When it comes to critical business software, few platforms are as important as email marketing and automation. Choosing the right solution can have a huge impact on your ability to effectively communicate with customers and run your operations efficiently.
In this ActiveCampaign vs Constant Contact article, we compare the two popular platforms to help you determine which one is right for you.
These two tools take vastly different approaches when it comes to features, capabilities, and pricing models and our goal is to help you understand the key strengths and weaknesses of each option so you can determine which email marketing platform is the best fit for your business.
1. Understanding the Basics
ActiveCampaign was founded in 2003 by Jason VandeBoom. It has become one of the most widely used email marketing and automation platforms. The company has over 150,000 customers worldwide. It is particularly popular with small and medium-sized businesses.
Constant Contact was launched in 1998. The founders are Randy Parker and Richard Yaeger. It also has an established position in the email marketing space. Constant Contact has over 600,000 customers globally. Its target customer base skews towards bloggers, artists, and nonprofits.
When it comes to social media, both companies have a strong presence and engaged communities:
Overall, both companies have strong brand recognition in the industry. ActiveCampaign attracts more small business customers compared to Constant Contact’s strength with bloggers and creatives. Both have solid social media followings, but ActiveCampaign’s online community is more vibrant.
2. Features and Functionality
ActiveCampaign offers robust automation with hundreds of pre-built templates and triggers. Users can utilize a visual workflow builder to create sequences without coding. Automations like welcome series, lead nurturing, cart abandonment, and more can be set up.
These automations are powered by an intelligent platform combining machine learning and AI. This allows you to segment contacts, personalize messaging, and react to behaviors with event-based triggers in real time depending on data. ActiveCampaign also provides smart lists and customized user segments along with integration to CRM for full-funnel visibility.
Overall, ActiveCampaign sets the standard for intuitive yet advanced email and SMS automation with a flexible builder, intelligent targeting, and hundreds of templates to choose from.
Constant Contact takes a simpler approach to email automation, offering 50+ pre-made email templates to engage website visitors and turn them into leads. Users can set basic triggers like first purchase, abandoned cart, and date-based sequences. However, advanced segmentation capabilities and dynamic content personalization found in ActiveCampaign are missing.
For example, Constant Contact enables welcome messages for contacts, lead nurturing sequences, abandoned cart recovery emails, and basic segmentation by tags and interests. However, robust functionality for advanced users is lacking compared to other leaders in the marketing automation space like ActiveCampaign.
ActiveCampaign is the winner for marketing automation workflows that are perfect for small businesses and large organizations alike. Its flexible builder, intelligent targeting, and vast template library provide far more advanced capabilities compared to Constant Contact. For users wanting robust and customizable automation, ActiveCampaign is the superior choice.
ActiveCampaign provides hundreds of professionally designed email templates that users can customize for their brand. Templates are organized by category, making it easy to find options for promotions, newsletters, announcements, holidays, and more.
The template editor has a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG builder for easily personalizing content blocks, images, colors, and fonts. You can create mobile-responsive emails in line with brand style guides. Dynamic content tags enable personalized messaging at scale.
Overall, ActiveCampaign’s simple email editor removes the complexities of coding emails from scratch. The combination of beautiful templates, flexible editing tools, and dynamic tag options streamline subscriber communications.
Constant Contact also provides pre-designed email templates to choose from. They offer approximately 100 free templates across categories like promotions, newsletters, welcome series, and holidays.
The template editor is easy to use with drag-and-drop content blocks. But fewer customization options compared to ActiveCampaign. You can change colors, fonts, and images to match branding. Dynamic tags are available for personalization.
For users wanting plug-and-play newsletter templates without too much customization, Constant Contact delivers. However, more advanced users may require greater freedom to tweak templates.
ActiveCampaign wins when it comes to email template capabilities and customization flexibility. The wider selection and easier editing with more personalized tags make ActiveCampaign the superior choice for users wanting beautiful, branded templates tailored to their business.
ActiveCampaign enables advanced subscriber segmentation powered by machine learning. Users can create highly targeted segments and customize messaging for each one.
Built-in segmentation tools allow you to group contacts by attributes like demographics, interests, behaviors, engagement metrics, purchase history, and more. You can then target segments or Facebook lead ads with tailored content blocks, personalized subject lines, and automated workflows.
In addition, ActiveCampaign offers intelligent lists that automatically update based on real-time user activity. This allows you to create dynamic groups like high-intent leads, abandoned cart shoppers, or loyalty program members.
Overall, few platforms match ActiveCampaign’s flexibility and intelligence when it comes to advanced audience segmentation.
Constant Contact has basic segmentation capabilities based on user attributes and tags. You can target groups by location, interests, purchase history parameters, and more.
However, its tools are simpler without robust behavioral targeting and real-time user activity tracking. Constant Contact lacks the machine learning foundation driving ActiveCampaign’s flexible and automated segmentation.
You can send broadcasts to list segments in Constant Contact. However, advanced capabilities to tailor content and trigger personalized workflows by subgroup are missing compared to the competition.
For users wanting straightforward grouping without complex segmentation logic, Constant Contact provides the basics. But sophisticated functionality is lacking.
ActiveCampaign dominates when it comes to flexible contact segmentation tools. Both platforms have basic grouping capabilities. However, ActiveCampaign’s machine learning and intelligent automation take segmentation much further. For advanced subscriber targeting, ActiveCampaign easily wins this category.
ActiveCampaign has powerful analytics with detailed reports to help you optimize your email marketing campaigns. You get metrics on opens, clicks, conversions, revenues, and more provided in real-time dashboards. This gives users visibility into campaign performance.
Features include interactive reports and graphs, campaign-level statistics by segment, automated reports via email, and CRM integration displaying subscriber lifecycle over time. ActiveCampaign also tracks email attribution throughout the customer journey and provides ROI metrics, deliverability, and social sharing data.
By combining high-level aggregated metrics with individual subscriber profiles showing granular analytics, ActiveCampaign delivers comprehensive intelligence to optimize outreach.
Constant Contact provides basic email analytics related to clickthrough, bounce, and open rates. Campaign reports can be customized with filters but lack robust segmentation capabilities seen in ActiveCampaign.
Users can analyze subscriber engagement through charts and graphs. However, the actionable data is focused more on top-level campaign performance rather than detailed subscriber lifecycles and attribution.
For users wanting simple graphical reporting, Constant Contact delivers adequate high-level analytics. However, those needing advanced intelligence around detailed subscriber journeys may want to consider other platforms.
ActiveCampaign is the clear winner for analytics and reporting functionality. The detailed subscriber engagement data provides far deeper intelligence compared to basic high-level metrics in Constant Contact. For optimizing email performance, ActiveCampaign’s robust analytics capabilities are superior.
ActiveCampaign has a few capabilities that set it apart from other email marketing platforms:
Site tracking establishes a complete view of subscriber engagement by integrating web analytics with email performance. ActiveCampaign captures every touchpoint across channels within one unified interface.
Predictive content blocks powered by machine learning insert personalized dynamic messages that resonate with each subscriber. This drives more relevant, impactful communications.
Integrated event triggering from webinars, e-commerce platforms, and other SaaS solutions enables real-time reactions to customer behaviors and workflows.
In essence, ActiveCampaign combines robust email marketing with data-driven automation to turn strangers into loyal customers over time via tailored journeys.
Constant Contact focuses specifically on core email marketing execution. Unique features center mainly around simplified campaign creation.
For example, users can develop email content directly inside Constant Contact instead of needing separate design software. Creative tools also help build posts for Facebook and other social channels.
However, innovative capabilities seen in ActiveCampaign around comprehensive automation, predictive content, and cross-channel intelligence are generally lacking in the platform. Unique features are focused narrowly on core email functionality rather than data-driven customer engagement.
ActiveCampaign wins the unique features category thanks to robust site tracking, predictive content, and cross-platform event triggers. These innovative capabilities create intelligent, omnichannel customer journeys beyond basic email marketing. For users wanting deeper, data-driven subscriber engagement, ActiveCampaign takes the lead here.
3. Ease of Use
ActiveCampaign provides an intuitive user interface with a clean, modern design. The dashboard centralizes key campaign creation and management functions in one place. Drag-and-drop builders make it simple for novices to map automation and design emails.
The platform utilizes role-based permissions so team members only access relevant tools. Straightforward workflows ensure marketers can create complex sequences faster. ActiveCampaign also offers free training resources like webinars and knowledge bases.
However, the extensive functionality can slow onboarding until users grasp advanced capabilities. The learning curve is steeper compared to Constant Contact. But overall, the experience remains positive.
Constant Contact emphasizes simplicity in its interface to accelerate getting started. Menu navigation and campaign builders are focused specifically on essential email marketing tasks. This enables rapid launch for non-technical users.
The platform lacks sophisticated capabilities driving complex workflows. However, the pared-down options and configurations simplify usage without clutter. Constant Contact also provides free onboarding support and online knowledge bases.
For small business owners wanting basic email promotions without complexity, Constant Contact delivers on usability. However, growth-stage companies may desire more powerful (yet easy-to-use) tools over time.
Ease of use is a tie between ActiveCampaign and Constant Contact. ActiveCampaign provides greater functionality through an intuitive design. However, the expanded features also increase the learning curve. Constant Contact’s narrower scope drives simplicity for core email marketing needs. Different users will gravitate toward each platform based on their specific requirements and comfort with layered tools.
4. Email Deliverability
ActiveCampaign utilizes proprietary deliverability technology to achieve industry-leading inbox placement rates. Advanced email infrastructure across 150+ servers ensures reliable delivery and protection from blacklisting.
The platform dynamically optimizes sending domains, content relevancy scoring, and subscriber engagement levels to inform routing. ActiveCampaign also enables granular blocking and throttling configurations by ISP.
For high-volume customers, dedicated IP addresses provide maximum control and security. Overall open and clickthrough rates typically exceed 95% across sectors thanks to robust deliverability foundations.
Constant Contact maintains shared IP reputations across all customers to ease onboarding. However, this aggregates risk from lower-quality senders on the infrastructure. Larger or fast-growing clients may encounter throttling.
The company monitors inbox placement rates across major ISPs. If metrics decline, internal list cleansing and sending adjustments occur. However, users lack visibility and control compared to ActiveCampaign’s transparent portal.
Shared IP users also compete for reputation prioritization. This can hamper deliverability, especially during peak traffic periods. Dedicated IPs are only available on expensive Enterprise plans.
ActiveCampaign is the clear email deliverability winner thanks to dedicated IP options, granular ISP configurations, and industry-best inbox placement rates. Constant Contact provides adequate foundations for smaller users. However, transparency, flexibility, and performance lag across growing customer segments compared to ActiveCampaign.
5. Customer Support and Community
ActiveCampaign provides 24/7 live chat and email support from general and dedicated account strategists. Phone assistance is also available during extended business hours. Typical ticket response times are under 30 minutes.
The platform also maintains an online knowledge base with setup guides, troubleshooting content, and strategy best practices. ActiveCampaign’s YouTube channel supplies weekly tutorial videos as well.
Users can connect with over 100,000 peers for advice in the ActiveCampaign Community Facebook group. The forum has active discussions around maximizing email marketing results.
Overall, prompt and personalized customer service combines with a vibrant social community for timely answers to any question.
Constant Contact offers 24/7 email and chat support with sub-1-hour response times. Phone-based assistance is provided during East Coast business hours. Additionally, an online knowledge base contains thousands of articles.
However, the level of personalization lags ActiveCampaign – larger customers have dedicated strategists while smaller accounts get generalized support reps. This hampers individual guidance quality for growing businesses.
Peer engagement opportunities in Constant Contact trail industry alternatives. The official Facebook page has limited discussions. Independent user groups see minimal activity as well.
For simple technical troubleshooting, Constant Contact delivers adequate assistance. However, their community ecosystem and one-on-one coaching scale are less smooth compared to ActiveCampaign.
With superior personal support strategies combined with a 350,000+ member community, ActiveCampaign easily wins for customer service and user engagement. Constant Contact provides satisfactory assistance for basic issues through generalized reps. But their social ecosystem and dedicated expert guidance lag across growing business segments.
ActiveCampaign integrates with over 250+ business applications via native connectors and APIs. Users can connect data flows across e-commerce platforms, sales CRM and help desk tools, webinar software, payment processors, and more.
Some popular integrations include:
Shopify for syncing customer data and automating campaigns, WordPress for embedding forms and tracking behavior, Zapier for building custom connections across 1,000+ apps, Eventbrite for importing event attendees, and Stripe for triggering workflows based on payments received.
Bi-directional syncing combines subscriber activity data from across B2B tech stacks into unified customer records within ActiveCampaign. This enables 360-degree views of each contact and powers automated cross-channel workflows.
Constant Contact connects with core systems including accounting, ecommerce, and CRM platforms. But its ecosystem trails category leaders like ActiveCampaign.
Some integrations include Shopify for importing customers and syncing sales data, Eventbrite for downloading event registrant details, Facebook for managing advertising campaigns, and PayPal for tracking customer order payments.
Use cases focus narrowly on moving audience data into Constant Contact systems rather than enabling consolidated views and workflows across platforms. This hampers more advanced cross-channel functionality.
ActiveCampaign dominates Constant Contact for platform integrations. With 250+ native connectors enabling unified data and automated workflows, ActiveCampaign provides far more powerful infrastructure compared to Constant Contact’s relatively limited integration capabilities.
ActiveCampaign offers 4 paid plans: Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. Price is based on the number of contacts.
The Lite plan is $29/month for up to 500 contacts and comes with email marketing and automation tools. The Plus plan is $49/month for up to 2,500 contacts. The Professional plan is $149/month for 10,000 contacts and advanced features including an AI-powered Predictive sending tool and a customer journey builder.
Sales automation features and other tools like marketing automation, email scoring, site tracking, and CRM are included in all paid plans. There are no costly add-ons.
Discounts are offered for annual billing. Overall, ActiveCampaign is an affordable email marketing tool that provides strong value at competitive prices.
Constant Contact’s free trial lets you send to 500 contacts. The Lite email plan is $12/month for up to 500 contacts with additional features like the marketing CRM, event management tools, and social marketing features.
The Standard plan is $35/month and comes with 3 users, pre-built automation, and contact segmentation features.
For $80/month, you get the Premium plan, which includes unlimited users, custom automation, custom segmentations, revenue reporting, and Google Ads Manager.
While entry-level Constant Contact pricing is appealing upfront, the value proposition diminishes drastically as contacts and requirements expand over time for a business. Hidden costs arise from lacking capabilities on lower tiers.
ActiveCampaign provides the best value long-term thanks to transparent pricing that dynamically fits customer needs. Constant Contact offers attractive entry points but gaps emerge as limitations of lower tiers manifest over time while large account fees also outweigh competitor rates.
8. Reviews and Reputation
ActiveCampaign earns strong reviews from industry experts and users highlighting ease of use, automation capabilities, and great support. The platform averages 4+ stars across channels.
Positive feedback notes the intuitive interface, flexible workflows, and short learning curve enabling productive email campaigns. Users also appreciate robust integrations and actionable analytics for data-driven optimization.
Some negatives cite the occasional buggy behavior of advanced features. However, most issues are quickly resolved by responsive support teams. Overall, ActiveCampaign dominates reputation benchmarks for email marketing and automation.
Constant Contact garners mixed yet generally positive reviews from users on sites like G2. Small business owners emphasize the simple, user-friendly platform for basic email newsletters and promotions.
However, mid-market and enterprise users express growing frustrations over limiting capabilities in automation, analytics, and integrations inherent with growth. Reviews average 4 stars as complexity emerges.
The affordable pricing and quality support teams receive praise as redeeming factors though. However, an overwhelming theme suggests Constant Contact works better for early-stage startups than mature companies.
Based on extremely positive user experiences and industry evaluations, ActiveCampaign easily claims the best reputation. Constant Contact rates reasonably well for simple email marketing targeted at tiny businesses. However, consensus feedback from customers of all types clearly favors ActiveCampaign services on the whole for the superior combination of value, features, and support.
- What kind of training and support is available?
ActiveCampaign offers live chat support, email ticketing, phone assistance, weekly webinars, and an online knowledge base and community forum. All users get access to onboarding resources and expert guidance.
- Is there a free trial or money-back guarantee?
Yes, ActiveCampaign provides a 14-day free trial to test drive the platform. They also have a 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee after purchase.
- What payment options exist?
Users can pay monthly subscriptions via credit card. But ActiveCampaign also accepts PayPal, checks, and bank/wire transfers for annual contracts to enable more flexibility.
- Can I import existing email subscriber lists?
Yes, subscribers can be directly imported via CSV upload or synced through integrated platforms like email services, and webinar tools. This enables seamless migration.
- Is there a dedicated IP address option?
ActiveCampaign offers dedicated IPs to higher-tier plans for maximum email deliverability without sharing server resources across clients. This helps growing businesses avoid throttling.
Constant Contact FAQs
- What email marketing features are included?
Core capabilities include customizable email templates, basic automation, and workflows, subscriber list management, basic reports on opens/clicks, and integration with social promotion tools.
- Is there volume pricing for bigger accounts?
Volume discounts do apply on annual pre-paid contracts once they cross the threshold of 5,000+ subscribers. Month-to-month discounts do not exist though.
- Can I access both email and event marketing tools?
Constant Contact expanded beyond just email marketing. Users also get registration, promotion, and management capabilities around in-person/virtual events.
- How does deliverability compare to alternatives?
Shared IP users can see deliverability lag other solutions protecting dedicated reputations. But Sender Score monitoring and infrastructure exceeds most basic email platforms.
- Is migration quick for switching services?
The company promises easy onboarding and will migrate the first 2,000 subscribers free from another provider to Constant Contact. Support reps can walk users through any migration questions too.
Choose ActiveCampaign if…
ActiveCampaign is the best choice for growing businesses wanting to combine robust email marketing with advanced automation and analysis.
Specifically, the hosted platform offers deep multi-channel workflows across segmented audiences, predictive content tools, and unified data infrastructure through hundreds of integrations. This empowers enterprise functionality for mid-market and startup brands seeking focused innovation and scalability beyond core emails.
ActiveCampaign provides intuitive usability and strong support wrapped in a flexible value model. For a comprehensive platform optimizing customer journeys, choose ActiveCampaign.
Choose Constant Contact if…
Constant Contact serves up easy-to-use email newsletters with stripped-down options appealing foremost to brand-new startups or side projects.
Specifically, the platform offers quality templates, simple subscriber management, and basic deliverability best suited for very small audiences under 5k contacts. Constant Contact shines for nonprofits, creatives, and bloggers prioritizing fast implementation without deep functionality.
The company delivers affordability and great support for micro businesses needing brand awareness and community-building email communications. For hassle-free email marketing without unnecessary CRM complexity, choose Constant Contact.
Check out some Constant Contact alternatives as well.