Choosing the right software can have a major impact on your marketing success, saving you time while growing your subscriber base, increasing engagement, and driving more sales. When it comes to email marketing and automation platforms, Drip and ActiveCampaign stand out as two of the top solutions for small businesses and online stores.
In this in-depth Drip vs ActiveCampaign comparison, we evaluate the two email marketing platforms across several key criteria to help you determine the best choice for your needs. We will look at market position and popularity, ease of use, customization options, and included features like blogging, e-commerce, SEO, and analytics functionalities.
By the end, you’ll have a clear picture of the pros and cons of each platform. You’ll understand how they differ when it comes to optimal use cases. And you’ll have the information you need to select the best email marketing and automation solution for your specific business requirements.
1. Understanding the Basics
Founded in 2013 by co-founders Rob Walling and Mike Perham, Drip has continuously innovated in the email marketing and e-commerce automation space. As a fast-growing Bootstrapped company with no external investors, Drip focuses intently on serving over 10,000 customers.
Launched in 2003 by Jason VandeBoom, ActiveCampaign takes a broader approach beyond email to fully integrate marketing, sales, and automation functionality. Over 150,000 businesses in 175 countries use ActiveCampaign.
Both platforms have been around for over a decade. They have large established user bases and command strong positions in the email and customer engagement sectors. ActiveCampaign tends to serve larger enterprises while Drip stays aligned with small business segments.
Drip maintains an active user community through its community Facebook group. Those interested can join conversations or access community knowledge bases covering platform questions.
ActiveCampaign hosts ACTalk, a Facebook group centered around email marketing tactics. It serves as a place to get tips on designing effective automation using ActiveCampaign.
Staying involved with user communities represents a great way to maximize the impact of your email marketing and automation efforts over time, regardless of which solution you choose.
2. Features and Functionality
Drip provides robust email marketing automation centered around sending timed drips based on subscriber actions. You can create multi-step workflows to onboard customers, drive repeat sales, recover cart abandoners, reward loyalty, and more.
Built-in marketing automation tools and templates instantly create common sequences like welcome series, product follow-ups, win-back campaigns, and browse abandonment flows. Beyond templates, the drag-and-drop workflow builder gives extensive control to personalize time-based, event-based, and mixed trigger automation paths.
Custom automation filters segment subscribers based on profiles, behaviors, purchases, web activity, and other attributes to target them within workflows. Personalization options let you insert subscriber fields to tailor messaging.
ActiveCampaign combines email marketing automation with a suite of integrated marketing, sales, and automation tools for complete visibility into the customer journey.
Its automation builder provides an intuitive visual interface and pre-designed templates to instantly map common customer experiences for onboarding, retention, re-engagement, and more. Beyond templates, easily create custom multi-channel automation with time delays, conditional logic, and filters to orchestrate CX across email, messaging, web, and ads.
Dynamic content personalization happens in real-time based on consumer data and behavior while automation segmentation tools divide contacts based on characteristics and interests. Site tracking gives web intelligence to further target and trigger automation.
While both platforms offer robust automation, ActiveCampaign wins when it comes to flexibility in designing multi-channel customer journeys spanning email, SMS, website, and ads. The marketing automation tool has a combination of customer data-driven personalization and seamless CX orchestration across more channels gives greater customization potential.
Drip provides professionally designed email templates covering common uses like welcome series, product launches, announcements, newsletters, and more. Browse by category or use search tools to discover responsive templates right for your brand.
Edit HTML templates directly or use a drag-and-drop editor to customize backgrounds, insert images/videos, adjust column layouts, and remake templates to match your style guide. For further personalization, use merge tags to dynamically pull in subscriber attributes.
While Drip offers beautiful starting templates, you’ll need web design skills for advanced customizations vs point-and-click editing. Download custom CSS to craft templates or design fully custom emails using the blank Canvas template.
ActiveCampaign gives professional email template design services to create customized, brand-aligned templates for your automation and broadcasts. Or choose from an extensive template marketplace with free and paid options to rival many other marketing automation tools.
Use the intuitive template editor to swap images/content, pick colors, adjust layouts, and customize responsive templates quickly without coding knowledge. Dynamic content and personalization give relevant subscriber-level messaging.
Design truly one-of-a-kind emails for successful email marketing campaigns, starting from a blank canvas template if you have HTML/CSS skills. Or a hybrid approach of customizing existing templates to your brand style. Get templates designed for specific campaigns or as part of ongoing template design services.
While both platforms provide professional templates, ActiveCampaign wins for email template capabilities based on its combination of services, personalization, and ease of editing. The template editor intelligently adjusts content while letting you rework layouts. Customization ranges from picking templates to fully bespoke design services for a flexible approach to match communication to the brand.
Drip provides powerful segmentation tools to divide contacts based on profiles, behaviors, activity, tags, and other attributes. Segment consumers to send targeted, personalized content that resonates.
Visual campaign segmentation builder lets you create segments using drag-and-drop rules combining multiple data types and sources. Send appropriate messages based on key subscriber data points like name, location, order history, page visits, custom tags, and more.
Drip automation feature segmentation filters you can apply to design streams targeted to that group. Further, personalize within workflows based on custom field merge tags.
Hit performance triggers to advance segmented groups into new automated paths when they complete actions like email opens, link clicks, marking calendar events, and custom goal completions.
ActiveCampaign delivers intelligent behavioral segmentation powered by machine learning algorithms that track website visits, clicks, email engagement, and more.
Create dynamic smart lists that automatically update based on subscriber activity like email engagement, visiting certain pages, funnel progression, tag assignment, custom field values, and other data points.
Apply segments directly within email automation builders to target groups with tailored content while designing self-optimizing journeys that advance users based on engagement.
Leverage over 70 pre-built integrations to enhance segmentation with swipe & intent data, customer lifetime value, review sites, chat tools, and other apps to round out understanding.
ActiveCampaign wins when it comes to leveraging subscriber signals from email, website, and third-party apps to enable smarter segmentation. Automated smart lists instantly divide contacts based on intelligent tracking while custom combinations provide added flexibility in grouping users with similar behaviors, interests, and attributes.
Drip provides robust email analytics covering opens, clicks, unsubscribes, spam reports, and revenue tracking. View performance for individual campaigns or assess trends over time.
Email analytics deliver open and click rates, conversion numbers, unsubscribe impacts, and revenue data. Click tracking shows content resonance. Compare stats between campaigns and segments.
The subscriber timeline gives a holistic view of user journeys across email sends, automation enrollment, site visits, tags, custom events, and other touchpoints. Identify engagement patterns.
Funnel analytics reveal how contacts progress through conversion workflows. Filter reports by segments and campaigns. Discover performance influencers and bottlenecks.
Integration with Google Analytics for deeper analysis based on site visitor behavior before and after email interactions.
ActiveCampaign combines email insights with a 360-customer view and advanced reporting spanning beyond just email.
See comprehensive data covering email campaigns, automation, forms, landing pages, CRM, text messages, posts, ads, and more to connect interactions. Assess attribution and map journeys.
Flexible dashboards give big-picture visibility or detailed analysis on opens, clicks, conversions, unsubscribes, shares, revenue, list growth, ROI, and other key metrics in one place across communication channels.
Custom reports, cohorts, and advanced segmentation provide added intelligence. Further, integrate 100+ marketing platforms through AppConnect partnerships that auto-sync engagement data.
ActiveCampaign wins for analytics thanks to complete visibility connecting email to wider cross-channel CX. This single dashboard view paired with deep customization surpasses standard email reporting to optimize entire customer experiences, not just email results.
Drip provides e-commerce-specific functionality designed around maximizing customer lifetime value and growing product sales through effective post-purchase communication for your entire sales team.
A visual Campaign Timeline provides a unified messaging plan across marketing, promotions, and lifecycle touchpoints. Schedule cross-channel content and automation by subscriber cycle stage. Track ROI of retention campaigns focused on existing buyers.
Automation can trigger custom events like first purchase, repeat orders, cart abandonment, and more. Send personalized messages to re-engage customers, offer incentives, and drive more spending. Integrate product catalogs and enhance segmentation with purchase history data.
ActiveCampaign uniquely combines breadth across sales, marketing, and automation. Beyond its email marketing core, ActiveCampaign doubles as a sophisticated CRM platform with extensive lead-scoring features and sales pipeline visibility.
With website and landing page builders included, you can instantly spin up conversion-focused pages that integrate natively with your automation and email flows for complete optimization across touchpoints. Site tracking enriches contact profiles.
Expanded channel capabilities empower you to orchestrate unified messaging journeys across multiple channels—from email to SMS to customizable postcards to in-app messages—for true omnichannel CX tied to intelligent automation.
ActiveCampaign takes the win when it comes to platform breadth, bundling together different point solutions business owners otherwise pay for separately—like email, CRM, web pages, and cross-channel messaging—into a single robust customer engagement suite priced very competitively.
3. Ease of Use
Drip provides an intuitive email marketing platform centered around core functions like building campaigns, creating automation, and analyzing results. The clean, focused interface makes it easy for beginners to get started.
Main navigation remains streamlined across the top while keeping key actions easily accessible. Setting up initial elements like forms, templates, and workflows is straightforward using templated options that still allow for customization.
While focused on email marketing experts, Drip still enables first-time users to launch campaigns quickly. The platform shortcuts complexity to emphasize critical tools for growing and managing subscription lists, sending broadcasts, and reviewing analytics.
Less technically inclined users may eventually find themselves wanting more built-in options for creating landing pages, advanced automation, or cross-channel coordination functionality without custom coding skills. However, the core email capabilities have an easy learning curve.
ActiveCampaign delivers a powerful yet intuitive user experience that both email marketing beginners and experts can use to their full potential right away.
Despite its greater platform breadth, the UI remains clean and focused by highlighting different capability sections across the top navigation bar while keeping critical actions easily accessible in a left-side toolbar.
Getting started is fast thanks to hundreds of pre-built automation, email, and journey templates to choose from. Drag-and-drop builders allow those with no coding skills to create professional emails, landing pages, forms, and more in minutes.
While feature-packed, ActiveCampaign’s UX guides users naturally through leveraging its tools without unnecessary complexity. Strong documentation and training resources provide added support.
ActiveCampaign edges out Drip when it comes to providing an easy-to-use system both for beginners and demanding users. Despite offering far more expansive features, ActiveCampaign’s intuitive interface, drag-and-drop tools, and library of templates enable rapid adoption across customer journey orchestration.
4. Email Deliverability
Drip optimizes email deliverability through proprietary send infrastructure, compliance monitoring, and optimization tools. All customers gain access to dedicated IP addresses and domains along with deliverability guidance.
Send throttling automatically staggers large sends to avoid triggering spam filters while robust inbox placement tests subscriber engagement. Granular mailbox provider reporting highlights ISP’s reputation.
Email authentication via SPF, DKIM, and DMARC maximizes deliverability and protection from spoofing. Custom CSS inlining removes excess styling. Additional compliance features maintain proper consent logs, suppression lists, and subscription preferences.
The Deliverability Coach surfaces personalized suggestions to improve open and click rates. Recommendations cover suppression list management, blocking IPs, inbox testing, subject lines, content personalization, and sender tactics.
ActiveCampaign partners with major ISPs to maintain optimal IP and domain reputations for reliable email delivery. Traffic shaping automatically throttles sends based on historical data to avoid unsafe volumes.
Proprietary deliverability algorithms called Gradual Engagement constantly assess subscriber engagement levels to determine safe send frequencies. This avoids overwhelming new contacts while maximizing attention from engaged subscribers.
Moreover, intelligent list cleaning happens behind the scenes to routinely purge inactive email addresses. Email authentication, compliance monitoring, and styling checks further boost inbox placement through whitelisting.
A dedicated deliverability team actively monitors reputation health and inbox placement in real time across ISPs. They send alerts about factors impacting deliverability while advising on best practice improvements.
Drip and ActiveCampaign both provide enterprise-grade email deliverability essentials for maximizing inbox placement. Compliance protections, intelligent send volume adjustment, and real-time monitoring enable industry-leading open and click rates.
5. Customer Support and Community
Drip focuses customer support around email-based ticketing and personalized Drip guides. Submit tickets 24/7 via email for assistance from real people. Expect fast, friendly, and effective answers.
Drip Guides provide customized one-on-one support through screen share sessions with email marketing experts on the Drip team. Book times to tackle platform questions, discuss strategies or receive workflow advice tailored to your goals.
Self-serve support resources include knowledge base articles, platform tutorials, webinars, and documentation around core features. Some advanced functionality lacks official materials.
The Drip Stronger Community group on Facebook has 19,000 members. Join conversations among email pros and merchants to ask questions, share ideas, and access a community knowledge base.
ActiveCampaign provides multiple tiers of customer support spanning self-service content to individual guidance. Options range from DIY help resources to personal CX consultants.
The online knowledge base houses thousands of support articles and platform guides that dive deep into product features, automation, integrations, and use cases. Interactive troubleshooting identifies fixes.
Submit tickets 24/7 to ActiveCampaign’s global support team via email or live chat for assistance from real people around technical issues to complex platform questions. Expect rapid and effective answers tailored to your unique needs.
For larger accounts, onboarding specialists and customer experience managers offer personalized attention focused on your platform adoption and helping to actualize goals through marketing automation strategy and execution.
ActiveCampaign edges out Drip for customer support thanks to its multi-tier options balancing scalable self-service content with dedicated personal guidance via tickets, chat, and one-on-one consultant partnerships for more demanding users.
Drip connects with over 700+ third-party apps via Zapier covering important platforms like webinars, payment, membership, e-commerce, surveys, and other marketing tools.
Out-of-the-box it partners with leading commerce platforms BigCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce for unified data syncing. Install modular Drop-ins from the Drip Appstore to enable more customized purchasing integrations.
Shop activity feeds convey customer lifetime value through real-time streaming of key buying events and traits into Drip for fine-tuned segmentation and personalized messaging timed to subscriber actions.
Webhooks enable custom app and automation triggers based on store events, while user timelines centralize engagement tracking across integrated software touchpoints.
ActiveCampaign delivers an ecosystem of over 300 native integrations scoped across virtually every common martech stack capability—from CRM and commerce platforms to webinar, chat, and payment tools. This creates unified data environments.
Prebuilt connectors auto-sync subscriber and customer activity bi-directionally in real-time from integrated platforms. Further, leverage an open API and Zapier partnership for even more software connectivity.
Site event tracking lays the foundation for understanding digital body language and orchestrating intelligent customer journeys mapped to behaviors across channels. Integrated sales intel enhances segmentation while service case management improves CX.
The App Connect Partners program bridges new data sources to enrich contact profiles, drive smarter segmentation, personalize marketing messages, and inform sales plays.
ActiveCampaign surpasses Drip when it comes to natively integrating the martech stack through its combination of prebuilt connectors, open API architecture, and App Connect Partners ecosystem. This eliminates data silos for complete customer journey visibility and orchestration.
Drip has a simple pricing structure based on the number of contacts in your list. The lowest plan costs $39/month for up to 2,500 people. You can sign up for a free trial on the platform to test out the software before committing to a paid plan.
All plans include unlimited emails, and access to core features like automation, analytics, and integrations. Higher tiers offer more contacts, additional CRM and e-commerce integrations, and priority support.
Overall, Drip is competitively priced and its free tier provides excellent capabilities for early-stage businesses.
ActiveCampaign offers 4 paid plans: Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. Price is based on the number of contacts, with higher tiers adding more features and automation.
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.
They offer free trials and customized quotes for large or complex use cases. The pricing scales well for growing businesses.
When it comes to pricing, ActiveCampaign and Drip remain neck-and-neck with competitive and transparent rates scaled to reflect growing email list sizes and evolving platform requirements. Enterprise options in both provide high-touch support, while free forever starter plans empower small business owners to start optimizing CX without a huge investment. Ultimately pricing stays aligned with delivering robust marketing functionality that small teams can successfully manage based on their growth stage needs and budgets.
8. Reviews and Reputation
Drip earns strong reviews across software review sites like Capterra (4.7/5 stars) and G2 Crowd (4.6/5 stars) for its excellent core email marketing and automation capabilities purpose-built for growing e-commerce brands.
Users praise the easy-to-use, intuitive interface that makes creating campaigns, complex workflows, and subscriber segmentation accessible for first-time email marketers. Customer support and Drip Guides earn added kudos for providing personalized assistance tailored to user needs.
Negative feedback centers mostly around a desire for even more advanced functions like deeper analytics, expanded channels beyond email, or more sophisticated admin user permission controls. But Drip still shines when it comes to email optimization.
ActiveCampaign garners rave reviews on Capterra (4.7/5) and G2 Crowd (4.6/5) for its incredible breadth of marketing automation features while still maintaining impressive ease of use even for non-technical users.
Beyond powerful email capabilities, users highlight ActiveCampaign’s robust feature set combining CRM, intelligent automation, customized reporting, and cross-channel message orchestration under one roof as huge assets. Excellent deliverability and customer support add to the positives.
Some downsides mentioned involve slightly higher learning curves getting oriented within the packed platform compared to more lightweight email solutions. Occasional legacy admin limitations exist as well, though innovation remains incredibly rapid in addressing user requests.
Both Drip and ActiveCampaign earn glowing reviews as category leaders enabling small business owners to drive growth through effective customer engagement. Drip provides best-in-class streamlined email optimization while ActiveCampaign edges ahead based on the unrivaled depth of its integrated automation and CX orchestration across channels—with neither compromising ease of use through unnecessary complexity that bogs down many rival solutions. Both represent fantastic options depending on specific user needs.
9. ActiveCampaign vs Drip: FAQ’s
- What kind of email marketing rules and compliance does Drip offer?
Compared to other email marketing platforms, Drip is a powerful email marketing software that provides granular subscription preference centers, one-click unsubscribe tools, reporting tools, and full CAN-SPAM compliance monitoring with transparent logging.
- Does Drip have e-commerce-specific features?
Yes, Drip integrates natively with platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce. It offers customer lifecycle campaigns triggered by purchase events to maximize repeat business.
- Is Drip easy to use for beginners?
The intuitive drag-and-drop editor, campaign builder, and segmentation tools make it simple even for first-time email marketers to create effective campaigns. But advanced users have room to grow as well.
- How quickly does Drip typically respond to support issues?
You can expect incredibly fast and effective support via email ticketing with the majority of issues resolved same-day.
- Does ActiveCampaign support text messaging and other channels?
Yes, it enables the creation of multi-channel customer journeys across email, SMS, site messaging, push notifications, postcards, and more.
- What kind of deliverability rates does ActiveCampaign enable?
As a top email marketing platform, ActiveCampaign facilitates industry-leading inbox placement and opens thanks to proprietary algorithms, constant monitoring, and ISP relationship building.
- How does ActiveCampaign pricing compare to alternatives?
Very favorably – it packs an unparalleled breadth of features into each transparent, competitively priced tier based on needs. Expect ultimate value.
- Is it easy to create email automation and funnels?
Yes, intuitive drag-and-drop builders and hundreds of templates make it simple for anyone to create multi-layered customer journeys driving tremendous growth.
With its straightforward email marketing focus, Drip shines best for e-commerce brands and online stores focused singularly on optimizing customer communications and driving repeat sales through effective lifecycle touchpoints. Expect an affordable, intuitive way to grow your list and automation engagement.
However, if you feel like Drip simply isn’t for you, then check out my Drip alternatives guide to potentially find a more fitting email marketing platform.
ActiveCampaign takes the lead for users wanting to coordinate smarter cross-channel customer journeys spanning email, SMS, web, mobile, and more – powered by robust segmentation tools and an unrivaled feature set combining messaging, automation, CRM, and marketing analytics under one roof.
The right email and marketing automation solution empowers your team to drive growth by better understanding your customers and engaging them with personalized experiences tailored to their needs. We hope this comprehensive comparison gives you clarity in selecting the best platform for your unique business goals and use case.