Many business owners are looking for the perfect email marketing service that will suit their needs. If you are one of those people, then this article is for you. In it, we'll be discussing two popular email marketing services: Ontraport vs ActiveCampaign. We'll compare features, customer support, ease of use and pricing to provide a recommendation on which service we think is better suited for your business!
Ontraport vs ActiveCampaign – Features Comparison
The first thing we'll discuss is the features of the two marketing automation services.
This part is a bit of a challenge as it's not really an apples-to-apples comparison.
Ontraport is an all-in-one marketing solution while ActiveCampaign is an email marketing tool – you'll need to couple it with a landing pages software like ClickFunnels, popup software like Thrive Themes or Optin Monster, and if you're selling courses, a course platform like Thinkific or Teachable.
So if you want all of your marketing automation under one roof, you could reasonably stop right here and choose Ontraport.
However, that's not the end of the story.
While ActiveCampaign is primarily an email autoresponder – they're known to be the absolute best when it comes to email deliverability. In benchmark tests, they've remained best in class for years (until last year when they were unseated by SendinBlue).
This is primarily because they are very strict about the types of businesses they allow to use their services.
Specifically, they do not allow dietary supplements, male enhancement products, affiliate marketing, day trading tips, work-at-home and lead generation opportunities, or multi-level marketing.
So regardless of how good their deliverability is – if your business is in one of those markets ActiveCampaign just isn't a viable solution for you. You might get away with sending for a little while but once they see you're sending regarding a restricted industry they will shut down your account.
While Ontraport has very strict spam policies, they don't have such strict restrictions on the types of businesses that can use the service.
This makes it a better choice if your business could be considered a higher risk like network marketing, credit repair, trading, or make money online.
Ontraport vs Active Campaign: Email Marketing
When it comes to email marketing and marketing automation, both tools have visual, drag-and-drop workflow builders… I work extensively in both but find Ontraport's interface slightly more intuitive.
Ontraport has more comprehensive email marketing and text messaging tools than ActiveCampaign does – including an SMS gateway that lets you send texts to your customers straight from their software.
Currently, two-way text messaging isn't available through Ontraport but anticipate that feature will be released at some point with their new app (already available for Android and will be available in the next month for iPhone users).
Ontraport vs ActiveCampaign: Marketing Automation
When it comes to the ActiveCampaign vs Ontraport debate for marketing automation, Ontraport has a slight edge.
ActiveCampaign's Marketing Automation feature is based upon triggers and conditions that are set within each campaign which Ontraport also allows you to do but Ontraports rules can be applied for the entire account.
Both are excellent and best in class when it comes to email marketing solutions, and marketing automation solutions.
Ontraport is a bit more user-friendly and easier to navigate. Ontraport's automation rules can be applied across an entire account, whereas ActiveCampaign’s triggers are tied to individual campaigns.
Features: Ontraport was designed for the small business owner who does not have a dedicated IT team and needs business process automation that they can set up in minutes or even hours as opposed to days or weeks with other offerings in the campaign automation space.
Ontraport vs Active Campaign: Automated Marketing Campaigns and Templates
Ontraport does offer a “Quick Start” option for marketing campaigns and templates that can be customized to your needs.
This saves a ton of time as it includes automation as well as landing pages.
ActiveCampaign does offer a “Quick Start” option as well, but Ontraport offers more options and features.
Ontraport's templates and campaign options are also a lot more robust.
Marketing Campaigns ActiveCampaign vs Ontraport: Ontraport offers a lot more automation features, and has templates that are much more robust.
ActiveCampaign also offers some advanced marketing automation platform features lead scoring and pulls in social media data automatically. Their sales CRM is just a little too basic for most sales teams
Which one is better?
Ontraport will be easier on your budget if you're just starting out as it includes all of its software services in one price and the sales CRM is quite robust.
Even though ActiveCampaign has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use, drag-and-drop campaign creation tools, it doesn't include task management, payment processing, a fully functioning sales funnel, and an affiliate program which Ontraport does.
Ontraport vs ActiveCampaign Reporting Options
Ontraport's reporting is much better than ActiveCampaigns in terms of the analytics, metrics, and info available to you for your marketing campaigns. Ontraport's analytics are a lot more robust, and Ontraport offers more metrics than ActiveCampaign.
One of Ontraport's shortcomings was its analytics dashboard. While the reporting was great, there was no graphical visualization. That was updated recently and now the Ontraport dashboard includes graphs, bringing it in line with some of the best Analytics dashboards on the market. Ontraport recently added a visual
Ontraport's marketing automation features include lead scoring which is an excellent feature to have for sales teams. Ontraport also integrates with Google Analytics to provide detailed information about your visitors – including how they found you and what pages on your site they visit.
Ontraport is a lot more user-friendly than ActiveCampaign in terms of navigating the software to do tasks and find information.
Ontraport offers UTM tracking as well as individual tracking based on each campaign so that each contact can be tracked accurately over time without having to go back into the reports every time new traffic comes in or something changes within the account. That way you can easily see where your best traffic comes from and can spend your marketing effort and dollars in the most effective way. This works well with Google Analytics.
Customer Relationship Management Capabilities (CRM)
When it comes to customer relationship management, both companies do a great job. Both keep track of every action your contacts take including email opens and clicks, as well as site visits.
Ontraport does a better job of pipeline management but that's a custom setup that you may want Ontraport support or an Ontraport Certified Consultant to help you with.
Ontraport is good at this because it will show you which contacts are the most engaged, how many campaigns they're on, and when their next follow-up date is, based on your settings. Ontraport also makes doing workflows or using templates a breeze with its drag-and-drop functionality.
Active Campaigns has better reporting capabilities but Ontraport has recently made a big update in this area that may give Ontraport the edge. Ontrapoint's reporting is much more visual and easier to understand than ActiveCampaign's and has more options for exporting or slicing data in a variety of ways.
Ontraport users are happy to finally have a mobile app. The app offers a convenient way for users to manage their contacts and leads on the go. It's also great for staying productive while on the go by allowing users to create new tasks, appointments, and notes.
ActiveCampaign on the other hand can be accessed on mobile devices (not a good experience on a phone but works well on tablets). They also have a basic app that works well for contact management.
Ease of Use
When comparing Ontraport vs Active Campaign for ease of use, I find Ontraport to be easier and faster in terms of building full systems.
That's because as an all-in-one you can build your landing page, lead generation forms, payment processing, and membership sites on the fly inside the same software.
They are also much easier when it comes to getting reports for certain metrics. For example, you can easily check the Open Orders report to see what recurring revenue you can expect in the next 30 days… where in ActiveCampaign you don't have that information since they don't process your payments.
Activecampaign and Ontraport are both awesome when it comes to the depth of customization but that also takes time to set up, depending on what you want your email campaign template setup like.
As I said earlier, at some of the higher levels of Active Campaign you can build landing pages and sort-of sales funnels but for the most part you're going to be integrating with a third-party landing page software like ClickFunnels or LeadPages.
Both Ontraport and ActiveCampaign are very straightforward with how they display their analytics inside each dashboard – although with their latest update I find Ontraport's user interface a little more intuitive.
Campaign creation and campaign management are easy in both tools, and they are both great for established businesses looking to scale. Ontraport has a more robust business suite but both are excellent email marketing solutions to create personalized messages to connect with your contacts.
Since ActiveCampaign doesn't actually process payments you might think they don't really do sales automation… but that's not the case.
Particularly when it comes to shopping cart integration and deep data integrations with eCommerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce Active campaign really shine. Since they provide live eCommerce data you can still track sales and do drop deal tracking.
That said, Ontraport's full-stack CRM does a lot more as it can build full-blown sales funnel with upsells, downsells, and order bumps, handles task management, affiliate program management along with robust CRM, and SMS messaging channels.
Their advanced sales reports are user-friendly, and their advanced tools, multiple SMS channels, website tracking, and marketing analytics definitely put them at the head of the pack for online businesses – particularly small and medium-sized businesses.
Both services provide a visual campaign builder, clear email campaign analytics, and basic CRM functionalities but Ontraport handles all of these slightly better IMO.
Ontraport vs Active Campaign Pricing
Again, this isn't an apples-to-apples comparison – Ontraport is more expensive to start but also offers a lot more features.
ActiveCampaign starts out very inexpensive but the price rises quickly as you grow your contact list.
Marketing automation platforms and such software price based on number of contacts, number of emails sent, and number of users (none that I know of have unlimited users).
The pricing for both Ontraport starts at $79 and ActiveCampaign starts at $9 per month.
First of all, don't bother with Ontraport at the Basic $79 account level – you miss out on key features like payment processing, membership/course functionality, automated tasks, and affiliate tracking as well as some other cool features.
To get an account you love that does everything you want it to do, you'll want to start at the Plus level ($149/month) if you have under 2500 contacts or the Pro level ($297/month) for up to 10,000 contacts.
Plus gives you two included user accounts, while Pro gives you 3. Additional user seats are $47/month. Basic (which you don't want anyway) gives you only 1 user seat with no option to add more).
Want to save money on your Ontraport account? You can get two months free if you pay annually.
ActiveCampaign starts at $9/month (when paid annually – $15 per month on a month-to-month basis) which is competitive if you have less than 500 contacts. But that's for under 500 contacts (hopefully if that's you right now, you want to grow quickly) and very few features so again, not a plan I'd recommend and not at all comparable to Ontraport.
To try to make a fair comparison you'd have to look at their Lite plan for 2500 contacts which is $55 a month, or their Plus plan for 2500 contacts which is $125 a month.
At the Plus level, you actually get landing pages but in my opinion, the builder is very clunky and I wouldn't recommend it. I work with a lot of clients who use ActiveCampaign and I don't know a single person who uses the page builder.
ActiveCampaign vs Ontraport: Customer Support
Ontraport has excellent customer support.
They offer instant chat from 6am to 12am PST on weekdays and 8am to 10pm PST on the weekend.
A support feature that sets Ontraport apart is their Screenshare support function. With a couple of clicks of a button you can schedule a screen share with tech support and can usually be online with them in under an hour (sometimes in less than 15 minutes!)
ActiveCampaign has great customer support too, but not quite as robust. They provide responsive chat support but that's it until you're at the enterprise level where you get access to phone support.
Ontraport wins hands down in this category.
Ontraport vs Active Campaign – Types of Businesses
Types of Businesses Best Suited for Ontraport
Ontraport is best for service-based businesses. Ontraport is suited for any business that needs to stay in touch with clients, for example, coaches, consultants, course creators, speakers, authors, industry experts, and online business in general.
Customer Service Best Suited for Ontraport
We're really impressed with Ontraport's customer service department. They always respond quickly to inquiries, they provide helpful feedback on how you can improve your business, and are prompt in responding to requests for help or clarification.
Types of Businesses Best Suited for ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign's email marketing automation can be used by service-based businesses as well, but they're also a good fit for those who need deep integration with e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce and Shopify.
They have a couple of tools that Ontraport doesn't offer, such as an e-commerce engine and cart abandonment emails.
Customer Service Best Suited for ActiveCampaign?
ActiveCampaign's customer service team has been great so far when we've reached out with questions about their software. We had one instance where the response time was slow but once they resolved the issue no problem – it's just not instant like it is with Ontraport.
Other things to consider…
Both software suites will allow you to create automated campaigns using a campaign builder.
Both have a user-friendly interface, free email templates with an intuitive layout, and data-driven tools.
Both Ontraport and ActiveCampaign
However, when it comes to contact management, sales CRM, complex tag scenarios and an intuitive block-based editor to create your lead capture forms, web forms, custom pop up forms, membership sites, and creating referral tracking links – Ontraport is going to lead.
However, if you're a digital marketer in the ecommerce space looking for an automation builder that integrates with all the tools and has social integration, ActiveCampaign is better.
Marketing Automation Software Winner?
In my opinion, Ontraport is going to be the clear winner for most email marketing automation capabilities and want templates with easy-to-use functionality. If you need more eCommerce functionalities like deep integration with Shopify or WooCommerce then ActiveCampaign would be a better fit for your business.
The prices are comparable so just pick whichever one fits your needs! And if you're still on the fence, let customer service be the dealbreaker… in this case, Ontraport wins hands down!
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