Seeing how Drip stacks up against ActiveCampaign? This is a no-holds-barred comparison of two platforms that were both built to help your ecommerce business get off the ground running and get right into a full-on sprint. What can you expect for the next 10 minutes, though?
Expect us to to cut the fluff in this comparison of ActiveCampaign and Drip. We won’t plug in weird labels that don’t really mean anything, or fill the page with clunky jargon. And we won’t stack the deck in our favor. (That means we’ll let you know when ActiveCampaign is doing something really well instead of trying to cover it up.)
After all, we want the same thing you do—success for your online business so that you can live the life you’ve always wanted. Our biggest dream is for you to pick the tools that will help your company the most, even if that’s not us right now.
This comparison features nine ecommerce email marketing software essentials that should be considered when choosing your next platform. See how Drip and ActiveCampaign meet each must-have, then make the best decision for you.
1. Plays Nice with Facebook
Us: Make your online shop’s Facebook ads smart, relevant, and personal with Drip’s Facebook Custom Audiences integration. Automatically add or remove people based on things like what pages they visit on your site and which products they just bought. Start, stop, and change the ads your customers see based on the actions they take and create new Facebook Custom Audiences from inside your workflows without ever having to leave Drip.
You can also connect Facebook Lead Ads to Drip which lets you collect information from people showing interest in becoming your customers. After you pick which audiences to target with your Lead Ads, any info that’s entered gets funneled right into your Drip account for further segmentation and personalization capabilities later on. You can also choose to have the submission of a Lead Ad trigger countless reactions, like starting a workflow or adding a tag.
And, if some of your customers aren’t big into utilizing Facebook, you don’t have to worry about not reaching them. Drip is focused on making sure you’re able to connect with all of your customers, no matter where they’re spending time. Reach your customers beyond the inbox and engage with SMS messages, multichannel workflows, and other social media channels like Instagram.
ActiveCampaign: ActiveCampaign also integrates with Facebook Custom Audiences and lets you add and remove contacts from inside your automations (if you have a Plus plan or higher). This allows you to send the right message to the right user and keep your messages in step with your customer’s lifecycle. The integration also lets you upload an ActiveCampaign contact list to Facebook for easy interaction with your customers right where they are.
Like Drip, ActiveCampaign lets you capture leads from Facebook Lead Ads and add them as contacts to your account. However, to do this you’ll need to use a third-party integration platform like Zapier. Zapier is an app that integrates platforms that don’t have their own native integrations—fondly called “middleware.” It’s an easy enough solution, but it will tack on an extra cost every month.
Winner: Both of these platforms offer a sick integration with Facebook Custom Audiences (which is kinda priceless when it comes to effective advertising for your online store). Drip edges out ahead, though, because this integration is available with any plan level.
2. Automation Capabilities
Us: Drip can create if-this-then-that rules, email campaigns and fully automated workflows. Rules can be set to apply and remove tags, change campaigns and workflows a customer is in, and more.
An email campaign is a series of emails that automatically deploys when a someone triggers it. For example, when someone becomes a new customer, they could trigger a campaign that will send them emails filled with warm welcomes, a plethora of coupons, or whatever you want to encourage them to keep buying from you.
A workflow is an automated path your customers are guided down. Workflows can incorporate any integration, campaign, Facebook ads, and more.
With Drip, automations can be triggered by a seemingly endless number of actions people take with your emails, your Facebook Ads, or across your whole website. And to make things even better, you can start and stop automations based on milestones people reach, such as completing a campaign or making a purchase, so you’re never redundant in your messaging.
ActiveCampaign: In ActiveCampaign, automated workflows are created using the platform’s automation workflow builder. You’re able to build as many automations as you want while choosing the function of the actions and the order they sit in each sequence. Once you set up an automation, it’ll run with no input from you.
Automations can gather data to create profiles of your contacts, react to contact behavior in real time, and create automated email follow-ups. ActiveCampaign lets you create campaign automations that track the actions and behaviors of your contacts, like how many times they visit a webpage and whether or not they watched a video.
ActiveCampaign comes complete with a feature called Customer Experience Automation (also known as CX Automation) that lets users automate unique experiences for each individual customer. From sending customers through unique sequences to hitting their inboxes with customized content at the perfect time, CX Automation focuses on the personal side of customer messaging.
Winner: Setting up an automation in ActiveCampaign can be tricky—you’re met with a lot of popup prompts when you build one from scratch. While the capabilities of workflows made in Drip and ActiveCampaign seem pretty even, the user experience in ActiveCampaign isn’t as seamless and intuitive. Plus, if you’re looking for an ECRM platform that has always focused on the personalized side of ecommerce since the very beginning, Drip is the platform you’re looking for.
3. Visual Builder
Us: With intuitive visuals, workflow mapping, and color coding that’s easy to follow, Drip’s visual workflow builder is user-friendly and clean-cut to keep the big picture in focus. If you’re putting together a series of emails in an email campaign, a vertical timeline lets you see when your emails will send.
And when inside of Workflows, you’ll be met with a more detailed builder that lets you see how people are entering Workflows, which actions are taking place, and which branches they’re following based on their own journey.
Plus, on top of clear and visual Campaign and Workflow builders, email builder is intuitive and makes beautiful, image-driven emails that reflect your brand and makes selling products easy peasy.
ActiveCampaign: ActiveCampaign’s drag-and-drop email designer gives you control over your campaign’s layout. Formatting options let you create the look and feel you’re going for and the advanced split testing feature allows for flexibility to test all variables—sender info, subject lines, and body content—with the winning version being automatically chosen based on click rate or open rate after a specified time period. ActiveCampaign allows for a visual overview of all automations to see how everything connects and how effectively it impacts your marketing.
Winner: Like I mentioned above, ActiveCampaign’s workflow builder is the Achille’s heel here. It’s color-coded and the mapping of each step is easy to follow, but building the workflow is a less-than-intuitive experience. Because of that, Drip lands on top here.
4. Individual Customer Journeys
Us: Since customers are your numero uno priority, it’s critical that you have the tools to identify your most engaged customers (and least engaged customers) so that you can communicate on a meaningful level. Drip uses Lead Scoring so you can set a point threshold for when someone turns from a prospect to a hot lead. Visual customer timelines and segmenting by “# of clicks over X amount of time” help you target the engagement levels of all your customers.
When you click on any of your leads or customers, you enter a visual timeline that highlights all of their milestones since first getting on your list. The timeline shows emails they’ve received and opened, workflows they’ve started and completed, and tags that have been applied to the individual. If you’re tracking conversions or events, this info will also show up in the timeline feed.
Drip also comes fully loaded with a brand new feature: Split Testing in Workflows. Test multiple strategies in a single workflow to see which experiences drive the most conversions, total site visits, and which experiences generate the most revenue. Workflow Split Testing is ready to give you the ecommerce data that matters most.
ActiveCampaign: ActiveCampaign also uses Lead Scoring. Points can be added or subtracted based on actions or inaction and they can expire after a set amount of time. You can also apply tags, create tasks, and move leads to another stage of a deal.
ActiveCampaign logs every page your contacts visit and how many times they visit each page, so you’ll have a ranked, continuously updated list of your best leads. You can see who is on the verge of buying a product or who isn’t quite ready to pull the trigger yet so you can always send the most relevant messaging.
Winner: ActiveCampaign wins here with its ability to add tasks inside each customer timeline. Both Drip and ActiveCampaign provide the whole picture behind each customer, but tasks in ActiveCampaign are useful for keeping track of leads and customers you want to get in touch with pronto.
5. Segmentation Capabilities
Us: At Drip, we understand that everyone has a different, unique journey. And since your ecommerce business is going to want to know a lot about each person who comes its way, Drip uses tag- and event-based segmentation.
Tags add visual identifiers to people to help you better understand their behavior and engagement level. These labels can be based on anything from names to dates to any action and beyond so that you can make personalized communications that truly connect. Segments can be as niche or as broad as you want for each broadcast email, workflow, or campaign.
And now, with Drip’s Shopper Activity API, any ecommerce platform can hook up easily segment, automate, and email based on shopper activity in its store. Trigger automations based on items ordered, segment people based on items ordered, add product details and images to abandoned cart emails—the sky’s the limit!
ActiveCampaign: Inside of ActiveCampaign, you can target specific groups of contacts based on things like behavior, demographics, location, and tags. Messages can be customized for each contact using conditional content and you can segment dynamically within automations so your marketing adapts to your contacts.
ActiveCampaign’s segment builder is a floating feature that allows you to create “segments on the fly.” It can be accessed from a few places within the platform such as lists, contacts, campaigns, and automations. This app makes it possible to segment your entire list no matter which marketing path you’re taking, be it a one-time email, lengthy campaign, or a sales funnel workflow.
Winner: Segmentation capabilities are limited in some parts of ActiveCampaign. For example, you’re restricted to list-based segmentation when building email campaigns. Drip’s versatility when it comes to segmenting your customers based on basically anything—tags, actions, and more—makes it the clear winner here.
6. Fit Your Stack
Us: Over the past few years, we’ve built a pretty solid integration portfolio that continues to grow. Drip integrates neatly across platforms you already count on, like payment processors, CRMs, Shopify, analytics, and more.
And what if we don’t integrate? Well, that’s right where our handy-dandy, best-in-biz API steps in. Our API helps you connect Drip to your other tools and alternative integrations are always possible through sites like Zapier. And with deeper integrations across your entire marketing stack, you’re able to automate practically every part of your marketing.
ActiveCampaign: ActiveCampaign works with more than 150 apps and integrations. You can send information into and out of your account, depending on your needs and tools. Its native Shopify deep data integration can be used to sync contacts and purchase information into your ActiveCampaign account, and Zapier can also be used to push data from one application into another. The platform works well with Facebook, WordPress, and PayPal.
Winner: It’s a tie—each platform will dovetail nicely with whatever ecommerce tools you’re already using. However, browse each platform’s integrations page to see if the tools you already have in your stack integrate natively or if you’d have to get some help from Zapier as this could sway your decision.
7. Ease of Implementation
Us: The time from the moment you sign up to the moment you start sending with Drip won't be long at all, and anyone should be able to easily implement Drip on day one.
However, we also realize some of our customers might be coming with a ton of existing data, automations, and more from their past platforms. If that's the case and you'd like a hand in making the move over to Drip, we're more than happy to help.
Our ECRM customer success team is at the helm to help you find out what additional service you might need to get you set up and sending quickly and smoothly. Your solutions discovery and one-on-one consultation time with Drip is always flexible, so we can work together on whatever you need at the time. Whether you need help with training, reviewing and optimizing your automations, recreating workflows, and beyond, we have a success plan for you.
Like I said, you can do all of this on your own if you’d like, and if at any time you hit a snag or have a question, feel free to chat with our support team (available 24 hours day, 7 days a week).
ActiveCampaign: With ActiveCampaign, you can import your list, contacts, custom fields, and tags. Its Expert Migration services are free for new customers, however the only requirement is that you have a paid account with a contact limit high enough to import your existing contact lists. It also offers a do-it-yourself option with a migration guide located in its education center.
Winner: Both ActiveCampaign and Drip will help you make a move, and the race gets even closer when you pit Drip's 24/7 support against ActiveCampaign's free migration for new customers. Really, you can't go wrong with either choice when it comes to helping you get set up.
8. Is it Built for Humans?
Us: Clear-cut visuals and navigation for ease of use are our top priorities when it comes to the total in-app experience. Technology shouldn’t be overly complicated. Instead, it should be as intuitive as possible so you (or anyone else on your team) can jump in and get the hang of things in just a few minutes .
Drip is built with the busy online marketer in mind. Our navigation is split into core uses: sending broadcast emails, setting up email campaigns, managing people, building opt-in forms, making automated workflows, and checking out any reporting you’re interested in. These are the features you’ll be building your marketing strategies around, so why not put them right where you need them?
Since personalization is at the heart of Drip’s platform, we make it easier than ever to deliver the most relevant messages to each of your customers. Email copy is able to automatically update for each customer so that your business can show its top-selling products, dish out product recommendations, offer dynamic discounts, and send price-drop notifications.
And if at any time trouble rears its ugly head, our world-class support team is ready to swoop in to save the day. Anyone with a Basic Drip plan and up gets free chat and ticket support 24/7. We also have a knowledge base jam-packed with information and a blog for help and inspiration.
ActiveCampaign: With a down-to-earth, easy-to-use interface, navigating through ActiveCampaign is pretty straightforward. Its drag-and-drop email designer allows for easy control over your campaign’s layout and it comes with templates for most every type of campaign. The advanced split testing is also handy feature that allows you test different versions of a campaign and send each version to a portion on your list so that you can identify which version performs best.
If trouble arises, ActiveCampaign’s large help resources database is extensive and includes articles, tutorials, one-on-one training, and video walkthroughs. There isn’t much opportunity to get totally stuck in this app with so many available resources.
Winner: Drip’s user experience is clutter-free and easy to understand from the time you first log in to when you start a workflow. ActiveCampaign, on the other hand, can get a little cluttered.
Their user dashboard is very busy, the popups can get in the way, and it takes the liberty of moving you around the platform on its own (for example, if I want to add someone to a campaign, ActiveCampaign will take you out of the campaign builder and drop you in the "subscribers" section).
It was a close call between the two, but it came down to the little details between a good experience and a great one with Drip coming out on top.
9. Workflows You Can Set Goals In
Us: A goal is a specific milestone you want people to hit when they’re in a workflow. For example, when someone hits the goal of “made a purchase,” they’re automatically moved forward in your workflow.
Hitting a goal bypasses all the other things you had planned for them—like email campaigns and Facebook ads—and prevents a person from receiving an overabundance of “you-should-buy-this” emails for something they’ve already bought. Setting goals helps you guide customers from one milestone to the next without wasting time or threatening anyone’s sanity.
ActiveCampaign: Automation goals are available on all plan levels with ActiveCampaign. As goals are achieved, contacts jump to other locations in your automation. You can create specific goals by combining conditions, and the goals you create can be used to begin other automations, send more targeted messages to your contacts, and adjust lead scores. Much like Drip, goals in ActiveCampaign keep you from wasting time with your customers.
Winner: It’s another tie! ActiveCampaign joins Drip as one of the few automation platforms that offers true goal functionality, which is pretty priceless when it comes to your customers’ experiences with your company.
ActiveCampaign vs. Drip: The Verdict
In the end, both Drip and ActiveCampaign at least touch on each of these nine online marketing necessities, but one probably aligns closer to your needs right now.
Where ActiveCampaign wins: ActiveCampaign works with more than 150 different apps and integrations. While you’ll probably need a paid Zapier subscription to access some of these integrations, the vast number of available integration options is impressive. It’s sure to fit in your stack now and in the future.
Where Drip wins: If you’re looking to accomplish more tasks with fewer clicks, Drip is your go-to software. The platform is clutter-free, uses down-to-earth language to keep your head grounded, and offers smooth-as-butter navigation options. Building automated Workflows is super slick and will have you keeping up with your customers no matter where they are on their journey from lead to conversion.
Where both ActiveCampaign and Drip win: Both platforms are intuitive and easy to get the hang of in a relatively short amount of time. From impressive automation capabilities designed to take tedious tasks off your plate to easy data migration options, either platform will help you reach your customers when they need to hear from you most.
When making your decision here, you should consider cost per person as well as how each platform will be able to scale with your business. Plus, you might just want to get inside each and see how they feel during your test drive and which one is easier for you to get started in.
Want to save this checklist of nine ecommerce essentials as you continue on your journey of exploring Drip or ActiveCampaign alternatives? Download the whole list here and reference it for as long as you need.
Or if you’re ready to try Drip and see how close you can get to your customers, let’s get started.