For over a decade, Ontraport and ActiveCampaign have provided marketing automation solutions to businesses. And considering they’ve both dominated the industry for so long, their reliability is undisputable.
This doesn’t mean you got the green light to do rock, paper, scissors, and the winner receives your e-commerce business.
I know how disruptive and expensive switching email marketing platforms are to any business.
To equip you with all the details, you need to make an informed decision between these two big boys. Also, you can check out other Ontraport alternatives.
Without further ado…Let’s move on.
|Free trial available?||Yes. 14 days free trial available||Yes. 14 days free trial available|
|Best for whom?||Large enterprises, Entrepreneurs||Small businesses|
|Split testing||You can split test the campaigns, automations, and landing pages||You can split test the campaigns, automations, and landing pages|
|Explore more||Explore Ontraport||Explore ActiveCampaign|
- Are you looking for a robust CRM platform? You can’t beat Ontraport full-stack CRM complete with sales automation.
- It offers full WordPress integration, membership sites, landing pages, and order forms.
- It’s possible to create an end-to-end sales funnel without using additional platforms.
- It handles complex tag scenarios like a champ. ActiveCampaign is for more straight forward use. You can’t categorize, group, or filter tags.
- It provides you on-demand postcards.
- It has a flowchart format campaign builder.
- It comes with an in-build e-commerce platform if you’re big on upsells, product sales, automated follow-ups, and the like.
- It allows you to offer deals and your contacts can view the deal value and expected gains.
- You can sell the beautiful campaigns you’ve designed to other Ontraport users for a profit.
- ActiveCampaign is sleek yet user friendly. No steep learning curve to get familiar and get stuff running.
- When it comes to third party integrations and plugins, the world is your oyster. ActiveCampaign can integrate with almost all the tools you need. Ontraport, on the other hand, has limited integration options.
- Tracking and reporting is thorough. From geo-tracking to click maps, and page visits. Also, you can get purchase tracking on higher plans for your Shopify or BigCommerce stores.
- Great email deliverability. ActiveCampaign is one of the best ESPs in the market for getting your emails in people’s inboxes.
- The support team is super responsive, and they strive to go above and beyond your expectations.
- It comes with a straightforward visual automation builder, drag-and-drop abilities, and intuitive page designs.
- If the pricing were the only consideration, ActiveCampaign would win hands down.
Ontraport touts itself as an email service provider (ESP), but I consider it a CRM platform with email marketing functionalities.
It results in more of a business suite with data-driven tools to facilitate automated campaigns. You might think, “There are many other ESPs with CRM platforms.”
But here’s the kicker!
The others have robust email marketing platforms but weak CRMs.
What does it mean? You can’t match them with CRM dedicated platforms as they offer basic CRM functionalities.
Ontraport has a full lifecycle CRM system that tracks every interaction you make with your customers. As a result, it helps you tweak details as your customers move along your sales funnel to maximize conversions.
On the other hand, ActiveCampaign is a one-stop-email marketing platform with marketing automation and CRM functionalities. It is specially designed to cater for all email marketing needs of small and medium-sized businesses.
It’s powered with tools optimized for lead capture forms, website tracking, email campaign analytics, lead segmentation, and social integration & monitoring.
It may not be the ‘Rolls Royce’ CRM platform, but if you want to save money and consolidate several advanced tools, definitely check it out.
As we’ve established, Ontraport is an advanced platform with advanced features for marketing automation and relationship management. In short, a heck of a lot of functions and tools.
The user interface is a hard nut to crack for beginners and anyone else who hasn’t used such software before. It does an excellent job of having all tools under one platform, so you don’t have to integrate third-party tools. But it fails in providing user experience.
That said, the basics are a breeze to everyone. The dashboard has a tidily organized layout, with straightforward primary menu options.
You can easily import or add contacts. The headache starts after the basic setup. There is so much nitty-gritty involved in customization and campaign creation and management.
ActiveCampaign has a beautifully crafted interface that’s easy to learn the ropes.
But hey, their competitor is MailChimp, so they can’t afford to compromise their user-friendliness. All the tools and features are built to balance functionality and UX.
The dashboard has an intuitive display, clear charts, and navigation is a breeze. Within a few minutes, you’ve learned the ropes.
What’s more, they have numerous customer support documentation in the knowledge base.
Winner: ActiveCampaign. While Ontraport is extremely customizable, it takes a while before you unleash its full potential.
With ActiveCampaign, you hit the ground running, unlike Ontraport where you have to jump hoops and ladders. All the tools and features of ActiveCampaign are pretty much straightforward.
One of the biggest selling points of Ontraport is access to a true CRM platform. I like to say when an intelligent autoresponder meets a robust CRM you get Ontraport.
It empowers you to capture all lead details straight from landing pages via web forms, pop-up forms, and lightboxes. You even have the freedom to hunt leads on Facebook through affiliate programs.
It has an A1 visual contact workflow management that enables you to grasp at a glance where contacts stand in the sales funnel.
It acts as a central command center to get an overview of your contacts’ progress.
You will get every single detail from how they got into your funnel to how much they’ve spent, and on what products/services.
The command center has a highly customizable screen that not only allows you to view contacts but also send SMS, emails, schedule a phone call, manage their credit card, and the list goes on and on.
As a result, you’re not overwhelmed with the sheer number of up hazard contact lists. You can easily segment them into tags or campaigns.
ActiveCampaign contact subscription isn’t that varied from Ontraport as the landing pages are used to sign up contacts.
Also, you can easily import your contacts from other platforms and segment them as you see fit.
The difference comes in workflow management. Yes, lead capturing, and contact segmentation is the same, but only Ontraport will let you dive deeper. It allows you to see every detail about each contact as we’ve seen in the above screenshot.
Ontraport has an intuitive block-based editor that’s used to design the landing pages and signup forms.
All its customization tools are consolidated on one editor. So the emails and landing pages are created using one visual builder.
The visual editor gives you two options building from scratch or using the in-built templates.
Ontraport has built numerous blocks with preset options, so you’re not creating everything from the ground up. It’s picking and arranging as you see fit.
The templates are relatively lovely, free, responsive, much faster, and easier to use even if you are in a hurry.
Once a design is selected, you work directly from the visual editor. It’s pretty much flexible so that you can apply plenty of customization options available depending on your marketing objectives.
ActiveCampaign has an easy to use drag-and-drop builder for all types of users. Whether you want to build from scratch or use templates, you are sorted.
It supports a wide range of responsive and highly-customizable sleek templates. Thanks to the WYSIWYG visual interface, customizing a template is as easy as ABC.
It saves you time, plus it’s not like people will know you ‘cheated.’ The only downside is you’ve only got 30 templates to choose from.
Winner: Tie. When it comes to the landing page builder, they both offer intuitive and customizable designs and options. In all fairness, I’d call it a draw.
The campaign builder is the bread and butter for creating and running email campaigns in Ontraport. It’s a visual editor that combines live stats and workflow customization on an intuitive layout.
It helps you develop simple workflows into complex workflows as your contacts move along the sales funnels. It facilitates the segmentation of contacts and sending of auto-responder broadcasts to the various segments.
I also like how they’ve included the campaign split A/B testing features, even the basic plan. You can test the headlines, design, CTAs, body, images, etc.
Ontraport evenly divides your traffic so 50% see version A and 50% see B.
Once the split test is live, you can see the options that work better for your campaign. It helps you boost your ROI, lower bounce rates, and generally boost your marketing effectiveness.
ActiveCampaign is also one powerful email marketing campaign platform. It has a step by step intuitive navigator that helps you create workflows.
It lacks a campaign builder but has an automation builder that works the same way.
It also handles drip campaigns pretty well. It sends the emails on schedule all the time.
You can split test your campaigns using the traditional approach and A/B testing. ActiveCampaign would split your list, send the control and variant to your contacts, and give you the results.
It is very similar to Ontraport’s split test only that you get to choose sending options; determine the winner or do not determine the winner.
Option one, the test is done on different portions of your list. Then the winning message is automatically sent to the rest of your contacts once the performance is measured.
With option 2, your list is split evenly, the test is run, and you view the results. Afterward, you can make a decision to send or not send.
Winner: Tie. They both do justice to email marketing. The visual builders are highly customizable and easy to use. Besides, the split testing on both platforms allows you to measure your email marketing effectiveness.
Marketing automation is at the heart of Ontraport. The platform is developed with automation in mind. It has workflows made of automatic triggers with their similar goals and actions.
As a result, there is a reaction to every single action taken by your contacts. You can set the triggers and specify the path at different stages of the sales funnel.
This automation makes it possible for Ontraport to move your contacts down the sales funnel with ease. It makes it easier to create laser-focused campaigns.
ActiveCampaign comes with an automation builder that allows you to create workflows in a snap.
The automation works the same way as in Ontraport with triggers and actions at every stage. Every move is executed once the set conditions are met.
It also comes with ready-made automation workflows saving you time and trimming your payroll.
The one thing that stands out with ActiveCampaign automation is the ability to integrate SMS into the workflow.
Winner: Tie. Both the platforms are giants in the campaign automation space. They go beyond basic automation and workflow management capabilities. It’s difficult to pick a winner with numerous outstanding shared features.
Ontraport membership site allows you to build, manage, integrate, and grow your websites on one platform. You can sell online courses, deliver digital products, and manage events, among other passive income offerings.
It offers e-commerce functionalities, user activity tracking, and customer payment management. Also, you have various support options to provide to your clients.
ActiveCampaign has not been left behind. You can create a robust membership site with ready-made templates. From online courses to training sites, it’s got your back.
It comes with unlimited membership levels, and the best thing, it has a 30-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked. Cool, right?
Winner: Tie. Both membership sites allow you to run the same passive income offerings and they are connected to WordPress. They are both easy to build and manage.
Ontraport comes equipped with an e-commerce management system. You can create product listings and integrate them into your email workflows.
Other than the payment gateway that facilitates the actual cash transfer, everything else happens on Ontraport.
You can see all details on cart abandonment, transaction logs, subscription sales, shipping charges, tax, etc. Oh! And you also get to set up cart abandonment automation to follow-up on your customers. Additionally, it has a one-click upsell form for a successful sales strategy.
Ontraport’s eCommerce platform is one of the best in the market.
ActiveCampaign doesn’t offer an e-commerce platform. It will take work to set-up and add 3rd party payment processing systems. The good news is, you can integrate with Shopify, WooCommerce, Stripe, PayPal, etc.
These integrations will help you have an eCommerce store and engage with your customers through their buying journey. They’ll help you run powerful automation campaigns based on real shoppers’ behavioral and preferences data.
Additionally, you get access to other automations like abandoned cart, after purchase follow-ups, review requests, eCommerce sales drip, and many more.
With such outstanding automation and campaign tools, the Ontraport reporting falls short. The reporting is blandly done on plain text-based tables. A lot of data, but the presentation is just flat.
ActiveCampaign, on the other hand, leaves no stone unturned. Whichever metric you want to measure, you’ll find. ActiveCampaign reports go all the way down to each contact.
You can see the open rate, CTR, link clicks, automation completion time, etc. You can also integrate Google Analytics with your campaigns. However, it can load slowly, especially if it’s processing a lot of data.
But that’s not an issue if you get all the details you need.
Winner: ActiveCampaign. It allows you to sit on the driver seat of your tracking and reporting.
Ontraport has very strict email standards so as to maintain stellar email deliverability rates. They emphasize email permissions and keeping permissions to improve your email deliverability.
Ontraport has a weekly bounce rate limit of 7% and no emails are sent to any hard bounced contacts.
The good news is you don’t have to fret over manually managing bounces as they are kept up-to-date by Ontraport.
ActiveCampaign, on the other hand, has one of the best email deliverability rates in the market. We carried out an all-round email deliverability test and found that 92% of ActiveCampaign emails ended up in people’s inboxes. It is also least likely to be flagged as spam.
Winner: ActiveCampaign. It consistently delivers across all major mailbox providers Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft, or AOL.
Ontraport has fewer integrations compared to its competitors. But there are APIs assistants such as Zapier or Apiant that make almost anything possible.
ActiveCampaign, on the other hand, plays nice with other applications and plugins. It can be integrated with more than 700 applications. In essence, it integrates with all the popular kids on the marketing block.
Winner: ActiveCampaign. It has almost all the popular tools covered. Also, it provides instructions on how to integrate the apps.
Ontraport offers email and chats support. You get feedback within 24 hours or earlier. You can also schedule a call for a screen share session with customer support. The only downside is that they lack a 24hr live support.
They also have an active Facebook community and a knowledge base with training resources.
ActiveCampaign offers email and chat support for the lower tiers. Email support response is often within 24 hours.
At the highest level, you get phone support. Consider chat support if you need quicker feedback, but they don’t have a 24/7 live chat support.
ActiveCampaign also has a rich resource database with videos, how-to-guides, and webinars.
Winner: Tie. They both offer fast and excellent customer service. According to different meta-reviews, both companies have fabulous customer service interactions.
Ontraport changed their pricing recently and introduced 4-tiers.
They now have Basic, Plus, Pro, and Enterprise. They have a 14-day trial period so you can give it a shot before you commit. No credit card details needed.
One of the selling points used by ActiveCampaign is affordability. SMBs and cash strapped startups can comfortably use the service.
They also offer 4-tiers, Lite, Plus, Professional, and enterprise. It also comes with a 14-days trial period with no credit card registration.
If you are choosing between the two based on price, ask yourself if your business will significantly expand shortly.
Winner: ActiveCampaign. Businesses with smaller email lists will probably lean towards ActiveCampaign as it’s the affordable option.
What is Ontraport?
Ontraport founder and CEO Landon Ray built it as an all-in-one platform for marketing automation and CRM. It gives business what they call, “the best of both worlds.”
What is ActiveCampaign?
ActiveCampaign describes itself as a “Customer automation solution that turns leads into customers and finally into repeat customers using the power of marketing automation, email marketing, and sales/CRM automation.”
Can I try out these platforms for free?
Yes. You give both platforms a shot for free. 14-days, no credit card info required.
What if I don't like the platform? Can I get a refund?
You can get a refund, but there are terms and conditions. For instance, the refund period is between 30-90 days from the day you signed up.
Do both these platforms provide built-in templates?
Yes. You got an elegantly designed in-built template for you to choose on both platforms.
This is one of the most interesting head-to-head rounds I’ve had so far.
These two marketing solutions are incredibly reliable.
Are you a more experienced Entrepreneur? Medium to a large enterprise? Or you’ve outgrown your CRM? Ontraport is an excellent option for you. You can request for a platform demo before signing up.
If you’re a solopreneur or SMB with standard sales funnels, ActiveCampaign will work well for you.
Well, the choice is yours.
What will it be? Let me know down below.