ActiveCampaign vs Constant Contact: Deliverability Wins

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By Ewen Finser

Last Updated on March 2, 2024 by Ewen Finser

If you are looking to make a decision between using ActiveCampaign or Constant Contact for your business, this comparison is for you.

I’ve been online for 10+ years and have used both tools off an on for different brands, websites and business models (I currently still use one!).

Both email marketing platforms have a fairly good reputation, so this article is definitely not going to be a hate sesh on either. That said, I do have some stronger opinions about WHEN to use and WHO should use in different situations.

Ok, let’s get right into it…

First, I want to highlight the broad strokes of how I see the differences here. I’ll include more detail as I go, but this is the overall summary up front:

Main Differences Between ActiveCampaign and Constant Contact

  • Email Deliverability: While both Constant Contact and ActiveCampaign have good overall email deliverability scores, ActiveCampaign beats out Constant Contact consistently in the tests I’ve seen.
  • Automation Capabilities: ActiveCampaign is the tool I use for advanced automation capabilities, allowing for complex, multi-step automations based on user behavior and segmentation, whereas Constant Contact offers more basic automation features, focusing on simple autoresponders and triggered email sequences.
  • CRM Functionality: ActiveCampaign includes a built-in CRM system designed to manage sales processes, track contacts’ interactions, and score leads, making it a comprehensive solution for both marketing and sales teams, whereas Constant Contact primarily focuses on email marketing without an integrated CRM system.
  • Pricing Structure: ActiveCampaign’s pricing is based on the number of contacts and the level of features needed, starting with a Lite plan that offers a range of automation and CRM features, whereas Constant Contact structures its pricing primarily based on the number of contacts.
  • Ease of Use: Constant Contact is a bit more approachable and easy to use (it’s a simpler system), whereas ActiveCampaign takes some getting used to to access the full capabilities.
  • Email Templates and Design: Constant Contact provides a wide variety of customizable email templates and a user-friendly email editor, catering to users who prioritize ease of design and simplicity, whereas ActiveCampaign offers a flexible email design tool but is more focused on the functionality and personalization of emails rather than design aids.
  • E-commerce Integrations: ActiveCampaign offers deep e-commerce integrations with platforms (Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce), supporting advanced segmentation, site tracking, and SMS marketing, whereas Constant Contact offers basic e-commerce integrations primarily aimed at supporting email marketing campaigns.
  • Reporting and Analytics: ActiveCampaign provides comprehensive reporting tools that include detailed insights into campaign performance, automation reports, and contact trends, whereas Constant Contact offers more straightforward reporting features, focusing on key metrics like open rates, click rates, and unsubscribes.
ActiveCampaign SCALES

Take the best email automation and mix it with all the best parts of a CRM. Result: ActiveCampaign. While I call it a "lite CRM", AC is no lightweight. I've been with them for years and LOVE the endless integrations and expandability.

Try ActiveCampaign FIRST
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

A Little History…

ActiveCampaign is a comprehensive marketing automation platform that integrates email marketing, sales automation, and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) into a single, user-friendly platform. Founded in 2003, ActiveCampaign caters to businesses looking for advanced automation and CRM capabilities.

Known for its powerful segmentation and advanced automation features, ActiveCampaign is designed to help businesses of all sizes create personalized and automated customer experiences.

Constant Contact, on the other hand, has been in the game since 1995 and is one of the oldest email marketing platforms available. It is designed for simplicity and is particularly popular among small businesses and non-profits.

Constant Contact offers a range of pre-designed templates, a user-friendly email editor, and basic automation features, making it an excellent choice for beginners or those looking for a straightforward email marketing solution.

I’ve personally used ActiveCampaign since 2014 and used Constant Contact from 2013-2015 and again from 2022-present (we acquired a website that used it). I’ve been able to see how both platforms have evolved over the years.

Initially, AC really took out the “first gen” tools like Constant Contact and Aweber because they were one of the first to market with true end-to-end marketing automation. ActiveCampaign ALSO was substantially cheaper and more usable than the vaunted Infusionsoft (now rebranded as Keap).

That said, Constant Contact completely re-oriented about 4-5 years ago and now comes in as more advanced alternative to Mailchimp, but with a more beginner friendly vibe (and pricing) compared to ActiveCampaign. What’s old is new again!

Email Templates and Design Compared

ActiveCampaign offers an extensive library of professionally designed email templates that can be easily customized using its intuitive drag-and-drop editor. While the library is fairly large, I usually end up heavily to customize even these templates fairly heavily.

That said, they do have some good presets to work with:

On the other hand, while Constant Contact also provides a selection of pre-designed templates, it offers fewer customization options compared to ActiveCampaign. I like Constant Contact’s templates better (they just seem more modern), BUT they are less customizable & have fewer categorized presets:

There are definitely cases where I’d prefer CC’s straightforward approach (starter lists, and newsletters), but ultimately ActiveCampaign is technically better with their customizations.

Segmentation Compared

ActiveCampaign excels in its segmentation capabilities, allowing businesses to create highly targeted email campaigns based on various customer attributes and behaviors.

Constant Contact, while offering basic segmentation features, lacks the advanced behavioral targeting and real-time user activity tracking offered by ActiveCampaign.

Automation Capabilities Compared

When it comes to automation, ActiveCampaign stands out with its advanced automation workflows and AI-powered predictive content blocks.

In contrast, Constant Contact’s automation features are more basic, providing only a few pre-configured automations and limited multi-step triggers.

Split Testing Compared

ActiveCampaign allows users to conduct A/B testing on up to five different versions of an email, providing invaluable insights into what resonates with different segments of your audience.

Constant Contact, on the other hand, only allows split testing on subject lines and only on its higher-tier plans.

Analytics & Reporting Compared

Integrations Compared

I’m personally a “hyper-integrator”, trying to get the most out of the platforms I use to eliminate redundancies.

In terms of Integrations, ActiveCampaign has long been a power integrator with pretty much every major tool (including slightly competitive tools):

Here’s a quick video rundown I did of the full integration list to give you a sense of how big the AC integration universe is.

It’s probably a more accurate statement to say, what does ActiveCamapaign NOT integrate with… I’m hard pressed to think of any.

Things I like About ActiveCampaign

While I could list ALL of the features, this isn’t information you can’t see for yourself on their plan pages.

What I want to highlight here is the things I REALLY like about AC & how it stands out from the competition.

  • Better email deliverability. While both Constant Contact and ActiveCampaign are generally well ranked for email deliverability, ActiveCampaign IS the top in class. This is a huge advantage that can’t be understated.
  • A pricing plan for everyone. It’s a bit complex, but there’s literally a plan for every type of email marketing use case, whether you are looking for a sales CRM functionality, or something basic and cost effective to get started.
  • Advanced automations. AC has some of the most advanced automations logic which really opens up different possibilities for reaching readers (customers) and setting up a truly hands-off “funnel” to capture value.
  • Sales CRM functionality. If you do need an email based CRM system with advanced automations, triggers, and lead scoring, AC is also a great fit here, particularly for email heavy sales organizations.
  • Expansive integrations. As references in the integrations section, I’ve never had any issues integrating AC with other platforms, tools, and services. It’s one of the “most integrated” email marketing platforms I’ve used.
  • Bench of consultants and freelancers. Because ActiveCampaign has been around for quite some time AND actively encourages and showcases their certified consultants, there’s a really good “bench” of talent to pull from if you need to quickly scale out a system, troubleshoot, or otherwise maximize value.
  • Marketing insights. ActiveCampaign has SO many reports, filters and views to keep the data nerds happy. Even after being a customer for 7+ years, I’m still uncovering new data sources and views that I didn’t think were possible.

Things I like About Constant Contact

While ActiveCampaign goes strong on automation and scale, there are some things I DO prefer about Constant Contact.

  • Simple Pricing. Whereas ActiveCampaign’s pricing structure can be overwhelming for the average user, Constant Contact has a simple 3-tier pricing system. The entry level $12/month pricing plan is both easy to understand and an affordable value compared to ActiveCampaign.
  • Pleasant user interface. Constant Contact has come a long way since I last tried them 6+ years ago. Their new interface feels a bit lighter, faster, and easier to manage compared to ActiveCampaign (even if it has fewer features… that’s likely part of it).
  • More templates and prebuilt campaigns. If I was just started out, I’d really appreciate Constant Contact’s more extensive library (250+ by my count) of prebuilt templates for easily modification and execution.

Constant Contact vs ActiveCampaign Pricing Plans Compared

Constant Contact is definitely the budget alternative to ActiveCampaign.

With that being said, ActiveCampaign does have a fairly advanced pricing structure to suit most businesses.

This is also what makes ActiveCampaign a bit overwhelming for those just getting started with email marketing (why I’d lean towards CC for newbies).

AC definitely has cheaper options than it used to and has some great customization options. As a more experienced marketer, I appreciate these details! This is why we still use AC in our company to this day for some of our more established brands.

Who Should Use Constant Contact?

Constant Contact used to get a bad rap in the industry as being overpriced and not having enough automations. I don’t think that’s a fair assessment any longer in 2024.

That said, I think Constant Contact is best for the following use cases:

  • If you are just starting list building: Constant Contact has made a ton of UX improvements. It’s approachable and easy to use and is quicker to get up and running. If this is you, go with Constant Contact.
  • Offline or hybrid businesses: Most offline or hybrid businesses don’t need complicated automations. A good basic funnel, newsletter, and promotion sequence is enough. If this is you, go with Constant Contact.

Who Should Use ActiveCampaign?

Objectively speaking, ActiveCampaign is the more advanced platform. It’s also the platform I still use to this day, and that’s worth something!

  • Funnel or automation builders: If you want to create some amazing funnels with detailed triggers, logic and flows… it’s hard to beat AC. If this is you, go with ActiveCampaign.
  • eCommerce sellers: If you are digitally native, selling products online, ActiveCampaign has the dedicated features to help you sell. If this is you, go with ActiveCampaign.
  • Sales teams selling high-ticket items: If every little optimization counts and you need to track all the details, AC has the reports and analytics you need. If this is you, go with ActiveCampaign.
  • Data nerds: If you just like drilling into reports and understanding your audience segments, AC has the information collection and reports needed. If this is you, go with ActiveCampaign.
ActiveCampaign SCALES

Take the best email automation and mix it with all the best parts of a CRM. Result: ActiveCampaign. While I call it a "lite CRM", AC is no lightweight. I've been with them for years and LOVE the endless integrations and expandability.

Try ActiveCampaign FIRST
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Other Competitors Worth Considering

I’ve tried a LOT of email marketing systems over the years. Even today, I can count at least 5 different ones that I use regularly for different businesses.

Our editorial team has also tested and compared a variety of different options directly against both ActiveCampaign and Constant Contact.

Check these out if you are curious, or still on the fence!

Other ActiveCampaign Competitors Compared

Here’s my running list of how AC compares to top alternatives:

Other Constant Contact Competitors Compared

Here’s how Constant Contact stacks up against some popular peers:

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