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ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp: Which Marketing Automation Tool is Right For Your Business?

ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp are two of the top marketing automation tools on the market, but which one is right for your business? We’ll compare their features and pricing to help you decide.

If your company is looking for a marketing automation tool, then you have likely heard of ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp. 

As two of the most popular and effective marketing automation software solutions on the market, ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp often compete head-to-head to win the business of companies like yours.

While both tools offer top-of-field feature sets that can improve your marketing emails dramatically, identifying which is right for you can take time and effort.    

We are here to help. In this article, we will examine ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp, compare their features and pricing, and detail the other considerations that can help you make the right choice for your business.

What is ActiveCampaign?

ActiveCampaign is a cloud-based software toolset with a focus on email marketing and marketing automation solutions.

ActiveCampaign offers a broad set of features including lead scoring, web analytics, live chat messaging, and a native CRM platform. 

With a broad range of integration options available, ActiveCampaign takes a one-stop-shop approach with its software, offering a little bit of everything a business needs to market its product online.

What is Mailchimp?

Mailchimp is a robust email marketing platform that helps companies manage and assess their email marketing campaigns. 

Over the past 20 years, Mailchimp has evolved from a passion project by its founders — Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius — into the world’s most-used email marketing solution.

In recent years Mailchimp has been expanding its toolset to include advanced automation features, analytics and reporting features, and social media support.

ActiveCampaign vs. Mailchimp: Feature Comparison

ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp both offer top-of-field marketing solutions for managing your email campaigns. This is why they so often compete head-to-head for customers. 

While ActiveCampaign offers a more comprehensive toolset, including a native CRM, Mailchimp provides everything you need to manage your email marketing campaigns in one easy-to-use package. 

Let’s take a look at their key features and see how they stack up in a head-to-head comparison.

Social media engagement image
The components of marketing automation software


Automation tools can help you improve your email cadences through timely and targeted messaging.    

  • ActiveCampaign- ActiveCampaign offers a full suite of automation features that few vendors can match. 

With ActiveCampaign you can combine triggers, actions and conditions to create workflows that not only automate email sending, but lead scoring and segmentation as well.

This allows you to customize your email cadences to support very specific business needs and customer preferences.

  • Mailchimp- Mailchimp’s advanced email automation features allow you to map out the entire customer journey, using triggers that can be set by stage, response, or logic (if/else statements) to create a workflow based on proven methods and best practices.

Additionally, Mailchimp’s automation tools extend beyond email to support your social media (Instagram and Facebook) campaigns and ads.

Winner — ActiveCampaign takes this round. ActiveCampaign is tough to beat when it comes to automation features. While the system takes some time to learn, the payoff is well with the investment.


Email marketing success is achieved through constant refinement. Analytics and reporting tools are essential for identifying what is working and what isn’t so that you can make strategic pivots based on data and insight. 

  • ActiveCampaign- ActiveCampaign lets you track all the standard email performance metrics including open rates, click rates, and unsubscribe rates. 

At higher tiers, you can track your e-commerce performance and social media results as well.

The CRM features ActiveCampaign provides also allow you to track the performance of your leads and deals more in-depth. 

  • Mailchimp- Mailchimp tracks your open rates, click rates, and unsubscribe rates so you can see how well your campaigns are performing. 

Plus, with higher tier plans, you can track revenue accrued through purchases associated with your campaigns, allowing you to measure the ROI of these campaigns more accurately.

Winner — Mailchimp by a hair. While ActiveCampaign offers more reporting capabilities through its CRM features, Mailchimp offers more detailed reporting on the e-commerce side of things, giving them the edge here.


No matter how good a software tool is, it can’t do everything on its own. Integration is an essential component of any tool in your tech stack.

  • ActiveCampaign- ActiveCampaign integrates with more than 800 apps and supports Zapier integrations as well. 

What’s more, ActiveCampaign is adding to this list all the time, so whatever tool you are looking to integrate with, they will likely have you covered.

  • Mailchimp- Mailchimp offers hundreds of native integrations with software applications for e-commerce, POS (point of sale), social media, work management, and more.

You can also access Mailchimp’s API to build your own integrations for software tools that they don’t support natively.

Winner — ActiveCampaign wins this contest based on volume. Mailchimp’s open API can bridge the gap with a little work.


The true measure of email marketing success is deliverability. Email marketing is a numbers game in which every shot counts and even a fraction of a percentage can make a difference. 

  • ActiveCampaign- ActiveCampaign tends to perform above the industry standard, averaging around 86-88% deliverability in any given year. 

  • Mailchimp- Mailchimp’s email deliverability rates tend to rank around the industry average (about 85%) year over year, with high marks in the low 90% range and lows just above 80%.

Winner — ActiveCampaign wins this round as they rank among the leaders in deliverability year after year.

ActiveCampaign email automation product image
Mailchimp email automation image


When evaluating the cost of any software tool, you have to look beyond the price tag. ROI comes down to getting the most out of the features available, so payment structures that are scaleable and flexible are a must. 

  • ActiveCampaign- ActiveCampaign offers a variety of payment tiers based on your needs. Their Lite tier is all you need for email marketing purposes but does not include the CRM features. 

Its primary toolset — including templates, basic reporting features, forms, and landing pages — are all available in the lowest tiers, with its most advanced optimization and segmentation features reserved for Premium members.

Winner — This round is a draw. Mailchimp offers a free tier, and the next tier up, the Essentials tier, provides everything you’ll need to get run your campaigns. 

That said, as you go up in cost, ActiveCampaign begins to bridge the gap by providing features like their native CRM, which Mailchimp just can’t match.

ActiveCampaign vs. Mailchimp: Which is right for your business?

The fact of the matter is you can’t go wrong with either of these email marketing tools. Both offer top-of-field features at a competitive price. So how do you decide which is right for you?

ActiveCampaign is right for...

ActiveCampaign has a steep learning curve initially, but offers a lot for businesses who see email campaigns as a sales tool.

  • Advanced feature set- Few vendors can match the complete feature list that ActiveCampaign provides. The native CRM makes the transition between your marketing efforts and sales activities easier, though as a stand alone CRM, it is somewhat lacking.  

  • Integration library- ActiveCampaign has one of the largest integration libraries in the industry.

Mailchimp is right for...

With Mailchimp you get a full suite of marketing automation tools that do a little bit of everything. This makes Mailchimp the ideal choice for companies looking for a comprehensive marketing solution.

Further considerations include:

  • Ease of Use- Mailchimp is one of the easiest tools on the market to use. Their interface is simple and intuitive and their knowledge base is comprehensive and accessible.
  • Landing page builder- Mailchimp has a robust landing page builder that can help you drive sales through direct and targeted calls to action.

For additional resources that can help you find an email marketing tool that is right for you, check out:

Whether it’s ActiveCampaign or Mailchimp, FreeAgent has you covered

FreeAgent CRM integrates with the industry’s top tools to offer a complete work management solution for your business. That means whichever email marketing software solution is right for you, FreeAgent has you covered. Plus, FreeAgent is:

  • Easy to use- FreeAgent’s modern user interface is quick to learn and easy to use, encouraging teams to work within the platform, driving up adoption and aligning your work processes. 
  • User-configurable- With FreeAgent, the power is in your hands. You can customize and personalize FreeAgent to fit the specific needs of your business and teams without external support. 
  • Flexible and adaptable- FreeAgent’s robust toolset and extensive integration library supports teams and businesses of all types and structures. Whatever challenge you face, FreeAgent can help.

To see FreeAgent in action, get a demo, and discover for yourself how we are leading the way to a better workday.

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