ActiveCampaign Vs Mailchimp

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Email Marketing: ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp

Email marketing campaigns are an indispensable tool for any digitally integrated business, allowing you to communicate with customers and ensuring your business regularly is front of mind.

Mailchimp has been the long-reining, most widely-used platform for all emailing solutions, however, ActiveCampaign is the new kid on the block causing a stir.

Our team at Digital Pie has a wealth of experience in the realm of email campaigns. We’ve tested both platforms so you can determine which one works best for you and your business!

active vs mailchimp


Without a doubt, ActiveCampaign offers a more comprehensive service than Mailchimp – however, depending on your requirements, this isn’t a bad thing! Both platforms deliver a broad range of services, although ActiveCampaign does offer more specialised features.

Email Templates and Fonts

Good design is good business – the days of bulk, stuffy, impersonal emails are behind us. Choosing the right aesthetic to communicate your business’s brand personality is important when communicating with your customers. We’ve reviewed each platform’s email templates to determine which one offers succinct, seamless design solutions.

Active Campaign offers 250+ email templates that offer expertly crafted, modern and minimalistic designs.

Mailchimp offers 100+ customisable email templates. However, some of the designs could be updated with modern design trends.

Results: ActiveCampaign 

ActiveCampaign offers an impressive library of striking templates that cater more to modern design needs, whilst also being functional and offering plenty of template options.

Types of Emails

ActiveCampaign has six campaign types available to send to your email subscription database. 

    1. Standard: this form of email campaign can be sent immediately or scheduled for a future time/date. Typically this form of campaign is used to notify your subscribers of a sale and is also useful for newsletters.
    2. Automated: this is a quick and easy format allowing you to create fully automated campaigns that align with the goals of your business. This tool is useful if you are wanting to create a drip campaign or automate aspects of managing your contacts. 
    3. Auto Responder: This is a great way to send welcome messages to any new subscribers! An autoresponder campaign will send a message immediately after a new customer or client joins your mailing list. 
    4. Split Testing: this allows you to essentially “split” your email campaigns and send multiple versions of a campaign to different portions of your list. This is a useful method for determining which version of your email generates more opens/clicks. 
    5. RSS Triggered: RSS is a type of web feed that allows subscribers to receive notifications when updates are made to a site – perfect for blog posts, news stories or sending your newest products to your list. 
    6. Date-Based Campaign: this type of email campaign might be used for a date-based campaign or to send a birthday email to your list. 

Mailchimp offers four email options. Although this is less when compared to ActiveCampaign, they still cover the core options which will meet most email campaign needs. 

    1. Regular: This is the most common, widely used type of campaign. You can design and customise your content and have the option to send it immediately or schedule your campaign.
    2. Plain Text: this is the most simplified form of mass emailing. A plain text campaign contains only text and no formatting. 
    3. A/B Testing: this allows you to send more than one version of the same campaign, which means you can test each version and see which one is working the most effectively.
    4. Automated: this email can be sent when triggered by a set date, event or contact activity. 

Results: ActiveCampaign wins – the ability to access a wider variety of email options means that you can provide your subscriber list with more tailored campaigns.


Both ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp have similar personalisation abilities – both allow you to tailor your campaigns and settings according to your goals and experience, which is great for novice and advanced email marketers alike. However, ActiveCampaign provides far more dynamic personalisation – offering you tips and assistance along the way. For example, ActiveCampaign allows you to add or subtract points from a subscriber profile. This is great if the subscriber’s profile does not meet tailored campaign conditions, leading to a more segmented and personalised subscriber experience.

Results: ActiveCampaign.

Advanced Automation

ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp have powerful automation tools, providing visual workflow diagrams with pathways. However, due to ActiveCampaign’s 200+ automation templates, it is a far more user-friendly option when compared to Mailchimp.

Whilst Mailchimp appears cheaper, many additional automation features come at an additional cost. Whereas ActiveCampaign’s users do not need to fret about pricey add-ons. 

Winner: with its user-friendly interface, ActiveCampaign takes the cake! 

A/B Testing

A/B testing, also commonly referred to as split testing, is a way of testing campaign options, allowing you to determine which content is more effective in terms of clicks and opens. Despite both offering A/B testing options, neither platform is performing particularly well on this variable. 

Mailchimp: offers A/B testing in its Essential Plan. However, the interface is not particularly user-friendly and is prone to glitching. 

ActiveCampaign: A/B testing is very limited, and is restricted to the subject lines and preview text of your emails. Although the Professional and Enterprise plans offer the option of splitting entire automated workflows, which means it surpasses Mailchimp.

Result: ActiveCampaign wins. 

Ease of Use

Depending on your experience levels, whether you’re a novice or an expert, both platforms can create campaigns that bring your business impressive results. 

Mailchimp provides you with seamless support which is particularly useful when just starting with email marketing. This means you can hit the ground running and it won’t take a lot of time to get up and running learning new software. 

ActiveCampaign is heavy on features which can make it a more complex platform. This could be daunting if you’re a novice. However, do not fret – the team at Digital Pie is happy to provide full comprehensive email campaign training. 

Results: It’s a tie – with the help of our expert staff at Digital Pie, we can help your business with training or queries on either platform. 

Reporting and Analytics

Marketing analytics and effective reporting are essential tools in any marketing campaign, particularly with email marketing. They give you the sights to improve lead generation and optimise advertising efforts – ultimately generating more sales and getting your business a bigger ROI. 

Both ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp offer comprehensive analytics and reporting. The two tell you everything you need to know about your email campaigns, open rate, click rates and so on. Further to this, you can also find out more about your subscriber’s activity – demographics, location, time of day, who bounced, who clicked etc. 

Despite Mailchimp narrowly outperforming ActiveCampaign in delivering more e-commerce reports, ActiveCampaign offers a more user-friendly interface and provides recommendations on what to do with the results of the data. However, Mailchimp simply gathers the data, and it is up to you to interpret it. 

Results: ActiveCampaign is more user-friendly and provides you with direction on how to use and apply the data gathered in your email marketing campaign – allowing you to have informed decisions when it comes to your business’ subscriber database.


Depending on your budget, any business can use email marketing campaigns to increase customer loyalty and get your business an exceptional ROI. At a glance, when comparing both platforms, the plans are at fairly similar price points. Both platforms have four pricing tiers that vary in price depending on features and the number of subscribers. 

However, Mailchimp undercuts ActiveCampaign by offering a generous free plan, allowing you to send 2500 emails/per month. This is compared to ActiveCampaign, where you are offered a 14-day free trial with all the available features from their premium plan. Therefore, Mailchimp is a great, free tool that can be used if you are wanting to dip your toes into the world of email marketing!

Despite this, ActiveCampaign offers far more competitive pricing, with ActiveCampaign becoming cheaper the more your subscriber base increases – to the point where ActiveCampaign actually costs you less than Mailchimp. 

Active Campaign - TrialMailchimp FreeActive Campaign LiteMailchimp EssentialsActive Campaign PlusMailchimp StandardActive Campaign ProfessionalMailchimp Premium
Number of Contacts1002,0002,5002,50010,00010,00025,00025,000
Number of Emails/MonthUnlimited2,500Unlimited5,000Unlimited6,000Unlmited15,000
Number of Users11≤3≤3≤5≤5≤10Unlimited
Integration Options870+300+870+300+870+300+870+300+
Automated ReportingAdvancedBasicAdvancedBasicExpertBasicExpertAdvanced

*All pricing is in NZD calculated as of December 2022.

The price difference between Active Campaign and Mailchimp becomes less apparent the more contacts that join your subscription base. Additionally, Active Campaign offers a generous discount to its customers who sign up for annual plans – something Mailchimp does not. 

The Verdict

Despite Mailchimp being around for longer – Active Campaign offers far more bang for your buck. Active Campaign blows Mailchimp out of the water in most variables we tested, it will provide you with superior design features, landing page builders, personalisation, testing and reporting. Active Campaign is well-equipped to serve your business with exceptional campaigns that will perform exceptional results. 

The team at Digital Pie has put both platforms to the test so you don’t have to! Talk to one of our Active Campaign Specialists if you have any other queries relating to your next email campaign. 

Active CampaignMailchimpWinner
Email Templates250+100+
A/B TestingYes - Automation Split TestingYes - Interfacing Confusing
Reports/AnalyticsExpert Analytics with Helpful RecommendationGood Analytics
PricingMore expensive, but becomes more affordable as subscribers increaseConfusing pricing system, but cheaper when starting out

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