ActiveCampaign Review - The Height of Automation?

steve lamattina

ActiveCampaign has been working towards having marketers send fewer email, while also allowing them to achieve better results. Boasting many features and integrations, as well as quick and friendly support, they do sound like a powerhouse newsletter marketing tool.

One of the most important features of this Chicago-based company is its automations. Not only does it allow autoresponders, based on myriad conditions, but it also allows automation of your contacts and list management, as well as automations within its CRM system (known as ‘Deals’). This ‘Deals’ system is also worth noting, and allows you to add notes to contacts, set up appointments or simply send direct messages to them. In addition to that, they recently launched a site messages feature. Using it you can send targeted messages straight to your website visitors.

And, while at first glance pages such as the Dashboard can seem a little busy and overly complicated, it’s not hard to understand how useful it is to have all your information in one place.

Let’s dive in and take a closer look at ActiveCampaign:

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Extremely powerful automation:

One of the best marketing automations out there. Not only extremely powerful but very easy to use.

Thorough reporting:

Offers reporting on all areas such as click-maps, geo-tracking and page visits. Only missing purchase-tracking.

Great support:

Fast and friendly support, with a great knowledge base. They also offer webinars, video tutorials and one-on-one training.

Features can be overwhelming:

This might only be considered a con if you’re after a quick and simple email solution. There are simpler newsletter services out there, so you may want to look elsewhere if this is all you need.

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Ease of Use

ActiveCampaign have a very user-friendly design, with menus being easily navigable. The dashboard, which could feel crowded if not designed correctly, has a useful ‘Getting Started’ slider to help new users. And it has demo data to give you an idea of how best to use sections. It may be a little complicated for the absolute beginner though.

Newsletter Creation


The editor is fast, and has a couple of handy features One is saving custom ‘blocks’ to reuse, and the other is allowing you to see changes other people have made, Google Docs-style. Although finding your last action to undo can be painstaking due to multiple auto-saves every minute! Another issue we had was in trying to create columns, this was needlessly finicky and didn’t give us the desired effect.



An easy to use If/Then/Else logic is available via ‘conditional content’ which allows you to show certain customers different content based on certain conditions like interests, links clicked in the past etc.

Email types

Classic newsletters, SMS, autoresponders, A/B testing, RSS triggered, birthdays (date-based).

Choice and Flexibility of Template Designs

ActiveCampaign have around 40 modern, responsive templates to choose from. You can handily preview them in another window. Other tools offer more template options, and also slightly more features/content blocks within the editor.

Email Automation

Their marketing automation really is the one to beat for newsletter tools. It’s extremely powerful, and very user-friendly, allowing you to automate follow-up campaigns, edit multiple conditions and much more. This is all done via an easy-to-use flow chart-style system. There are also pre-made ‘recipes’ for you to use, or get ideas from, otherwise you can start your own automation from scratch. Learn more in these video tutorials.

List Management

Compared to some other tools, managing contacts and lists is made much easier, and automated, due to being able to use their automation functions to organise people into lists. Learn more here.

Registration Forms/ Opt-in & Opt-out- Process

Easy to use, can create your own fields, and it also allows you to create floating forms. If you input the web address you want to add the form to, it even brings up the page in the background to see how it looks together. Simple but effective.

Reports and Analysis

Basically allows reporting on everything (opens, click-maps, page visits, geo-tracking) except for eCommerce, there is no purchase-tracking available.


The site is only available in English, yet they pick up points for the implementation of a volunteer translation site for multiple languages. You still have to search and implement these yourself though.

Further Features

Spam- and Design-Testing

These are both available. Spam testing is simply a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ that you get before you send out your campaign, yet there are no factors present to help understand the ruling. An email client preview is available, too, but at a price of $1 per test/client, which seems a bit steep.

Bounce Management


Soft bounces are counted as hard bounces after three times, and this then puts them in an exclusion list.



This is the aforementioned ‘exclusion list’. You can import contacts directly into this list, and export too.

Storage available for data and images


Images above 1000px will be downsized.

Pro Features



SPF and DKIM are supported.

Own Domain


It’s possible to use your own tracking domain to improve your newsletter’s company branding.

Different levels of account access


This is a very flexible system, without specific levels. You define the group names and also the exact access for each of those groups via tick-boxes.



ActiveCampaign offer a massive amount of integration options, such as PayPal, Shopify, Google Analytics, Facebook and WordPress. You shouldn’t have a problem finding what you need. Find all integrations here.

Landing Page Editor


This is not available.



Support is fast and friendly, via all mediums. Their knowledge base is particularly useful and easily searchable, I had very little difficulty finding relevant search results. They also have video tutorials available, webinars (live and archived) and one-on-one training on the ‘Plus’ plan.

Overall rating


ActiveCampaign is one of the most powerful newsletter tools on the market. Hardly missing a thing when it comes to features, and also simple enough for most people to make full use of them.

activecampaign-top-choiceIt’s really tough to fault ActiveCampaign, not only do they offer almost everything you need within a newsletter marketing tool, but they do it very well. The reporting offers you insight into almost all facets, such as page visits, geo-tracking, openers and more. The only thing lacking in that area is the ability to track purchases on your website. Another area that is slightly lacking is the newsletter editor, not offering an experience as slick as other tools out there, with a few niggling features that could be done better (like the revision history).

The support is as advertised: friendly, helpful and fast. Email and chat support are great, with a personal feel to the communications. Their knowledge base is easily searchable and actually returns relevant results a high percentage of the time. With their ‘Plus’ plan you even get access to one-on-one training and helpful webinars, which is a nice addition.

ActiveCampaign really are one of the best choices you could make if you’re looking for an all-in-one newsletter marketing tool. Their automation is the real deal, and makes other tool’s versions of this pale in comparison. You’ll need to be prepared to put in a bit of time, and perhaps spend a little more money, but your business will reap the rewards. If, on the other hand, you’re just looking for a simple way to blast out newsletters, a solution like GetResponse or MailerLite might be a bit easier to get your head around.

Try ActiveCampaign now for free for 15 days.

steve lamattina
His career has spanned across areas such as film, digital media and literature, with the tech and mobile world remaining a personal passion. Now he’s interested in sharing that passion for email marketing, through honest reviews and good content. Oh, and he’s Australian...but don’t hold that against him.

Latest Updates

25 Oct 2017 - ActiveCampaign changed prices
25 Apr 2017 - Site messaging added.
09 Aug 2016 - Minor text updates, top choice banner added.
10 Aug 2016 - Video review added.
09 Mar 2016 - Initial tests.
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  • Seb

    Hey, I am currently using Mailchimp but not too happy with their automations. Do you think Active Campaign will be easy for me to use?

    • Hi Seb, I know what you mean. It’s easy to set up an autoresponder with MailChimp but anything that’s a bit more complex can be painfully difficult. ActiveCampaign’s automations are the most powerful I’ve seen so far. I don’t find them complicated to use to be honest.
      The visual workflow makes it easy to set up even complex if/then/else dependencies. It took me a little while until I got the hang of it as they have such a huge number of functions. But that was well worth it!

  • Daniele Altieri

    i have heard of a MAJOR BUG that is a true problem and made me avoid AC: Subscribers present on different lists (say a past buyer of product A is also on a potential buyer list of product B, ie on a separate list which you target with offers). This person, being already a buyer, is by definition a very good lead but if he decides to delist himself from list B , he automatically is delisted from list A too!!!!!! You have lost a loyal buyer! Unacceptable.

  • Salina Hainzl

    I have been using Active Campaign for a year moving from Infusionsoft. I am now looking at moving to Klaviyo for its insider track with integrating with Shopify. AC integration is not easy to use, in the sense the order history sits in AC in vaccum.

    To create an abandoned cart recovery auto fires based on leads in shopify dropping off the cart, for example is not easy to deploy. Klaviyo is great for this sort of things, but it lacks landing pages and CRM. Its integration with others are limited, especially when it doesn’t play with Zapier or Piesync.

    I am looking at GetResponse – ticks most boxes but not decent shopify integration to provide insights to make auto cart recovery a reality. Just seems tough to find 1 size fits all for a small business 😉

    • Hi Salina, thanks for letting us know about your experience! I am afraid that we haven’t tested the Shopify integrations in detail yet so I can’t really advise you on that. But it’s definitely something we should look into in the future!

  • Alan Cox

    Thanks Steve – that was a very helpful review. And I’m also an Aussie so I can’t hold the fact that you’re an Aussie too against him. 🙂

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