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Before we get started with this comparison of Active Campaign and Constant Contact, if there is something you are specifically wondering about you can click to another section of this comparison.
Now let's dive in and talk email marketing software! You are probably a little frustrated trying to choose between literally dozens of softwares that all have tiny differences. Yet, it's absolutely essential to put in the work that don't waste time and resources on a platform that won't work for you.
Trust me. It sucks to change email marketing platforms.
So let me save you some pain and give you a detailed comparison of ActiveCampaign vs Constant Contact. One written by someone who has used them both as opposed to some generic fluffy review.
While they are two of the most used email marketing platforms, they couldn't be more different. In this article, we'll look at the inner workings of each. I’ll tell you which one is my favorite (hint: it starts with an A and ends with an N) and we will talk about why.
ActiveCampaign vs Constant Contact: At-A-Glance
I'm going to be straight up here.
There is one email marketing platform that stands out over all the rest, and that is ActiveCampaign. You'll see why as we progress through this comparison (and that holds up when we look at other Constant Contact alternatives as well). Read my full ActiveCampaign Review here.
That being said, there are some instances where Constant Contact might make more sense, and I'll be sure to point those out as well.
Who is ActiveCampaign For?
If you're a small business and you plan on growing, ActiveCampaign is hands down the best email marketing software to help you do that, more than any other one I've found to date.
You only pay for the features you need so you can add other features as you grow. And they have such a large amount of features, that there will never be a need to switch platforms.
ActiveCampaign is the best out of all the Constant Contact alternatives. It wins in the following categories: Email Builder, Automation Features, Tags & Segmentation, Forms, Reporting, WordPress Integration, Deliverability, and Pricing.
I love ActiveCampaign because it can be as simple or complex as you want.
I've also experienced incredible deliverability and near-instant support from them over the last two years, which are both HUGE when I'm picking a software.
Plus, the basic plan includes more than most other email marketing platforms most advanced plans. And this is especially true when stacking up against Constant Contact.
So if you are already sold…
Who is Constant Contact For?
Constant Contact email marketing is highly simplistic, both in usability and in what they offer in terms of features. Because of that, it is VERY easy to use, but it's also quite limited.
This is great for someone who is brand new to email marketing, but once you start growing your list you quickly become frustrated with the lack of options.
If you just want to be able to send emails to your contacts forever, nothing else, it's a great way to go.
Also, if you have a church or run a lot of events, it could be a good option for you for reasons we will talk about below.
ActiveCampaign vs Constant Contact: The Details
Now, let's look at a detailed comparison of ActiveCampaign vs Constant Contact. I've broken it down into the following categories, and you can jump to the category you want by clicking these links:
Based on my experience with both of these email marketing platforms, here's an in-depth dive into ActiveCampaign vs Constant Contact…
Ease of Use
WINNER: Constant Contact
How Easy is Constant Contact to Use?
Constant Contact is known as one of the simplest email marketing platforms to use, therefore it is easier to use. This is true both because they have designed their interface to be easy to use but also because there are so many less features than ActiveCampaign.
Setting up Constant Contact is pretty simple. They offer simple videos to help guide you through it, but honestly, it's very user friendly and intuitive.
How Easy is ActiveCampaign to Use?
When we look at ActiveCampaign vs Constant Contact, it's obvious that ActiveCampaign is more complex simply because they offer so many more features. BUT, the thing that is really awesome is that it can be as simple or complex as you need it to be
It also depends on how many features you want to take advantage of and how in depth you want to get with each of those features.
Instead of starting out with a simpler email marketing platform and then switching to a more complex one when you start to need other features (which is a major pain in the butt), you can just use ActiveCampaign to suit your own needs in both cases.
As you can see below, the dashboard is already more complicated.
The reason for that is because it's giving you so much more useful information!
What's even better is that is that ActiveCampaign will migrate your data from another email marketing platform over to theirs if you are switching to them, and they'll do that for free no matter how many contacts you have.
That is HUGE since it will save you hours of time and loads of frustration. This is not something I have found to be offered by any other email marketing service.
Another thing to note is that although ActiveCampaign can be considered more complex than Constant Contact, it is extremely intuitive.
WINNER: Constant Contact
What is Constant Contact's Email Builder Like?
Constant Contact has a pretty awesome email builder. It's highly intuitive, uses drag and drop functionality, and the emails come out looking great.
Constant Contact templates are very customizable and they have a lot of them to offer. Plus, they offer a good amount of options.
Here's what you can add to your emails:
- Social Links
- Read More blocks (pull in web or social content)
In the Plus plan, you can also add:
- Shopify and Woo Commerce Buttons
When you are setting up your first email, you can brands your emails by typing in your website URL. This is a pretty nifty feature. Once it scans your site, it pulls in your colors and your social links.
You can then choose from 6 email templates right off the bat. There are also lots of layout blocks you can drag into the email to to control columns and stuff like that. You can also change fonts, font sizes, and colors.
What is ActiveCampaign's Email Builder Like?
ActiveCampaign's email builder is almost as great as Constant Contact's. The only reason Constant Contact is the winner here is because they make it a little easier to create more intricate emails.
ActiveCampaign uses drag and drop functionality as well, allowing you to add the following:
- Text blocks
- Line breaks
- RSS feeds
- Social links
- HTML blocks
You can also adjust line height, borders, margins, padding, and add columns and background colors so that you can pretty much make your emails look any way you want them to.
What Are Constant Contact's Automation Features?
Constant Contact offers some very simple automation features that can be enough depending on what you are looking for. At the same time, they can be extremely limited if you want something more robust.
The main automations that you can set up in Constant Contact are:
- Birthday or Anniversary emails
- Welcome emails
- Drip campaigns (autoresponder series of emails)
- Resend to non-openers
- Action blocks to encourage subscribers to buy or donate
Constant Contact offers some limited triggers that can set an automation into play. These include:
- When a contact opens an email
- When a contact clicks a link
- When a contact joins a list
One thing to note here is that Constant Contact offers what they call Event Marketing features that are automated. ActiveCampaign does not offer this feature.
Essentially, it allows you to create events, invite contacts, track responses, create event landing pages, and take donations. This would be very useful for churches and companies who put on a lot of events.
What Are ActiveCampaign's Automation Features?
When we look at ActiveCampaign vs Constant Contact in terms of automations, there is really no comparison. ActiveCampaign completely crushes it in this category.
There is only one other email marketing platform that can compete with ActiveCampaign's automations, and that is Infusionsoft (Keap), but their automation features are so much more difficult to learn.
ActiveCampaign's automations are highly visual so you can easily see what is going on.
Their automation features are comprehensive, and it uses triggers and actions in conjunction with site tracking to create some really powerful automations. You can add the following triggers:
- Subscribes to a list
- Unsubscribes from a list
- Submits a form
- Opens/reads an email
- Clicks a link in an email
- Web page is visited
- Event is recorded
- Shares an email
- Forwards an email
- Replies to an email
- Tag is added
- Tag is removed
- Field changes
- Goal is achieved
- Date based
- RSS based
- Makes a purchase
- Abandons cart
- And more
ActiveCampaign also has a built-in CRM, and you can combine with their automations tools to improve sales. For example, they offer lead scoring, a gmail extension, and AI machine learning tools that determine which campaigns perform best.
And you never have to start from scratch and be intimidated by a blank screen when setting up your automations because ActiveCampaign has TONS of automation templates.
In fact, they have an entire marketplace where you can choose from hundreds of them.
Tags & Segmentation
What Are Tags & Segmentation Like in Constant Contact?
Constant Contact still works with lists to categorize contacts. While that's a really straightforward approach, it is also quite limiting, and you'll see why when we explain how ActiveCampaign does it. segment contacts
They do offer segments and tags, but these features are completely manual. That means that you can go in and manually add a tag to a contact or generate a segmented list based on some criteria, but you cannot set it up to automatically move each contact around based on actions that they take.
That makes email marketing a much more tedious task.
What Are Tags & Segmentation Like in ActiveCampaign?
ActiveCampaign, on the other hand, has their system set up perfectly in my book. They use a combination of tags, segments, and lists to categorize contacts, but it's all done automatically as contacts take certain actions, such as clicking a link or making a purchase.
What Are Forms Like in Constant Contact?
Because Constant Contact thrives on keeping everything simple, their forms are also very simple. WAY too simple in my book, and the main problem is that without paying a web developer, you won't be able to create more than one form.
Say whaaat??? To me, that's the craziest thing I've ever heard. Unless you have an extremely simple business with only one target audience, that simply doesn't work. Plus, you are very limited design-wise with forms on Constant Contact.
What Are Forms Like in ActiveCampaign?
ActiveCampaign, on the other hand, lets you create as many forms as your little heart desires. If you want to have different things to give away to people, you can have as many as you'd like.
If you have multiple target markets, several different businesses, or just different interests that you want to hit on, you can create as many forms as you want for each of those.
In the Lite plan, only the inline form is available, but in many cases, won't need more than that because they let you customize it.
To customize your forms in ActiveCampaign, you can add fields such as a list selector field (allows contacts to choose the lists they want to be subscribed to) and CAPTCHA fields to cut down on spam.
Plus, you can easily change the width of the form, add an image wherever you want, change colors and layouts, etc.
WINNER: Constant Contact
Constant Contact is the winner in this category because they have landing page options, while ActiveCampaign doesn't. It's the one thing that boggles my mind about ActiveCampaign. You can create lead generation pages, thank you pages, and shoppable landing pages (the latter of which is still in Beta).
Constant Contact offers hundreds of Constant Contact templates for landing pages that are customizable. You can change colors and fonts and you can add content blocks.
The builder is very similar to the email builder, so it's easy to use and provides a nice amount of customization options.
How Does Constant Contact Handle A/B Testing?
When we talk about A/B testing, otherwise known as split testing, Constant Contact is a dud in this category. The only thing they allow you to test are email subject lines, and you can only test two at a time.
How Does ActiveCampaign Handle A/B Testing?
ActiveCampaign offers extremely flexible A/B testing options, allowing you to test not only subject lines but also any element of the email. You can even test the performance of entire automation sequences, and you can test up to 5 different versions at a time.
What is Constant Contact's Reporting Feature Like?
Constant Contact's reports are pretty basic. For each email you send, you'll be able to see open rates, click through rates, bounce stats and unsubscribes. That's it.
One nice thing, however is that you can compare up to 5 email campaigns to see how they stack up against each other in terms of those four stats.
What is ActiveCampaign's Reporting Feature Like?
If we contrast that with ActiveCampaign, we see a drastic difference. Their reports are broken down into five categories, which are then further categorized into many more reports that you can view.
- Campaign Reports – See an overview, opens, reads, clicks, a geographic breakdown, a social breakdown, unsubscribes, and the email platforms your contacts use.
- Automation Reports – View how your contacts are going through your automations.
- Goal Reports – See how your goals are progressing.
- Contact Reports – View contract trends, top contacts, open and read trends, email client trends, and nearby trends.
- Chat Conversation Reports – See how your chats are converting.
With ActiveCampaign, you can look at your campaigns from every angle you can think of so that you can dissect them and know what is working and what isn't.
Constant Contact and ActiveCampaign both offer WordPress plugins, but they are very different:
- ActiveCampaign's plugin allows you to easily embed the opt in forms you created in ActiveCampaign onto your posts, pages, and widgets. It also enables you to use site tracking to track visitors to your website and to use their live chat features.
- Constant Contact's plugin allows you to create forms from scratch from within WordPress (and you don't even need to have a Constant Contact account to use it).
It seems to me that ActiveCampaign's plugin is MUCH more useful. I'm not sure why you'd want to have to create forms in two different places when you can just create them once and then embed the ones you already created.
All of this is for nothing if no one is reading your emails, and that's where the importance of deliverability comes in. So, let's look at how well ActiveCampaign vs Constant Contact stack up against each other when it comes to how often your emails will hit the inbox.
As you can see by the email deliverability comparison chart below, ActiveCampaign and Constant Contact are neck and neck with ActiveCampaign having a 96% deliverability rate and Constant Contact having 93%. Kudos to both!
Just a random side fact – I despise MailChimp.
Constant Contact Pricing
And that brings us to the final evaluation in this article, which is pricing.
When we look at Constant Contact pricing, we can see that their Email plan starts at $20/month, while the Email Plus plan starts at $45 per month.
Both plans go up from there depending on how many subscribers you have. They do offer a 30-day free trial. The basic plan allows you to simply send emails and gain subscribers, which the plus plan brings in the automation features.
To me, this pricing structure is absolutely insane because you can't even have a simple autoresponder without paying at least $45 a month. That is a lot of money and you get so much less than you do with ActiveCampaign's basic plan, which starts at only $9/month.
On the contrary, ActiveCampaign's pricing is just awesome. They have four different plans that determine which features come with each.
You can select a plan and then use the slider on the left to determine how much it will cost you based on how many subscribers you currently have.
Their basic plan gives you much more than Constant Contact, including automation features and unlimited forms and autoresponders, all starting at only $9/month!
They also offer an annual pricing discount and they have a 15-day free trial.
ActiveCampaign vs Constant Contact: Which is Better?
When we look at ActiveCampaign vs Constant Contact in this much detail, we can see that they are drastically different. Overall, ActiveCampaign is clearly the better option because in many cases, it will cost less while giving you more. You'll never outgrow it and can instead use it to help your company grow and evolve.
I am a BIG ActiveCampaign fan because I've compared it to all the email marketing platforms out there and it always wins out.
Having said that, if you want something incredible simple and all you need to do is be able to send out beautiful emails, then Constant Contact email marketing can be just what you need.