ActiveCampaign vs. Drip: Which Offers Better Automation Features?

ActiveCampaign and Drip are two of the most popular email marketing software for small and medium businesses.

These two softwares are pioneers in advanced email marketing automation and marketing. They offer you very similar automation features, often causing a dilemma about which one to choose.

In this blog post, we will be comparing ActiveCampaign and Drip, helping you choose the best software to suit workflow requirements.

Let’s get started.

ActiveCampaign vs Drip – An In-depth Look

Overview

ActiveCampaign is designed to be an email marketing software, especially with a mission to make advanced marketing automation functionalities available to small and medium-sized businesses.

It was founded in 2003 by Jason VandeBoom, since then, the platform has evolved greatly with advanced features.

Drip, on the other hand, is a more recent email automation software, especially geared towards eCommerce businesses and marketing automation lovers. It was recently acquired by Leadpages.

It was founded in 2013, it’s truly amazing to see the growth of Drip when it comes to features and popularity.

We can say the growth curve of Drip is remarkable compared to most of the email marketing softwares in the market.

Pros and cons

ActiveCampaign

Pros:

  • Most advanced visual automation builder with dozens of premade automation templates
  • The automation workflows can be exported or imported across various accounts
  • ActiveCampaign has over 250+ integrations with various other tools in the market as it’s quite an old tool
  • ActiveCampaign offers migration if you are moving from any other tool in the market
  • You can track the subscribers’ activities on your site if you install tracking script on your site and target them based on behaviors

Cons:

  • ActiveCampaign has a quite outdated UI/UX and is sluggish at times
  • You cannot remove the ActiveCampaign branding in their Lite plan

Drip

Pros:

  • Powerful visual automation workflow builder and rules feature
  • Campaigns feature that lets you send a set of emails within a period of time without the need for complex workflows
  • Comes with Liquid email templating feature that ActiveCampaign doesn’t come with
  • Drip has only one plan and it allows access to all their features
  • Native integration with Facebook Leads ads, but with ActiveCampaign you need to use Zapier
  • Ability to set expiring URLs for boosting conversions

Cons:

  • It doesn’t allow split testing of email content in automation
  • Drip has fewer integrations than ActiveCampaign as it’s relatively a new tool

Interface

ActiveCampaign has a fairly good UI/UX, but it feels a bit outdated and slow at times compared to the more refined interface of Drip.

ActiveCampaign interface

All the features can be accessed using their sidebar as you can see. The features are easily discoverable and are neatly categorized and nested.

One thing I liked about ActiveCampaign is that in the “Dashboard” screen you can see all the various metrics and activities happening in your account.

ActiveCampaign drag and drop functionality

You can drag and drop the various widgets in the dashboard section as per your convenience.

On the other hand, Drip offers you a very refined UI/UX.

Drip user interface

All the options are accessible using their top bar.

Winner: Tie. Drip comes with a well-refined UI/UX. ActiveCampaign comes with a flexible dashboard and widgets that can be rearranged or removed.

List management

In ActiveCampaign, you have:

  • Contacts (subscribers)
  • Lists
  • Tags
  • Segments

ActiveCampaign doesn’t come with multiple lists. All your subscribers will be called contacts. As ActiveCampaign is also meant to be a CRM, the naming convention used by them makes more sense.

ActiveCampaign list management

You also have the Lists feature to categorize your contacts on a much higher level than tags. This feature is very helpful and is lacking in Drip.

ActiveCampaign is especially known for robust tag management features similar to Drip.

Conditional content block

Along with that “Tags enable you to send highly targeted emails to your contacts by setting conditions.

Creating segments in ActiveCampaign

You can create multiple segments under ActiveCampaign, to send targeted campaigns to your contacts. Segmentation can also be done dynamically while sending emails based on several conditions which you’ll discover below in the broadcasting section.

On the other hand, Drip has:

  • People
  • Tags
  • Segments
Drip list management

Unlike ActiveCampaign, you can’t create multiple lists under Drip. All your subscribers are present under one section “People”.

Segmenting the contacts

You can segment your people via Tags, Segments and also fields at times.

For most of the people, the absence of the “Lists” feature is not a deal-breaker unless you are a data organization freak.

Both these tools have good list cleanup tools:

  • ActiveCampaign: With their “Engagement Management tool” under the Lists page, you can remove the contacts who have not engaged with any of your campaigns in the last “X” days. You can select the timeframe
  • Drip: With Drip, you have “Pruning operations” under the People section. You can have multiple operations with multiple conditions set.

The list cleanup options for Drip is automated and you don’t need to worry about periodically going through the option to get rid of unengaged contacts.

Winner: Tie. ActiveCampaign has the “Lists” feature which allows good management of contacts. On the other hand, Drip has an option for you to set multiple automated pruning operations.

Email broadcasts and templates

With ActiveCampaign you have the campaigns section, where you can send the broadcast emails.

ActiveCampaign campaign

Before sending any campaign, ActiveCampaign lets you select the recipients or the segment to target.

Selecting recipients

After you select the people to send your campaign, you need to select the email template.

ActiveCampaign email templates

There are various templates that you can choose. Alternatively, you can also build your email from scratch.

Build from scratch remplate

The “Past Campaigns” option under templates is my favorite one. Because this feature allows me to use the template I’ve created for my previous campaigns and saves me a lot of time creating templates again from scratch.

You will be taken to the email builder, In the right side, you have all the content blocks and their options. You can drag and drop the blocks as you do with any WYSIWYG builders.

Add actions to link clicks

You can also add actions to any link clicks.

In the next screen, you can preview your email, send test emails and finally send your campaign.

In the case of Drip, you have two options.

  1. Campaigns: It is a set of emails that can be triggered to send over a period of time. It’s like an autoresponder sequence without the need of a visual builder
  2. Broadcasts: These are one-off emails, newsletters, and updates you can send to your people

When it comes to email creation, you have several pre-built emails and also layouts for you.

Drip pre built templates

You can also build emails from scratch using prebuilt layouts.

Build from scratch

Here in the email builder, you can select the elements and build your email.

Global styles feature

Inside Drip, you have a feature called “Global Styles” that lets you tweak email settings, text format, buttons so as to match your brand.

Liquid templating

Drip also supports Liquid templating. It allows your email content to dynamically change according to the user's data and allows you to send ultra-targeted campaigns to them.

This is one of the features that ActiveCampaign doesn’t come with.

Also with Drip, you have got a feature called “Expiring links”.

Drip expiring links feature

With this, the regular URL will be replaced across all the places in Drip with the “URL after expiration” once the time is elapsed.

This is really helpful for you to send scarcity email campaigns without the need for using tools like Deadline Funnel. If you want to know more about these features, then read my Drip review.

Winner: ActiveCampaign comes with a more number of templates and a highly versatile email builder although it lacks Liquid templating. If you want Liquid templating, Drip may be the winner for you.

Automation

ActiveCampaign comes with the most advanced automation builder in the email marketing space.

ActiveCampaign automation

First, there are multiple pre-made automation workflows you can use in your campaign. These templates are neatly categorized and searchable.

Adding triggers to automation

You can add multiple triggers to your workflow.

Adding new action

Also, there is a wide range of actions you can perform in your workflow.

ActiveCampaign autom,ation builder

It has a really good automation builder that lets you create automation workflows super fast.

With the ActiveCampaign’s integrated CRM, it’s quite easy to manage all your agency clients on one platform especially with the power of automation workflows.

On the other hand, Drip also comes with a really robust automation builder.

They have two features under automation:

  1. Workflows
  2. Rules

Workflows allow you to visually build automated workflows similar to that of ActiveCampaign.

You have dozens of pre-built workflows you can import. They have a dedicated library of workflows under various categories.

ActiveCampaign pre-built workflows

You can import any of these workflows in a click of a button.

Drip has a really well-refined automation builder.

Drip automation builder

Similar to ActiveCampaign, you can have multiple triggers to an automation workflow.

adding multiple triggers to an automation workflow

There are several steps you can add to an automation workflow. The “Action” step is the most used.

Editing Drip actions

Using the action step, you can perform dozens of actions across any other app integrated with Drip.

Drip workflow and rules automations

Along with “Workflows” you also have the “Rule” feature that allows you to set simple triggers and actions without the need for visually building the workflows.

Multiple triggers and multiple actions

You can have multiple triggers and multiple actions in this tool as well. It’s like a mini-Zapier built inside Drip.

Winner: Tie. ActiveCampaign has the best automation features that integrate with their CRM pretty well for the effective sales process. Drip has more emphasis on eCommerce use-cases.

A/B Testing

ActiveCampaign has split testing functionality both for campaigns and as well as automation workflows similar to Drip.

When creating your campaign you can select the “Split Testing” as a type of campaign.

ActiveCampaign A/B Testing

You can split test the emails based on:

  • Email subject lines
  • Email content
  • From name

There’s also very robust “Split Test Options” to play with.

Split test actions

You can set to automatically determine the winner variation based on several conditions.

With Drip, you can test the emails based on:

  • Subject line
  • “From” name
  • Delivery timing

There’s no option for you to test the email content, but testing the emails for delivery time possible, unlike ActiveCampaign.

There are not many settings with Drip like automatic winner selection, ratios, and others. You can only conduct split tests for even distribution, unlike ActiveCampaign.

When it comes to workflow split testing, ActiveCampaign has it for years. This feature is only available on their professional and enterprise plans.

Conditions and wokflow
Conditional splits

You can also set the settings when you want to conclude the split test based on conditions.

And you can also set the conditions based on which the winning path is to be determined.

Drip workflow split testing feature

Drip recently introduced the workflow split testing feature.

You need to make use of the “Split Testing” step in their workflow builder.

 “Split Testing” step in workflow builder
Editing split test

You can test several different paths for the winner. You need to manually select the winning campaign analyzing the reports.

Winner: ActiveCampaign is the clear winner when it comes to conducting A/B split testing. It has more features and also the ability to automatically select the winner based on preset conditions.

Forms and landing pages

With ActiveCampaign, you can create forms for lead generation.

Creating a form in ActiveCampaign

There are four types of forms you can create like inline forms, floating bars, floating boxes, and modals.

You also need to select what action needs to be performed upon the user submitting the form.

Results with users submitting the form

You can drag and drop the various elements, fields to your form to build it. There are also various styles and other options for you to play with.

Integrating the form on your website

At last ActiveCampaign will display you the embed code to integrate the form on your website and also provide you with the form’s landing page hosted with ActiveCampaign.

Let’s look at the Drip.

Creating forms in Drip

Similar to ActiveCampaign with Drip also you can only create forms, and there is no option for you to create landing pages.

There are various options to tweak when it comes to the creation of form.

Creating triggered popup forms

You can also create exit triggered popup forms that are also time-triggered or manually triggered.

Creating trigger based campaigns

Whenever people submit your form, you can perform any action like sending them a campaign.

Both these tools don’t come with landing page features. You certainly need to make use of tools like OptinMonster, to supercharge your lead generation efforts.

Winner: ActiveCampaign, as it has more types of forms and also superior form builder.

Deliverability

Both Drip and ActiveCampaign have great deliverability.

We conducted a deliverability test for popular email marketing softwares.

Here are the reports.

In the first test, we tested the software without activating any SPF or DKIM auth.

Name

Inbox

Tabs (others)

Spam

Missing

ActiveCampaign

63.46%

12.50%

8.65%

15.38%

Aweber

69.23%

8.46%

22.31%

0.00%

ConstantContact

84.62%

0.00%

15.38%

0.00%

Drip

93.85%

0.00%

6.15%

0.00%

GetResponse

59.23%

0.00%

40.77%

0.00%

MailChimp

82.31%

1.54%

13.08%

3.08%

Mailerlite

56.92%

10.00%

32.31%

0.77%

MailJet

52.31%

10.00%

20.77%

16.92%

SendInBlue

56.92%

10.00%

32.31%

0.77%

In the second test, we properly added DKIM and SPF records.

Name

Inbox

Tabs (promotion)

Spam

Missing

ActiveCampaign

92.31%

0.00%

3.85%

3.85%

Aweber

95.45%

0.00%

4.55%

0.00%

ConstantContact

75.00%

0.00%

25.00%

0.00%

Drip

100.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

GetResponse

75.00%

0.00%

25.00%

0.00%

Mailchimp

95.45%

0.00%

4.55%

0.00%

Mailerlite

75.55%

0.00%

24.46%

0.00%

MailJet

77.28%

0.00%

11.37%

11.37%

You can see that in the second test the deliverability of ActiveCampaign significantly improved once we do the proper authentication.

This test concluded that SPF and DKIM authentication improves deliverability significantly.

Drip came out as a clear winner. However, ActiveCampaign’s deliverability is also exceptional depending upon the health of your email list and address.

Again, the reports need to be taken as a pinch of salt, and it varies on a case by case basis.

Integrations

ActiveCampaign has a really good number of integrations. It has a great number of native integrations and also Zapier integration.

ActiveCampaign integrations

There are hundreds of integrations with tools ranging from accounting, analytics, CMS, CRMs, databases, lead generation, sales and plenty of other tools.

ActiveCampaign integration details

It also has deep integration with Zapier.

ActiveCampaign also has a webhooks management section under “Developer settings” that enables you to pass on the various ActiveCampaign events to your favorite apps using webhook POST feature.

Let’s talk about the Drip.

Drip integrations

At the time of writing this review post, Drip had around 50+ integrations and the list is growing rapidly.

Drip integration details

They also have Zapier integration for you to connect with thousands of other apps.

They also have extensive webhooks functionality allowing to pass the Drip’s event data to any other apps that receive webhook data.

The webhook feature of Drip is almost as versatile as ActiveCampaign.

Winner: ActiveCampaign, as it has more native integrations and as well as more triggers, actions, and searches in Zapier.

Support

ActiveCampaign offers these for support:

  • Email support
  • Ticketing system
  • Knowledgebase: 700+ support web pages are indexed on Google

Drip offers:

  • Email support
  • Ticketing system
  • Official Facebook group
  • Knowledgebase: 700+ support related web pages are indexed on Google

Surprisingly both these tools have an equal number of knowledge base webpages.

Both the support crew are greatly knowledgeable, unlike other email marketing apps.

Winner: Tie

Pricing

ActiveCampaign comes with three different plans.

ActiveCampaign pricing details

Number of contacts

Lite

Plus

Professional

Enterprise

1-1,000

$15/mo

$70/mo

$159/mo

$279/mo

1,001-2,500

$29/mo

$70/mo

$159/mo

$279/mo

2,501-5,000

$49/mo

$125/mo

$159/mo

$279/mo

5,001-10,000

$89/mo

$169/mo

$239/mo

$449/mo

If you want more advanced features like CRM with sales automation, lead scoring, deep data integrations, and others, you may need to go with their Plus plan.

With Drip, you only have one plan and pricing is based on the number of subscribers you have.

Drip pricing

Number of contacts

Price

0-2500

$49/mo (Basic)

2500 – 5000

$122/mo (Pro)

10000

$184/mo

25000

$370/mo

50000

$680/mo

If you take the example of 2,500 subscribers, ActiveCampaign Lite plan and the Plus plan costs you $39/month and $99/month respectively. With Drip, it costs you $49/month – that’s a great value for money.

For 5,000 subscribers, ActiveCampaign costs you $69/month and $135/month respectively. And Drip costs you, $122/month.

In the ActiveCampaign’s Lite plan you can’t remove the branding and also various CRM and automation features are lacking.

ActiveCampaign turns out to be quite expensive when you compare with Drip. However, you do also need to note that Drip’s price increase from Basic to Pro is significant.

But ActiveCampaign’s flexible pricing plan choices and lower entry pricing seem also suitable for beginning marketers.

However, if you are anyway going with ActiveCampaign Plus plan, Drip’s pricing may seem like a decent value for money.

Bottomline: ActiveCampaign (Beginner-friendly)

ActiveCampaign vs. Drip FAQs

  1. Which has better automation builder ActiveCampaign or Drip? ActiveCampaign has quite a bit more features in automation but Drip has better features for eCommerce.
  2. Which is better for eCommerce ActiveCampaign or Drip? Drip is better for eCommerce needs due to features like Liquid templating, expiring URLs, and many others.
  3. Which one comes with a CRM feature? ActiveCampaign comes with CRM feature only on their Plus and Professional plans
  4. Do these come with a landing page builder? Both ActiveCampaign and Drip doesn’t come with landing page builders.
  5. Which one has better email deliverability? According to our tests, Drip has quite better deliverability than ActiveCampaign.

Verdict

If you compare ActiveCampaign with Drip, you can clearly see that the ActiveCampaign has more features as they have their own integrated CRM, SMS features and much more.

However, Drip is more suitable for eCommerce businesses as it has advanced features like Liquid templating that’s very crucial for eCommerce automation.

The Drip’s interface feels more solid, and the email deliverability is truly amazing.

Which is your choice? ActiveCampaign or Drip?

Let me know in the comments section.

Did this post address what you are looking for?

Akshay Hallur

About me

Hi, I’m Akshay Hallur. The founder of this blog BloggingX and many other online ventures. 

I’m a professional full-time blogger, a digital marketer, and a trainer. I’m here to help bloggers like you to create an outstanding blog and earn money from it.

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