We’ll be comparing the deliverability of top email marketing software.

There are dozens of email marketing software on the market. They all come with varied features when it comes to composing emails, automation, integration, so on.

But the email marketing deliverability is one aspect, you can’t overlook. If the emails you send out are not properly delivered to your subscribers, all the features are potentially waste.

Many marketers spend hundreds of dollars in email marketing, but they fail to test whether their emails are indeed being delivered to all of their subscribers.

We here at BloggingX decided to test and compare the email deliverability of top email marketing software.

How we conducted the email marketing deliverability test?

In this section, before we present you the results of the test, we will let you know about how we conducted the test.

Selecting the email marketing platforms for testing

Email marketing platforms for testing

Before the test, we need to select the email marketing software to test deliverability.

For this test, we selected platforms that are suitable for small businesses, that allow to send marketing emails, and are popular according to our research.

The platforms that are compared here are:

  1. ActiveCampaign
  2. ConvertKit
  3. Mailchimp
  4. Aweber
  5. Mailerlite
  6. GetResponse
  7. Drip
  8. ConstantContact
  9. SendInBlue
  10. MailJet

Platform for testing

Testing platforms

There are various platforms like Litmus, GLockApps, and EmailOnAcid.

We decided to go with Glockapps as it’s popular and simple to use.

This platform allows you to test the deliverability of email marketing software. You’ll get seed emails for each test you conduct for which you need to send emails through your email marketing software.

Later, in the test results you’ll get to know the deliverability statistics.

For email clients, we tested the below platforms that are top US clients:

  1. Gmail
  2. Yahoo
  3. Hotmail
  4. Icloud
  5. AOL

The seed emails we tested contained addresses from all these above email clients.

Setting the test environment

In order to avoid discrepancies and biases, we have to make sure that the test environment is consistent for all the email marketing platforms.

We made sure that:

  1. The sender email address is the same for a complete round of test
  2. The usage of SPF/DKIM records is consistent
  3. There is domain authentication consistency
  4. The email body and subject lines are identical
  5. All the emails are sent between 9AM – 10AM (EST) with 5 minutes buffer time

We created trial accounts on all these platforms, to test the deliverability.

Tests we conducted

The emails we tested contain a coherent mix of emails with links, plain text emails, and also transactional kind of emails.

We also compared the deliverability with and without SPF/DKIM records.

These are the two tests we did:

  1. In the first round, we conducted the test without setting up the SPF/DKIM records. We tested five kinds of emails like text-only emails, PDF emails, blog post promotion emails, transaction emails (event reminders), and marketing emails (deal link).
  2. In the second round, we activated the SPF/DKIM records for these email marketing software and conducted the test.

Once the entire test environment is ready, we started the execution part.

The results

Results

In the first test, we tested the mix of all types of emails, and sent them to our test emails.

In this first test, none of the email marketing software had domain authentication, SPF, DKIM records in place.

We sent all the emails through our domain email address.

The test was done with top 5 popular US email clients (not only Gmail).

Inbox

Tabs (others)

SpamMissing
ActiveCampaign63.46%12.50%8.65%15.38%
Aweber69.23%8.46%22.31%0.00%
ConstantContact84.62%0.00%15.38%0.00%
ConvertKit69.5%0.00%30.4%0.00%
Drip93.85%0.00%6.15%0.00%
GetResponse59.23%0.00%40.77%0.00%
Mailchimp82.31%1.54%13.08%3.08%
Mailerlite56.92%10.00%32.31%0.77%
MailJet52.31%10.00%20.77%16.92%
SendInBlue56.92%10.00%32.31%0.77%

Here’s the test done with Gmail only

 Inbox TabsSpamMissing
ActiveCampaign72.22%24.07%3.70%0.00%
ConvertKit63.16%0.00% 36.84%0.00%
Mailchimp89.66% 3.45%6.90%0.00%
AWeber56.52%15.94%27.54%0.00%
Mailerlite52.31%20.00%27.69%0.00%
GetResponse32.47%0.00%67.53%0.00%
Drip96.92%0.00%3.08%0.00%
ConstantContact81.54%0.00%18.46%0.00%
SendInBlue33.85%20.00%46.15%0.00%
MailJet55.38%20.00%24.62%0.00%

Some insights after crunching the data of round 1 (without SPF/DKIM):

  • Most of the ActiveCampaign emails sent to AOL inboxes were missing.
  • ActiveCampaign emails with a link to the latest blog post went to the promotions tab in Gmail.
  • ActiveCampaign had no issues of spam with Gmail.
  • Drip had the highest deliverability in this round, except for some mails marked as spam by Hotmail.
  • GetResponse was the worst performer when it comes to deliverability without any DKIM/SPK authentication.
  • Many GetResponse emails went to Gmail spam.
  • Some Aweber emails went to Gmail spam.
  • Many MailerLite emails went to Gmail spam.
  • Marketing emails sent from ConvertKit were marked as spam by Hotmail and iCloud along with some by Gmail.
  • AOL rejected almost all the emails of Mailjet and marked them as undelivered/missing.
  • Drip, ActiveCampaign, and Mailchimp performed great even without SPF/DKIM records in this round.

In the next round of tests, we activated the DKIM and SPF records for all these email marketing software.

All email marketing software had the authentication done, except for ConvertKit (where DKIM/SPF is not available unless you send 50k emails/month).

We tested the performance of text-only emails vs emails with link.

Top 5 US Email clients

Text-only emails:

Inbox Tabs Spam Missing
ActiveCampaign 88.46% 0.00% 7.69% 3.85%
Aweber 95.45% 0.00% 4.55% 0.00%
ConstantContact 53.85% 0.00% 46.15% 0.00%
Drip 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
GetResponse 72.73% 0.00% 27.27% 0.00%
Mailchimp 95.45% 0.00% 4.55% 0.00%
Mailerlite 85.71% 0.00% 14.29% 0.00%
MailJet 81.82% 0.00% 9.09% 9.09%
SendInBlue 81.82% 0.00% 18.18% 0.00%

Emails with link:

Inbox Tabs Spam Missing
ActiveCampaign 96.15% 0.00% 0.00% 3.85%
AWeber 95.45% 0.00% 4.55% 0.00%
ConstantContact 96.15% 0.00% 3.85% 0.00%
Drip 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
GetResponse 77.27% 0.00% 22.73% 0.00%
Mailchimp 95.45% 0.00% 4.55% 0.00%
Mailerlite 65.38% 0.00% 34.62% 0.00%
MailJet 72.73% 0.00% 13.64% 13.64%
SendInBlue 72.73% 0.00% 27.27% 0.00%

Tested with only Gmail with SPF/DKIM

 InboxTabsSpamMissing
ActiveCampaign100.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%
Mailchimp88.89%0.00%11.11%0.00%
AWeber100.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%
Mailerlite46.15%0.00%53.85%0.00%
GetResponse44.44%0.00%55.56%0.00%
Drip100.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%
ConstantContact53.85%0.00%46.15%0.00%
SendInBlue61.11%0.00%38.89%0.00%
MailJet94.44%0.00%5.56%0.00%

Some insights after 2nd round:

  • All the emails sent from ActiveCampaign in the second round with authentication went to Gmail inbox vs the promotion tab.
  • 100% of the Drip’s email landed in inbox perfectly once the DKIM/SPF authentication was done.
  • ConstantContact performed worst in emails with link, but performed great in emails without any links for Gmail.
  • The deliverability of ActiveCampaign improved further upon adding authentication records.
  • Mailjet’s deliverability also improved in the second round.
  • GetResponse’s deliverability improved quite a bit, but it’s still not upto mark.
  • The deliverability of Aweber improved significantly after adding the records.
  • Most of the emails in ConstantContact were marked as spam by Gmail.
  • A significant number of GetResponse emails went to Gmail spam.
  • Many MailerLite emails went to Gmail spam.
  • ConvertKit didn’t participate in the second round as they offer SPF/DKIM certificates only for higher plans. I’m pretty sure that the deliverability may have improved a lot as they use reputed Mailgun servers.
  • When the records are added, the winners are Drip, Aweber, Mailchimp, and ActiveCampaign.

Bottomline

When it comes to overall deliverability, I think these are the winners:

  1. Drip
  2. Mailchimp
  3. ActiveCampaign
  4. Aweber
  5. ConstantContact

These acted consistently in both rounds.

However, along with deliverability, you need to take other factors into consideration.

For example, Mailchimp has a bad reputation of banning user accounts if you are into affiliate marketing, ICOs, and also MLMs.

Although affiliate marketing is against the TOS of ActiveCampaign, most of the times they’ll be ok with them if it’s legit.

ActiveCampaign has got the most advanced set of features and a robust automation builder. They’ve got really advanced features like predictive sending that incorporates machine learning to email marketing.

On the other hand, Drip is most suitable for eCommerce business. Drip costs a lot compared to any other software on this list. But the deliverability is excellent.

Hope you found the above post helpful.

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.

One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to the blogging community. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media networks.
SHARING IS ♥️

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *