice for quite a while. It’s been around since 2003, offering easy automation and handy A/B testing options.

However, ConvertKit has gradually built its presence in the background, starting from 2015. Rather than trying to capture the whole market, ConvertKit has maintained it’s differentiation by positioning itself as the ultimate platform for bloggers.

So, how do you know which one is right for you?

I set up a test account on both to give you the full behind-the-scenes run-down.

ConvertKit vs Active Campaign: Basic Features

ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit are pretty similar tools.

They both help you manage and build an email list with segmentation and tags. On both platforms, you can design an immersive automation strategy based on drag-and-drop triggers and events. Additionally, each option comes with sign-up forms and landing page templates for acquiring leads.

So, what do they do differently?

From what I can see, ActiveCampaign gives a more comprehensive overall experience, complete with stronger reporting and A/B testing options, and better email templates. On the other hand, ConvertKit prioritizes simplicity with basic tools and functionality that are great for beginners. There’s also more support for segmentation and integration with ConvertKit.

While both tools cover the essentials of automation tools, there are some critical differences in their feature sets.

Let’s take at Convertkit vs ActiveCampaign in detail.

Convertkit vs ActiveCampaign: Pricing

Let’s face it – we all have budgets to stick to.

ConvertKit offers both monthly and yearly billing, with prices based on the number of subscribers you have. For up to 1,000 people on your list, you’ll pay $29 per month, or $24 per month if you opt for

Convertkit Pricing

Every feature is included on every single plan – so you’re getting the same experience regardless of what you choose. The only thing you’re paying extra for is more subscribers. For me, that’s appealing because it makes pricing nice and transparent.

Now let’s look at ActiveCampaign’s pricing.

Activecampaign Pricing

Again, you’ve got four plans, although they’re a bit more customizable than they are with ConvertKit. You choose how many subscribers you want to manage, and the price changes from there.

Activecampaign Pricing Tiers

The plans are also different in the features they offer. The lowest tier gives you the basics for email marketing, but you’ll need to upgrade for better data integrations, sales automation, custom domains, and lead scoring.

One good thing?

You get free migration included, which means ActiveCampaign will help you move all your data and subscribers from another platform.

Winner

It’s a draw. All around, ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign appear to be pretty similar in price. For shoppers on a restrictive budget, try something like MailerLite (review), which is 100% free for up to 1000 subscribers.

ConvertKit vs ActiveCampaign: Automation

Now let’s look at the most valuable feature of ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit: Automation.

According to the DMA, over 75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns. Automated emails have a lot to offer.

In ConvertKit, your sequences are called “Automation”. You can automatically list subscribers in an automation as soon as they join your list.

Never designed an automation map before? No worries, ConvertKit offers blueprints to help you figure out what to do. You set your own rules for actions and triggers using “If this, then that” logic:

Convertkit automation rules

Honestly, even if you’re brand-new to automation, ConvertKit makes building your templates super easy. The visual interface is simple to use, and you can build out your campaigns any way you choose.

For instance, you could develop a funnel that sends subscribers unique content that isn’t on your blog, then pulls them back to your website. When the same subscriber makes a purchase, they might get another email thanking them and offering an upsell opportunity.

Convertkit Automation Builderpng

So, how does ActiveCampaign compare?

Well, like ConvertKit, you get a visual workflow builder for your automation – which is excellent.

Activecampaign Workflow Builder

The builder is once again very easy to use, featuring “if this, then that” logic. Additionally, it can be as complicated or simple as you like. You can even send your contacts automatically into different segments and campaigns when they complete a task.

Activecampaign Actions

Combine ActiveCampaign’s triggers and actions with intelligent site tracking, and your opportunities for marketing automation go through the roof.

Although the building experience can be a bit clunky in places, like taking you to a new page when you want to add a new email to your sequence, it is very comprehensive.

Additionally, unlike ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign gives you the option to combine your automation tools with a CRM integration to boost your sales.

Activecampaign Crm Integration

The sales and CRM offerings on ActiveCampaign come with lead scoring features, a Gmail extension and even machine learning tools to help you determine which of your campaigns perform best.

Activecampaign Gmail Extension

Obviously, the fact that ActiveCampaign is more comprehensive can also make it more challenging for some users. However, the extra effort can be worth it for a more in-depth campaign.

Winner

If you’re just looking for a basic email software with easy-to-use sequences, go for ConvertKit.

If you’ve got more complex sales funnels and customer segments to work with, ActiveCampaign is the best choice – even if it has a bit more of a learning curve.

ConvertKit vs ActiveCampaign Tagging & Segmentation

Automation is great.

However, for your sequences to be effective, you need to know how to split and segment your audience. Personalized emails do drive 6 times higher transaction rates, after all.

Let’s start by looking at ConvertKit’s approach to segmentation.

It’s definitely simple – you can choose three ways to import your subscribers, including taking lists from another application or importing a CSV.

Convertkit Import Subscribers

Once your people are loaded into your app, you can manage them with tags and segments.

Tags divide your leads and customers based on the actions they take. On the other hand, Segments organize your tags, which allow you to create audiences based on things like whether they bought a product, where they came from and so on.

It’s a very straightforward way to manage your contacts – but in my opinion, nowhere near as good at ActiveCampaign’s solution.

With ActiveCampaign, you can combine both lists and tags

Activecampaign Lists And Tags

Within your contacts list, you’ll be able to see everything you need to know about each of your subscribers, including which lists, and segments they belong to.

If you have multiple websites to manage, you can also isolate your subscribers for each business, and organize those lists separately. If you wanted to do that in ConvertKit, you’d need multiple accounts – pretty annoying.

The real magic of ActiveCampaign?

Combining the segmentation feature with the sales and tracking capabilities. You can tag subscribers based on what they do on your website, and even let your Sales team assign tasks to a contact depending on their behavior.

All the while, ActiveCampaign also comes with its own lead-scoring system to help you see which people have the best chance of becoming a customer.

Activecampaign Subscribers Managing Scoring

None of those features are offered in ConvertKit.

Winner

ActiveCampaign comes out on top with a more comprehensive strategy for tagging and segmentation. You can gather insights from website analytics and your CRM systems for more valuable segments.

ConvertKit vs ActiveCampaign: Forms and Landing Pages

So, how do you attract all the subscribers you want to add to your list?

Both ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign come with handy form-builders to play with.

ConvertKit comes with two-field forms where you can just collect names and addresses. You’ve also got the option to design full landing pages that automatically work with WordPress thanks to ConvertKit’s official plugin.

Convertkit Form & Landing Page

The forms available with ConvertKit are simple and straightforward. You can choose where you want to display them, including as inline boxes, dialog boxes, or slide-in features.

Convertkit Form Builder

There’s also a lot of different templates to choose from for your landing pages, and you can sort your options by categories like “eBook” or “Video”:

Convertkit Landing Page Templates

There’s very little to complain about with ConvertKit here. The landing pages and forms are simple to build and customize and adding them to your website is a breeze.

The only reason ConvertKit falls behind ActiveCampaign in this aspect is that ActiveCampaign offers a fourth pop-up box style: The floating bar.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t test that feature out, because it’s only available for paid plans:

Activecampaign Form Builder

With just the Inline form to explore, I still felt pretty comfortable using the builder. You can add custom fields like checkboxes and CAPTCHA to your forms for security reasons and to prevent spam. There’s also the option to add custom styling with CSS too.

Activecampaign Form Builder

Also, ActiveCampaign offers some additional ways to reach your audiences that you don’t get with ConvertKit, including:

  • Facebook audience interactions
  • SMS messages
  • Site messages (chatbots)

Winner

I honestly feel a little uncomfortable giving ActiveCampaign the win here, just because I didn’t get a chance to test out their advanced tool myself. However, it’s hard to argue with the fact that they do offer more options for landing pages and forms – even if you do have to pay to use them. 

If you’re looking for something that’s going to turbo-charge your lead generation strategy, then try OptinMonster or Thrive Leads (review) instead. These options provide dedicated lead generation strategies, whereas most form builders from email marketing tools are just add-on features.

ConvertKit vs ActiveCampaign: A/B Testing and Analytics

Once you’ve got your landing pages, email sequences and segments set up – you need to get testing.

Tracking and analyzing your emails is the best way to make sure that you’re getting the most ROI out of your campaigns.

Now, when researching this article, I found plenty of people talking about how ConvertKit gives you plenty of analytics and reporting tools. However, when I used the service for myself, I couldn’t find much of anything.

When you set up a sequence, you can see the basics on things like click-rate, unsubscribes, open rate, and subscribers – but that’s it:

Convertkit A/B Testing

In terms of A/B testing, if you want to see how two different emails perform, you’ll need to go into your Broadcasts tab, and turn the A/B option on at the side of your subject line:

Convertkit Broadcast Ab Testing

That’s the only support you’ll get for split-testing, but it should be enough to at least test your subject lines. I’m not sure if there’s a way to test anything else in your content – but if there is, I couldn’t find it.

ActiveCampaign is far more comprehensive when it comes to A/B testing and analytics.

Activecampaign Split Testing

Starting with split testing, you have two options. You can either test the form information and email subject lines, or you can test the performance of your entire automation sequence.

Activecampaign Split Test Types

To test your entire sequence, simply at the “Split” action to your workflow:

Activecampaign Split Action

You’ll be able to choose exactly how you want to split your contacts.

What’s more, you’ll also be able to choose a winner in your test both after the campaign is finished, and also when it’s running.

Activecampaign Determine Winning Message

ActiveCampaign gives you a lot of control over how your criteria should play out – which is very helpful. This feature can give a lot of value to your business.

When it comes to reporting and analytics, ActiveCampaign also has plenty of features to offer, including the option to track the engagement of your site visitors and create actionable items. This ensures that you can send the most relevant and personal emails to your subscribers.

ActiveCampaign takes the guesswork out of figuring out what your audience wants and needs from you. Ultimately – that’s what email analytics is all about.

Activecampaign Ab Test Reporting

Additionally, so you can make the most out of your personalized campaigns, ActiveCampaign also gives you the option to save records about your customers.

You can use those records alongside your CRM and Sales information to give you more in-depth insights into your target audience.

Even better? The tool is GDPR compliant, so you don’t have to worry about collecting too much personal data and getting your brand into trouble.

Winner

ActiveCampaign is the 100% winner in reporting, analytics, and A/B testing. 

Perhaps I was missing something with ConvertKit because I only had access to a free account. However, I couldn’t find any way to delve deeper into my analytics.

ConvertKit vs ActiveCampaign: Ease of Use and Deliverability

Before you jump into investing in either piece of software, it’s worth getting an idea of how easy both tools are to use. Both come with a free trial option – so that’s handy if you want to test them without committing (like me).

Additionally, both ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign offer plenty of integrations so you can embed the tools that you already use into your email automation workflow.

So, how do they compare head-to-head?

One thing you can’t argue with for ConvertKit is how simple it is to use.

Everything you need is right there in your access bar from the moment you log in:

Convertkit Access Bar

Plus, throughout the site, you’ll find plenty of easy drag-and-drop functionality.

It seems as though this entire tool was built expressly for less technical users.

However, in my opinion, the simplicity goes a little too far – particularly when it comes to things like your email templates.

For instance, here’s what you get to choose from when you’re setting up a broadcast

Is that it?!

With so many different landing pages available, I thought there would be at least a handful of more attractive templates to try out in the email section.

While we all want simplicity for our automated campaigns, there’s a limit to how basic you want to go.

ActiveCampaign, on the other hand, is a little more comprehensive.

As soon as you login to the system, you get access to your main dashboard, which is packed full of things that you can do.

Activecampaign Dashboard Ui

It’s a little more cluttered on ActiveCampaign than on ConvertKit, but that’s because you have more functionality to play with.

If you click the Getting Started widget at the top of your screen, the tool will guide you through some of the initial steps you need to take when launching your initial campaigns. It’ll even walk you through creating your first opt-in form.

The dashboard also has a host of customizable widgets to check out so you can see how all of your campaigns are performing with the latest stats and check on any tasks you’ve set for yourself.

Activecampaign Widget Customization

When it comes to email templates, ActiveCampaign also has a lot more to offer. There are plenty of attractive options to choose from, or you can opt to build something unique entirely from scratch.

Activecampaign Templates Library

When it comes to deliverability, ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign are very similar. Here are the results that AuthorityHacker got from their tests:

ToolsOpen RateInboxTabsSpamMissing
Active-Campaign-Logo34.6%65.7%23.9%9%1.5%
AWeber30.10%
Constant-Contact-Logo34.4%89.6%6%1.5%3%
ConvertKit-Logo39%85.1%1.5%13.4%0%
Drip-Logo36.1%91%1.5%7.5%0%
GetReponse34.77%71.6%4.5%17.9%4.5%
Mailchimp logo35.7%84.8%7.6%6.1%1.5%

Remember, deliverability rate can be complicated, as they often rely on a lot of different factors. Don’t get too caught up on these figures when making your choice.

Winner

If you’re looking for simplicity above all else, then ConvertKit might be the kind of tool you’re looking for. 

I felt that ActiveCampaign was the much better choice in terms of usability though. There is a lot more to work through, but the dashboard is clean and straightforward. Plus, you’ve got a lot more options with templates too.

ConvertKit Vs ActiveCampaign: Customer Support

Finally, let’s look at the kind of help you can get from both tools.

After all, we all need a little support sometimes.

ConvertKit offers the option to either “open a ticket” for customer support or check out the help center for articles and guides.

Convertkit Support Contact

There’s no option for chat, or even to phone a representative, which seems a little nerve-wracking. Saying that, the knowledgebase is pretty comprehensive, and there are plenty of workshops that you can check out if you want to learn how to use ConvertKit from scratch.

Alternatively, ActiveCampaign offers email and live chat support, along with weekly training webinars where you can get to grips with the basic features of the software.

If you’re lost and confused, then you can consider booking a one-on-one training session with a rep, and you should be able to find plenty of videos and guides to help you out in the “Education” section of your dashboard too.

Activecampaign Education Section

The Live Chat support takes a little while to deliver a direct response to your question, but you can expect that from virtually any company these days. Someone will get back to you, usually within five minutes or less:

Activecampaign Live Support

You can also check where you are in the queue when waiting for a response – so you know how much longer you’re going to be on hold.

Winner

Both ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit are similar in the support they offer. Unfortunately, ConvertKit seems to be more do-it-yourself, than ActiveCampaign.

With ActiveCampaign, you can access Live Chat, email, and more. There’s even an option to set up an in-person training session if you live in Chicago, which is very impressive.

ConvertKit or ActiveCampaign: Which One to Choose

As marketing automation tools, both ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit offer plenty of useful features, and they’re priced pretty reasonably too.

However, each option has its pros and cons to consider.




Convertkit Logo Horizontal

Choose ConvertKit if…

You’re looking for a simple and straightforward solution for managing your subscribers, setting up email automation, and managing your triggers. Pricing is transparent, there’s plenty of support from DIY guides and articles, and the simplicity in the service is unbeatable.Click here to start your free trial today.




Active Campaign

Choose ActiveCampaign if…

You need something more comprehensive to manage your campaigns. ActiveCampaign comes with better email templates, a wider range of forms to choose from, and more in-depth analytics too.

If you need an extensive dashboard and lots of options for customizing and upgrading your emails, this is the tool for you.

In my opinion, ActiveCampaign has the obvious edge. It’s about the same price as ConvertKit and offers a much more complete user experience. You’ll be able to learn more from your campaigns, and access better templates and sign-up forms too.

ActiveCampaign does have a bit of a steeper learning curve to consider, but with so much customer support available, you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting used to it. You can always set up a one-on-one training session if you need to.

The only reason I’d suggest using ConvertKit is if you’re looking for streamlined simplicity, with fewer options and simple functionality. ActiveCampaign is the best choice for flexibility and performance.

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