ActiveCampaign vs MailChimp: Who Sends Better Emails in 2021?

ActiveCampaign vs MailChimp?

Which one do you pick?

On one side, you have MailChimp- popular, easy to be with, and all-around fun tool, and on the other side ActiveCampaign- mature, reliable, serious, going places option.

Okay, this is starting to sound like you are picking a mate, and with good reason.

The truth is, choosing an email marketing tool is a long term and emotional decision. This is a tool that can make or break your marketing efforts. It’s the way you interact with your customers, make dire business decisions, and ultimately grow your business.

Make no mistake, they both have their strengths and weaknesses, but one is more suitable for your business than the other.

ActiveCampaign vs MailChimp: Why You Need to Choose Right Tool

I learned the hard way that moving your data from one email marketing tool to another is not a walk in the park. Even when ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit say they will migrate everything for you, it’s a stressful journey that could cost you subscribers and money. This is why you need to choose the right tool from the word go.

If you choose wrong, you could end up with a bunch of unsubscribes or worse, an account blocked (looking at you MailChimp). You choose right and have a friend for life, working and supporting you when you are asleep.

To be clear, nothing is wrong with MailChimp. It’s a fantastic tool with an easy-to-use interface, a forever free plan, and tons of great features. As a beginner email marketer, you fall for its relaxed charm and flawless looks, which explains why it’s still the most popular ESP in the world.

The problem comes in when you need to scale up your business. You have grown your subscription to over 2,000 people, and you need some serious list management and automation features. I’ll say right off the bat that MailChimp will turn you into a cranky old hag when your business reaches a certain level.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into this ActiveCampaign vs MailChimp comparison by looking at the features that matter.


Back in the day, email marketing was for tech-savvy geniuses who could navigate their way through technical jargon and processes. MailChimp came and positioned itself as the first user-friendly tool meant for the ordinary person. It has managed to maintain that simplicity over the years and remains one of the easiest platforms to use, not to mention setting the standard for others to follow.

mailchimp email builder

The email editor has that flawless look we talked about before. On your left, you can see the email divided into header, body, and footer. On your right, you have an array of templates to pick from. Even on your first day as an email marketer, you can create a beautiful email in less than a minute.

The only issue I have with MailChimp’s beautiful email editor is that they have clamped up most of the features for simplicity. Everything from forms, landing pages, and automation are lumped together under the Campaign section.

So, how does ActiveCampaign compare?

It turns out it’s not so bad either-except there is so much stuff on the interface.

activecampaign dashboard

ActiveCampaign also uses the drag and drop feature to build emails, and they have an array of beautiful templates to choose from. While writing an email is very straightforward, creating automation is not so easy. To be frank, ActiveCampaign is for more technically-inclined people with some email marketing experience.

This complication means that MailChimp takes this round, hands down.

Design and Flexibility

MailChimp gives you 100 modern and mobile-responsive email templates to choose from. The themes range from newsletters, events, ecommerce emails to notifications. You also get the flexibility to adjust the designs and change anything you want, including adding social buttons and promo codes.

mailchimp templates

The only difference between the two is that ActiveCampaign gives you 30 templates instead of 100, so MailChimp wins again.

List Management

As I explained before, MailChimp is a total disappointment when it comes to lists management. This is primarily because they insist on every list being mutually exclusive. In other words, you can’t send a single campaign to people on different lists.

So what happens when you have an offer that applies to people on different lists? My answer is to move to ActiveCampaign because it’s impossible in MailChimp. As if that wasn’t bad enough, if you have a subscriber on multiple lists, you have to pay for them everywhere they appear, even if that means paying four times for a single person.

ActiveCampaign makes you fall in love with list management. Yes, initially you should put people in different lists depending on how they came into your platform. After that, you can use tags and custom fields to segment them even further to ensure they only get emails meant for them.

So, let’s say you have an offer for your best customers on different lists. All you need to do is use a tag and segment them in one place for that campaign only. It’s really something to love and the first major point for ActiveCampaign.


We would be lying if we said MailChimp doesn’t have some cool automation features. Being an older tool, they had really tried to make your life easier. Some of the features you can see there include;

  • Abandoned cart
  • Opened email
  • Clicks
  • Purchase product
  • Not opened

These are robust features if you have a new business and don’t have a lot on your plate. The problem comes when your business has grown, and you need some flexibility.

ActiveCampaign swoops in like the savior they are with amazing visual workflow and automation features that can branch out in different paths. You can combine multiple triggers, conditions, and actions to create a much-targeted campaign.

ActiveCampaign automation

Landing Pages

ActiveCampaign and MailChimp use opt-in forms as a lead generation tool though it’s more complicated in MailChimp. However, studies show that landing pages work better than forms because they are aimed at a particular product, page, or service. When someone signs up using a landing page, they are not just interested in getting emails from you; they want to buy what you are selling.

According to MailChimp, landing page users report a 36% audience growth, so it’s working well for them. Unfortunately, ActiveCampaign does not have inbuilt landing pages, unless you integrate with a landing page builder.


It’s still a surprise to many that email marketing has remained so relevant in this social media era. While the impact of emails is still being felt, there is a massive cluster of people who rarely read their emails. This is where instant messaging comes in. You can reach people wherever they are using a quick message, and they never have to miss out.

ActiveCampaign has invested in a messaging feature that allows you to send time-sensitive messages and alerts. You also have the option of sending Facebook ads to people who have visited your site. If you want such capabilities with MailChimp, you have to integrate with messaging apps for a fee.


Support is crucial when you are using something as important as an emailing tool. In case you get stuck, or there are some technical difficulties, you need to reach someone on the other side for some prompt help. Let’s see how support looks like in this ActiveCampaign vs MailChimp comparison.

Luckily, both platforms have support avenues that include email, live chat, and knowledge base. But ActiveCampaign takes it a notch higher with one-on-one training, community forum, and very active Facebook groups.

ActiveCampaign also makes their support more accessible than MailChimp. You can see the Help icon on every page, while MailChimp lets you go to the knowledge base to get help.

ActiveCampaign vs MailChimp Pricing

So far, ActiveCampaign is leading 4-3. Will pricing give us a tie, or will ActiveCampaign take this cup home?

ActiveCampaign(Lite) MailChimp
Free Plan N/A 2,000 contacts, 10,000 emails per month free
5,000 Subscribers $89 $50
10,000 Subscribers $139 $76
50,000 Subscribers $299 $259


ActiveCampaign may look a tad more expensive, but it’s worth it for all the features you are paying for. It’s also notable that the pricing gap between the two becomes slimmer as you go up.

ActiveCampaign vs MailChimp Alternatives

ActiveCampaign and MailChimp are undoubtedly amazing tools with excellent capabilities. However, there is a middle ground between easy to use and next-level automation features.

  • ConvertKit: the perfect blend of advanced automation features and easy to use interface. The pricing is also somewhere in the middle between ActiveCampaign and MailChimp.
  • Aweber: way cheaper than ActiveCampaign, but it has no CRM. Aweber’s automation features are also wanting.
  • GetResponse: ease of use, CRM, next-level automation, webinar hosting, and a complete conversion funnel to make sales.

Final Thoughts For This ActiveCampaign vs MailChimp Comparison

Back to the question; ActiveCampaign vs MailChimp? Which one do you choose?

If this ActiveCampaign vs MailChimp comparison is anything to go by, you should definitely start with ActiveCampaign.

I know it’s hard to see yourself with 20,000 or even 50,000 subscribers now because you are just starting out with your eight family members. That is why many people begin with MailChimp as a free tool. But if you do your job right, you will have more than 2,000 subscribers within no time, so choose right.

Emil Faschang
Instagram & Digital Marketing Expert | Online Entrepreneur for 4 Years | SocialSummitAgency Founder | 19 Years Old


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay in Touch

Related Articles