The Pros and Cons of ActiveCampaign

Is ActiveCampaign leaving you feeling disappointed? As a user of the platform since 2015, I’ve seen some concerning changes with it in the last few years. Have they grown too big for their own good? In this article, I’ll dive into recent developments and give you the scoop on the pros and cons of ActiveCampaign. So if you’re on the fence about ActiveCampaign, don’t go anywhere. Let’s uncover the truth together.

Quick disclaimer: While I am an ActiveCampaign Certified Consultant and work with clients who use the platform on a daily basis, I’m going to try to put all of that aside and answer these questions simply as a paying customer of ActiveCampaign (which I also am), rather than as a consultant.

What is ActiveCampaign?

If you’re reading this article, you probably already know what ActiveCampaign is, so I won’t bore you with all of the details, but for anyone still unsure, let’s quickly cover the main points.

ActiveCampaign is a cloud-based marketing automation platform that allows businesses to create personalized campaigns and automate various marketing tasks. It provides tools for email marketing, marketing automation, sales automation, and CRM integrations. It was founded in 2003 and has since grown to become one of the most popular customer experience automation platforms in the world.

Here is a summary of some of its key features:

Email Marketing: ActiveCampaign allows businesses to create and send targeted email campaigns to their audience. It provides a drag-and-drop email editor, customizable templates, and automation tools to make the process more efficient.

Marketing Automation: With ActiveCampaign, businesses can automate their marketing processes by setting up workflows and triggers based on user behavior. This includes lead scoring, abandoned cart follow-ups, and more.

Sales Automation: ActiveCampaign’s sales automation tools help businesses automate their sales processes, from lead generation to conversion. This includes contact and deal management, pipeline automation, and more.

CRM Integrations: ActiveCampaign integrates with popular CRMs like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Pipedrive, allowing businesses to manage their customer data in one place. Or you can opt to use ActiveCampaign’s own native CRM, which is very capable.

Landing Pages: ActiveCampaign has a robust and flexible landing page builder that lets you create experiences that are customized for each visitor, whether you want to capture more leads, grow your audience, or drive more repeat business.

Ecommerce: ActiveCampaign offers integrations with popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce, allowing businesses to track and analyze customer behavior and automate their marketing campaigns accordingly.

As you can tell, what started as a simple email automation platform has evolved into something much more robust. And maybe that’s part of the problem?

What has changed?

Now, regarding the recent changes that you may have noticed recently, there are 3 specific changes I want to focus in on.

First, there’s been a noticeable slowdown in the user experience within the app for many users. This can manifest in a number of ways, such as slower load times or lag when performing certain actions such as building campaigns or automations. Sometimes pages just kind of hang there for way too long and make you question whether your wifi is working or not. And for businesses that rely on ActiveCampaign for their day-to-day operations, this can be frustrating and costly if it impacts their productivity.

Second, long wait times for support have been a common complaint. Back in my early days as an ActiveCampaign user, I would jump onto the live chat and wait maybe one or two minutes to get connected to a rep. Now it’s not uncommon to see a live chat queue of over 30 people, with wait times of 30 minutes or more. As ActiveCampaign has grown, it’s possible that their support team hasn’t been able to keep up with the increased demand. Surely they are aware of this and trying to solve it by hiring rapidly, but often it is not fast enough.

Finally, there have been recent pricing increases for some ActiveCampaign users. While it’s not uncommon for companies to adjust their pricing over time, with ActiveCampaign is seems to happen more frequently and with larger jumps in the old vs. new pricing than with other SaaS products.

While there’s no doubt that ActiveCampaign is still a popular and powerful email marketing platform, these issues have certainly caused some users to consider other options.

Reasons for change

So what could be the cause for these issues and changes? Part of it just has to do with the extreme velocity of growth for the company. At the time of this recording, ActiveCampaign has over 180,000 customers in 170 countries and its getting more popular every day. Even with over 1000 employees, keeping up with all of this demand is no easy task.

Also, keep in mind that ActiveCampaign started out as an email marketing platform, primarily serving small businesses. However, as the platform grew, they began to shift their focus towards serving larger enterprise-level businesses. This meant expanding their offering beyond email marketing and towards all-in-one functionality, such as advanced marketing automation, sales automation, and deep-data integrations. While this may be appealing to new users, it can lead to issues with performance and support, as the platform tries to do too much and may not excel in any one area.

Furthermore, In 2021, ActiveCampaign raised $240 million at a $3 billion valuation, which is an extraordinary milestone for a SaaS company. They’re a triple unicorn. This investment is surely being used to further expand the platform’s offerings and push towards enterprise-level customers. However, with this growth comes new challenges, including the need to maintain high levels of performance, support, and pricing transparency for their users.

Is it still recommended?

So, do I still recommend ActiveCampaign? Despite the recent challenges, there are still plenty of reasons why ActiveCampaign remains a popular option.

Firstly, the platform provides a wide range of features that allow businesses to create personalized and effective marketing campaigns. With tools for email marketing, marketing automation, sales automation, and even a landing page builder, ActiveCampaign has all the necessary features to streamline and improve your sales and marketing efforts. It’s not a one-trick pony anymore but a true all-in one powerhouse.

Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, many other email marketing platforms are experiencing similar growing pains. This means that it’s not easy to find an alternative that doesn’t also come with its own set of issues. Additionally, the cost of switching to a new platform can be significant in terms of time, money, and effort.

Lastly, despite the recent changes, ActiveCampaign has continued to invest in its product and has made improvements to address some of the concerns of its users. They have also been transparent about their ongoing efforts to improve performance and support.

In summary, while there are certainly valid concerns about the recent changes with ActiveCampaign, it’s still a solid option for many businesses. The platform provides a wide range of features and integrations, and it can be challenging to find an alternative that doesn’t come with its own set of even worse issues.

Alternatives to ActiveCampaign

Nevertheless, if you’re considering switching from ActiveCampaign, there are some other options to consider. ConvertKit, MailerLite, and GetResponse are the top 3 alternatives I’d recommend looking at.

Let’s take a closer look at each one.

1. ConvertKit is a popular email marketing tool that is designed for bloggers, podcasters, and other content creators. It offers a user-friendly interface and a range of features, including customizable opt-in forms, landing pages, and automation workflows. One of the main advantages of ConvertKit is its simplicity, which makes it easy to use for beginners. But it does lack some of the advanced automation functionality and deep integrations that ActiveCampaign has. It also isn’t really a sales tool, since it doesn’t have a CRM, which is a major selling point of ActiveCampaign.

2. MailerLite is a budget-friendly email marketing tool that offers a range of features, including automation workflows, landing pages, and integrations with other marketing tools. It’s known for its easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface, which makes it a great option for beginners. MailerLite also offers A/B testing and reporting capabilities, which can help businesses optimize their email campaigns. However, some users have reported issues with MailerLite’s deliverability rates, which can be a concern for businesses that rely heavily on email marketing.

3. GetResponse is an all-in-one marketing platform that includes email marketing, landing pages, webinars, and automation workflows. It’s designed for small to midsize businesses and offers a range of features, including a drag-and-drop email editor, A/B testing, and analytics tools. One of the main advantages of GetResponse is its powerful marketing automation capabilities, which allow businesses to create complex workflows based on user behavior. However, some users have reported that the interface can be difficult to navigate, and pricing can be on the high side compared to some other tools.

Ultimately, the best alternative to ActiveCampaign will depend on your specific business needs and budget. It’s important to consider factors like ease of use, features, reporting capabilities, and pricing when evaluating different tools.

Am I sticking with them?

For now, I’m sticking with ActiveCampaign. While there have been some frustrating moments, I still believe it’s one of the best options out there. However, I’ll continue to keep an eye on how the platform evolves and be open to switching if the need arises.

In conclusion, while ActiveCampaign may be experiencing some growing pains, it’s still a solid choice for many businesses. It’s worth keeping in mind that no platform is perfect, and it’s important to find the one that works best for your unique needs.

If you found this article helpful, check out my corresponding video over on YouTube and be sure to subscribe to the channel and to my weekly newsletter to stay updated on the latest marketing tools and growth marketing news!

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