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Regarding email marketing and automation platforms, SendGrid and ActiveCampaign are two of the top choices on the market. With the ability to manage contacts, send emails, automate workflows, and more, these solutions help businesses connect with customers in a scalable way.

However, choosing the right email marketing platform is critical for long-term success. The platform you select impacts your ability to grow your email list, design on-brand email marketing campaigns, integrate with other software, track results, and provide reliable delivery.

In this in-depth comparison, we evaluate SendGrid vs ActiveCampaign across several key criteria to give you a clear sense of which solution may be the best fit for your business goals and use case. Whether you’re looking to step up your email marketing game or implement sophisticated automation, this analysis aims to provide the details you need to determine which platform is right for you.

1. Understanding the Basics

Founded in 2009, SendGrid helps businesses increase deliverability and track email marketing performance. The Denver-based company was started by Isaac Saldana, Jose Lopez, and Tim Jenkins.

In late 2017, SendGrid was acquired by Twilio for $3 billion and now operates as a subsidiary. With 180,000+ customers, SendGrid has established itself as a leader in the transactional and marketing email space.

ActiveCampaign entered the market earlier in 2003. The platform helps businesses automate email campaigns and build customer relationships. Jason VandeBoom in Chicago founded it and has served over 120,000 customers worldwide. ActiveCampaign is particularly popular among small businesses and has developed an avid user community.

Those looking to connect with other SendGrid users can join the 20,000-member SendGrid Community Facebook group. For ActiveCampaign, check out their 9,200-member Users Facebook community.

2. Features and Functionality



SendGrid offers robust email automation with its Workflow app. Users can create triggers based on time or customer actions to send sequences of up to 100 emails.

Workflows support multiple lists, custom field data, and tags to target specific groups. You can also set up welcome campaigns, cart abandonment flows, subscriber resubscription workflows, and more.

The Workflows builder makes it easy to create if/then scenarios to segment contacts. SendGrid also enables the creation of custom signup forms to capture additional data from website visitors to trigger workflows. Other notable features include A/B testing workflow emails to optimize performance.

Overall, this email marketing tool provides a full-featured workflow builder to automate multi-email sequences. The visual editor and segmentation options give users flexibility in crafting targeted campaigns. However, you don’t get more advanced options like sales or social media automation.


ActiveCampaign is designed specifically for marketing automation and goes deeper than SendGrid’s offerings. You can create multi-channel automation across email, SMS, social media, and more. Automation can also integrate eCommerce and CRM data to personalize communication and trigger workflows.

The platform makes it easy to set up segments and scores, often referred to as list groups, to track customer behavior and engagement.

List groups feed into extensive if/then workflow logic to determine what emails or other messages each contact receives. ActiveCampaign also enables A/B split testing content blocks within automation for optimization.

In terms of email capabilities, you can schedule an unlimited number of emails with over 550 templates available. Workflows can handle multiple subscriber action scenarios and integrate custom signup forms on your website for data capture.

Overall, this email marketing platform dominates when it comes to deep, multi-channel automation using robust segmentation and conditional logic tools. The ability to track subscriber scores and behavior provides enhanced personalization compared to what SendGrid offers out of the box.

Winner: ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is the clear winner when it comes to marketing automation capabilities. The platform’s focus on automation with multiple channels, custom scores, and complex conditional logic simply outclasses what you can achieve with SendGrid’s workflow builder.

While both platforms offer robust email sequencing, ActiveCampaign enables personalizing beyond demographics to build truly tailored subscriber journeys.

Email Templates


SendGrid offers a template gallery with over 250 professionally designed email templates to choose from. Templates are mobile-friendly, customizable, and coded for email clients like Gmail, Outlook, and more.

Categories of this email marketing software span common use cases such as welcome emails, promotions, newsletters, notifications, and more.

The template editor streamlines building from the premade options using a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) interface.

You can easily upload images, and customize text, colors, and fonts. For those wanting more advanced customizations, HTML editing is also available. Overall, the template design and editing experience is intuitive for the average user to create a complete email marketing strategy.

SendGrid also enables the creation of reusable blocks of content to maintain brand and campaign consistency across emails. This makes it simple to quickly build out new templates by pulling from saved sections like headers, footers, calls to action, etc.


ActiveCampaign comes packed with over 550 professional, customizable email templates optimized for a variety of use cases and industries.

Like SendGrid, they offer easy-to-use WYSIWYG editing tools to customize things like text, layout, colors, images, and more without any HTML or coding knowledge needed.

While their templates look sharp out of the box, those wanting more advanced graphic design capabilities may find SendGrid provides more flexibility.

However, a key difference is that ActiveCampaign builds each template using its own Custom Design Tech that works behind the scenes to optimize emails for each subscriber’s email client automatically. This helps maximize deliverability and open rates across providers.

ActiveCampaign also stands out by enabling users to create reusable blocks, campaigns, and auto-responders. This makes maintaining on-brand messaging efficient long-term. Plus, the shared library allows team members to seamlessly build off of proven email assets.

Winner: Tie

This SendGrid ActiveCampaign comparison shows that when it comes to quality and ease of use of email templates, the two platforms are neck and neck. Both software tools provide professionally designed, mobile-friendly templates covering all common business use cases.

The editing interfaces are similarly intuitive yet powerful for easy customization. Ultimately most businesses will be well served by either offering although ActiveCampaign has an edge when it comes to innovative customization technology under the hood.



SendGrid enables segmenting contacts based on demographic data, email activity, purchase history, and more to target communications. You can create segments using drag-and-drop workflow logic or export to CSV for advanced filtering.

Basic segmentation options include email opens, clicks, bounces, unsubscribes, date added, and custom field data.

The workflow builder provides a visual interface to string together IF/THEN scenarios to filter contacts. You can target groups that meet all or any criteria set to create dynamic segments. However, there is a limit of 5 categories per workflow. Since workflows apply filters at send-time, your segments stay up-to-date.

While demographic filtering is straightforward, SendGrid lags behind more advanced platforms when it comes to behavioral filtering options. You can track basic email engagement metrics but not website behaviors or scoring to yield deeper insights.


ActiveCampaign shines when it comes to segmentation capabilities. You can create list groups based on any subscriber information, engagement data, location details, custom field values, and more.

List groups dynamically update as subscribers take actions like email clicks, form submissions, and site page visits allowing for real-time targeting.

The platform also enables defining custom scores to track engagement levels over time. You can build segments using a score range to target hot leads vs cold contacts. These scores factor in email opens/clicks, site/landing page visits, and e-commerce behaviors.

Advanced marketers will also appreciate ActiveCampaign’s machine learning-powered Predictive Sends to automatically determine each subscriber’s optimal send time to boost open and click-through rates.

Grouping contacts is essential for personalization and ActiveCampaign simply provides more robust filtering functionality.

Winner: ActiveCampaign

A head to head comparison of the process of crafting customized subscriber segments shows that Active Campaign is the winner. The platform offers significantly more advanced segmentation tools, subscriber scoring, and automation to group contacts based on behaviors over time.

This allows for much deeper personalization, strategic marketing, and truly dialed-in target groups compared to what SendGrid can currently provide. The key difference is the ability to track comprehensive on-site and email engagement data for each subscriber profile in ActiveCampaign.



SendGrid provides robust email activity analytics to help gauge campaign performance. You get access to real-time metrics on opens, clicks, bounces, unsubscribes, spam reports, and more.

The intuitive dashboards make it easy to segment data by campaigns, groups, templates, and date ranges to analyze engagement. Users can also leverage recent email activity like open location to further target customers.

Additional features like link click tracking provide visibility into content resonating with subscribers. SendGrid also offers heat mapping to see on-email interaction visually. However, more advanced behavioral analysis requires integrating with external providers like Google Analytics.

For optimizing deliverability, SendGrid provides useful metrics around spam complaints, blocks, and reputation monitoring with ISP feedback. You can leverage this to continually refine sending practices. Despite rich email analytics, tracking website activity requires relying on other tools.


ActiveCampaign takes a more holistic view of connecting marketing activities with contact record data, providing 360-degree customer intelligence. The behavioral-based automation inherently captures multiple data points per subscriber from email, site, event, and sales interactions. This powers the platform’s robust analytics.

You gain deep visibility into subscriber engagement across channels over time. Interactive dashboards, custom reports, and segments allow analyzing performance by campaigns, channels, list groups, and more.

ActiveCampaign also makes it easy to track the ROI of activities via deals and revenue tracking tied back to touchpoints.

For email, ActiveCampaign provides detailed delivery, open, click, and sharing metrics both historically and in real-time. Heatmaps and link click tracking also come built-in for optimizing content. When it comes to actionable analytics, ActiveCampaign simply provides more interconnected datasets.

Winner: ActiveCampaign

With its unified customer intelligence spanning interactions across channels, ActiveCampaign wins for actionable analytics, reports, and segmentation.

While SendGrid offers robust email analytics, ActiveCampaign ties campaign performance back to website behaviors and CRM data to showcase bigger-picture results and ROI. The unified dashboards provide marketing and sales teams with a shared source of truth to glean customer insights.

Unique Features


As an email-focused platform, SendGrid provides unique deliverability and inbox placement capabilities. These features aim to enhance email reliability and engagement beyond basic marketing tools.

SendGrid offers comprehensive email testing tools to perfect messages before sending campaigns. You can preview renders across different devices and clients. There’s also useful spam testing to check messages against major ISPs’ filters before sending to improve deliverability.

For optimizing inbox placement, SendGrid automatically re-engages inactive subscribers to improve the sender’s reputation.

The platform also enables setting granular engagement settings to restrict sending capacity based on complaint rates. Together these capabilities help improve overall email performance long-term.


As a customer experience automation platform, ActiveCampaign packs unique features to track subscriber scores and trigger personalized experiences.

ActiveCampaign Curate offers AI-powered content recommendations to enhance email relevance. It automatically suggests products, links, and messaging to insert based on subscribers’ interests and behaviors.

The platform also provides SMS marketing and cart recovery tools that integrate with email and site workflows. Plus, ActiveCampaign builds subscriber profiles integrating website, sales, and event data in one view for true 360-degree intelligence.

Finally, ActiveCampaign Standout provides professional email and landing page design services tailored to your brand. This delivers highly converting assets completely optimized for your target customer ready to deploy.

Winner: ActiveCampaign

While SendGrid certainly wins for specialized email deliverability, ActiveCampaign takes the prize for its diverse integrated marketing tools that work cohesively to create unique, personalized customer experiences across channels.

Between Curate’s AI content suggestions, automated SMS workflows, and 360-degree subscriber scoring, ActiveCampaign stands out by evolving beyond basic email functionality. No other platform matches the breadth of features purpose-built to understand contacts and engage them effectively.

3. Ease of Use


SendGrid provides a clean, modern user interface across its email campaign creation, contact management, and analytics tools. The left navigation makes it simple to access key features while drag-and-drop workflow and email builders streamline creating without needing technical expertise.

Intuitive wizards guide users through setting up accounts, importing contacts, creating signup forms, and launching first campaigns step-by-step.

SendGrid also provides an interactive email course for onboarding. While the platform is easy to use for basic email sending, those wanting complex automation may need to leverage developer-focused APIs.

Overall, SendGrid’s strengths lie in its clear navigation, responsive interface, and graphical campaign/workflow builders. The platform nicely balances simplicity for beginners while packing enterprise-level capabilities under the hood.


ActiveCampaign delivers exceptional usability across its end-to-end customer experience platform with an intuitive drag-and-drop builder for automation. Users can easily create multi-channel workflows, customize subscription forms, view analytics dashboards, and manage complex segmentation logic.

While packed with features, ActiveCampaign’s elegant interface, Getting Started wizards and hundreds of on-demand videos make the platform approachable for beginners. Yet power users have access to advanced functionality like coding custom front-end form fields.

Well-designed navigation, robust knowledge base resources, and proactive “Trusted Advisor” support create a highly user-friendly experience overall. ActiveCampaign does an incredible job blending simplicity and smart defaults with extreme customization capabilities across its tools.

Winner: ActiveCampaign

When it comes to intuitively designed interfaces enabling both beginners and advanced users to easily tap into powerful functionality, ActiveCampaign wins for ease of use and quality user experience.

While SendGrid provides a polished platform focusing specifically on email marketing campaign needs, ActiveCampaign sets the gold standard for usability across far more diverse customer engagement tools.

4. Email Deliverability


As an email-first platform, SendGrid offers exceptional deliverability and inbox placement tools right out of the box. Features like dedicated IP addresses, domain authentication, and compliance best practices get accounted for automatically behind the scenes.

SendGrid also provides advanced capabilities to optimize deliverability over time such as email rendering previews, spam testing, and granular engagement settings to restrict sending capacity based on complaints.

Useful real-time metrics help monitor deferral rates, bounce percentages, spam reports, and ISP blacklists.

The unique focus results in 99%+ average deliverability rates for SendGrid customers. Furthermore, their recent acquisition by Twilio brings additional capability for secure, reliable email delivery leveraging leading infrastructure.


ActiveCampaign also provides strong email deliverability thanks to dedicated IPs, compliance frameworks, and sender reputation monitoring. The deliverability toolkit enables testing rendering, spam score, and subject lines from right within the platform.

While ActiveCampaign doesn’t specialize in email the way SendGrid does, they utilize a proprietary method called Custom Design Technology to optimize message formatting for each major email client. This helps maximize inbox placement across providers automatically.

Overall, ActiveCampaign produces excellent email deliverability on par with top email marketing solutions. However, SendGrid’s purpose-built functionalities around optimizing engagement, avoiding blacklists, and ensuring reliable inbox delivery give it an edge.

Winner: SendGrid

Thanks to its strategic focus on email, robust deliverability fine-tuning tools, and analytics tied to ISP feedback, SendGrid emerges as the winner for getting your messages reliably to the inbox.

Both platforms will serve most business needs well in terms of deliverability. However, SendGrid provides superior options to maximize and monitor deliverability metrics over the long run.

5. Customer Support and Community


SendGrid provides 24/7 ticketed email support as well as phone support during business hours for all plan levels. Users can also access an extensive library of help articles, guides, and videos within the platform knowledge base to find answers at any hour.

The company prides itself on excellent support with quick first response times and knowledgeable agents. They also monitor social channels for any complaints or issues raised by customers publicly needing attention.

Those wanting to engage with other SendGrid users can join the 20,000-member SendGrid Community Facebook group. The forums provide advice on best practices and discuss product updates. An annual SendGrid customer and developer conference also brings the community together in person.


ActiveCampaign delivers exceptional customer support via 24/7 live chat, email ticketing, and phone lines. Priority support options are also available for bigger accounts. No matter the channel, questions get addressed promptly by friendly and knowledgeable staff.

Users can also access the expansive knowledge base of support articles, webinars, and video tutorials for self-service assistance.

In-platform messaging with guided product tours makes learning intuitive. ActiveCampaign also offers one-on-one tailored training and expert services to guarantee customers utilize the platform effectively.

For community access, over 9,200 members network in the ActiveCampaign Users Facebook group sharing best practices and feedback. An online community forum and annual conference foster additional connections between diverse customer types from entrepreneurs to enterprise marketing teams.

Winner: Tie

When it comes to stellar customer support and engaging user communities, SendGrid and ActiveCampaign both deliver excellent resources covering beginner education through advanced best practices.

Support response times meet high standards via multiple convenient contact options while community groups and events enable valuable peer knowledge sharing so users get the most value from each platform. Determining a clear winner is too close to call.

6. Integrations


As an email-focused platform, SendGrid provides a robust email API and webhooks to connect with popular external applications. Out-of-the-box integrations exist for leading CRM, e-commerce, marketing, and support tools like Salesforce, Shopify, HubSpot, and ZenDesk.

The integrations allow bi-directional data and process syncing. For example, automated contact list updates between your CRM and SendGrid, attaching customer service transcripts to email context, or incorporating purchase data into workflows.

SendGrid also offers a library of pre-built apps and plugins for adding email capabilities directly into platforms like WordPress, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle Sales Cloud, and more. For more advanced system connectivity, SendGrid provides SDKs for popular coding languages.


ActiveCampaign also touts hundreds of built-in integrations to sync key platforms. Beyond bidirectional contact and customer data flows, ActiveCampaign stands out with its deeper workflow-level connectivity.

You can trigger ActiveCampaign automation from Shopify cart events or Salesforce deal status changes for more robust cross-system processes. The unified data model also enables building 360-customer views across integrated tools without reliance on developers.

In addition to CRM, e-commerce, and support app connectivity, ActiveCampaign also uniquely integrates with webinar, SMS, and chat tools for executing truly personalized, cross-channel campaigns with one view of customer engagement and activity across systems.

Winner: ActiveCampaign

While SendGrid provides robust integrations focused specifically on syncing email capabilities with other platforms, ActiveCampaign’s more diverse scope of business tools and channel connectivity for complete personalization wins out when comparing the depth of potential integrations.

Only ActiveCampaign can integrate email with SMS with e-commerce platforms with meeting tools and more to build holistic subscriber experiences.

7. Pricing


SendGrid offers a free tier covering up to 100 emails/day and 2k contacts. Paid plans start at $15/month for 40k emails/month and 5k contacts. Volume pricing gives discounts for sending more emails.

There are also add-ons like dedicated IP addresses and domain authentication to improve deliverability. Given the email-focused specialization, most small business needs can be met fairly affordably.

Overall, SendGrid’s direct pay-as-you-go model makes getting started affordable while supporting easy upgrades as email volumes increase. Discounts apply for longer contract terms as well as qualifying open-source projects and nonprofits.


ActiveCampaign offers 4 self-serve paid plans tiered by the number of contacts, with costs starting at $29/month for up to 500 subscribers for the Lite plan which includes basic email marketing and automation. The most popular Professional package adds advanced features like scoring and sales pipeline views.

Enterprise options cater to demanding use cases with features like site event tracking, priority support, and SMS marketing. As contact counts grow into the thousands, Enterprise custom pricing is available. Overall, ActiveCampaign’s transparent pricing accommodates small to large account needs reasonably.

The pricing structure works nicely for solopreneurs through mid-sized businesses. However, very high-volume, enterprise use cases may find it less cost-efficient than a purely usage-based solution like SendGrid offers as volumes scale into the millions.

Winner: Tie

SendGrid and ActiveCampaign take differing yet competitive approaches to pricing email and marketing platform capabilities that offer solid value. SendGrid’s usage pricing works nicely for the budget-conscious as well as predicts costs clearly as high-volume emailing needs grow.

Yet ActiveCampaign’s free trial and contact-based model lowers barriers to entry for smaller businesses. Comparing pricing depends heavily on your specific email and contact management needs making neither solution an obvious ‘winner’.

8. Reviews and Reputation


SendGrid earns strong reviews from industry experts and customers highlighting ease of use, deliverability, and reliability as top benefits. The platform holds an ‘Excellent’ 4.6/5 average on TrustRadius based on 300+ verified user reviews.

Users praise the simple email campaign setup, flexible API integrations, and quality support. Many note significant deliverability and engagement lift after switching from another provider. Negative feedback primarily centers around some support delays for complex use cases or wanting deeper analytics.

SendGrid also scores very well on G2 with a 4.4/5 rating across almost 700 reviews. Users highlight positive experiences with expertise driving email deliverability and effective segmentation options to improve targeting.

Read SendGrid user reviews on G2.


ActiveCampaign delivers exceptional reviews across rating platforms, earning a ‘High Performer’ badge from G2 based on 500+ verified reviews.

The platform averages an impressive 4.5/5 on Capterra, TrustRadius, and Software Advice thanks to positive feedback on campaign automation capabilities, strong integrations, and top-notch support.

Specific user praise calls out ActiveCampaign as intuitive to learn, easy to use, and very reasonably priced for the value. Customers report the platform helping them organize contacts while automating and personalizing multi-channel campaigns that drive growth.

Negative issues occasionally cite complexity matching needs or user errors yielding spam complaints.

Considering its broad set of marketing-focused features, ActiveCampaign manages to satisfy an incredible spectrum of micro-business to mid-market needs with a polished end-to-end platform.

See ActiveCampaign Reviews on G2.

Winner: Tie

Both SendGrid and ActiveCampaign earn admirable review scores and feedback for driving solid value across core email marketing and automation use cases – not to mention providing quality customer support.

Each solution has minor drawbacks reported around complexity or deliverability according to a small subset of users with specific issues. However, reviewers overwhelmingly recommend both platforms thanks to usability combined with capabilities that provide real ROI.

9. FAQ’s


  • What types of emails can I send with SendGrid?

    SendGrid specializes in the reliable delivery of marketing and transactional email. This includes newsletters, promotions, alerts, invoices, and more.
  • Can SendGrid handle email automation?

    Yes, you can set up segments and multi-email workflows based on time delays or customer actions using the Workflow app. However, more advanced behavioral automation may require an external platform.
  • Is there a limit on emails or contacts with SendGrid plans?

    The lower tiers limit daily emails and total contacts. However, higher plans enable sending millions of emails to an unlimited number of contacts by scaling usage-based costs.
  • How does SendGrid perform on deliverability?

    As an email-focused platform, SendGrid offers strong deliverability through dedicated IPs, compliance tools, and engagement monitoring with rates averaging above 99%.


  • What types of messages can I automate in ActiveCampaign?

    You can create automation across email, SMS, social media, pop-ups, chat, and more based on robust conditional logic and subscriber scores.
  • Can I connect ActiveCampaign to my CRM and e-commerce store?

    Yes, over 500+ integrations exist to sync key platforms for bi-directional data and process automation between tools.
  • How does ActiveCampaign calculate its pricing?

    Pricing is based on the number of contacts, starting at $15/month for up to 500 contacts and up to $299/month for 150,000 contacts, with discounts for annual plans.
  • Is ActiveCampaign easy to use and customize?

    Yes, intuitive drag-and-drop builders, Getting Started guides, and ample educational resources make ActiveCampaign very user-friendly while still supporting advanced functionality.

Final Thoughts

Choose SendGrid if…

You primarily want a reliable email marketing and delivery platform. SendGrid specializes in helping businesses send large volumes of email while optimizing for deliverability and inbox placement.

If you don’t need advanced automation or website personalization tools, SendGrid provides enterprise-grade email capabilities at very affordable rates.

Choose ActiveCampaign if…

You’re looking for an integrated customer experience platform supporting sophisticated email marketing, lead nurturing, and cross-channel automation.

ActiveCampaign shines for users wanting to track website interactions alongside email to trigger personalized multi-channel engagements with contacts as they journey with your brand.

Choosing the right email and marketing automation solution can have a significant impact on your ability to effectively grow your business.

Both email marketing tools stand as leaders in their respective capabilities. Weigh your specific use case, growth plans, and budget to determine the best platform for your needs. Please ask any questions in the comments section below if you need any guidance in evaluating these or other solutions!

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