Ontraport vs ActiveCampaign (2020): Which Email Marketing Platform Should You Choose?

If you’re interested at all in internet marketing, then you’ve probably heard of these two names: Ontraport and ActiveCampaign. After all, they’re both very popular platforms, well-known for their marketing automation, email marketing, and CRM capabilities. That doesn’t mean, however, that they’re interchangeable because they actually have a lot more differences than it might seem. For one, Ontraport is more suited to large enterprises that need more advanced automation while ActiveCampaign is geared more towards small to medium businesses who need an email marketing solution. If you’re not quite sure which one you should be using for your business, here’s an in-depth comparison of Ontraport and ActiveCampaign so that you can choose wisely.

Ontraport vs ActiveCampaign Comparison Chart​​

ModelOntraportActiveCampaign
PriceCheck Price at OntraportCheck Price at ActiveCampaign
Ease of UseIdeal for experienced digital marketers but beginners should expect to have a tough time learning the ropesTools and user interface are easy to navigate, making it more user-friendly for beginners
Email DesignUsers can either build from scratch or choose from existing templatesUsers can choose from the drag and drop editor, the HTML editor, and the text-only editor
Campaign AutomationHas a campaign builder that lets users create complex workflows with triggers, filters, and goalsHas an automation builder that lets users create workflows with advanced pathways
Free TrialYesYes
SMS SendingYesYes
Lead ScoringYesYes
Free Email TemplatesYesYes

Ease of Use

Ontraport requires more experience while ActiveCampaign is beginner-friendly.

ActiveCampaign’s user interface and tools are easy to navigate.

Ontraport is quite a robust platform, providing all-around solutions for email marketing, marketing automation, and CRM across multiple channels. That said, expect it to come with a bunch of tools that are quite advanced in nature. So when it comes to ease of use, Ontraport scores low because only experienced digital marketers would know what to do with it. If you’re a beginner, expect to have a tough time navigating your way around. While one of the best things about Ontraport is its customizability, most users would probably need some practice before they’re able to make the necessary configurations. Fortunately, Ontraport has a 14-day trial period which could be enough time for you to get familiar with the basics. You can also choose to hire Ontraport experts although that’s going to cost you more.

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ActiveCampaign is in direct competition with a bunch of easy-to-use email platforms and so it makes it a point to keep things as user-friendly as possible. It doesn’t take much to get used to its user interface and its tools have the perfect balance between functionality and ease of use. Its dashboard, for example, displays your KPIs in numbers and charts, making it extremely easy to understand data. You’ll also be presented with menus and submenus, making the system very easy to navigate. The most difficult thing to learn about ActiveCampaign would probably have to be its automation builder although you probably just need a few hours to master it and then you’re all good to go. If you need any sort of help, you can always refer to their customer support resources.

Email Design

Both Ontraport and ActiveCampaign provide different ways for users to create emails. 

Ontraport lets you build from scratch or choose from existing templates. 

When you want to create an email, Ontraport gives you two ways to do it. The first option is to build everything from scratch and although it sounds way too tedious, the process isn’t actually that bad. Ontraport provides you with pre-designed blocks (eg: headers, social media buttons, slideshows, countdown timers, etc.) and so all you have to do is select the ones that you find appropriate, arrange them according to your preference, and then edit their appearances. There are a ton of editing options to choose from and so you can customize your emails to look exactly the way you want them to. The second option is to choose from their pre-designed templates and then make your own customizations. You can edit things like text, colors, and shapes as well as add or remove elements.

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Similarly to Ontraport, ActiveCampaign also offers users a couple of different ways to design emails. The first and easiest option is to use its drag and drop editor. Simply pick out a template, which ActiveCampaign has plenty of, and then tweak its elements via its visual interface. The great thing is that the templates provided on the platform are highly customizable, allowing you to make all the edits you deem necessary when it comes to content, layout, and other elements. For those who are familiar with HTML coding, you can also choose to use the HTML editor to design your emails. The editor is as straightforward as they come and so making customizations won’t be a problem. Lastly, ActiveCampaign has a text-only editor that allows you to create plain text emails.

Campaign Automation

Both Ontraport and ActiveCampaign allow users to create complex automation workflows. 

ActiveCampaign has an automation builder in the form of a drag and drop editor. 

The most important campaign automation tool you’ll find on Ontraport is the Campaign Builder. It’s a visual editor that allows you to create automation workflows and provides you with live statistics as well. The workflows in this editor come in the form of flow charts that are made up of triggers, filters, and goals. It’s great that users are able to combine all of these elements together, allowing them to create advanced and customized workflows that are perfectly suited to their needs. To help get you started, Ontraport has customizable pre-built templates that will allow you to create a simple workflow. From there, you can make the necessary adjustments to make it as complex as you need it to be. You can also import third-party workflow templates if needed. Once you’re happy, you can then share your workflows with others.

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ActiveCampaign has its own automation builder too and it comes in the form of an easy-to-use drag and drop editor. With it, you can create automation workflows in a jiffy. Similarly to Ontraport, these workflows are made up of different pathways, each with their own set of triggers and corresponding actions. What’s great about ActiveCampaign is that it supports both simple and complex triggers as well as many different kinds of actions and so you can combine all of these to create workflows that will help you achieve your goals. The fastest way you can build a workflow on ActiveCampaign is by using one of their pre-built templates. There’s plenty for you to choose from in their marketplace, including free ones, and so you’re sure to find one that best suits your automation campaigns.

Price

Ontraport’s plans are more expensive than ActiveCampaign’s.

Ontraport’s most basic plan is at $79/month while its most advanced plan is at $497/month.

Both Ontraport and ActiveCampaign have a 14-day free trial, allowing potential users to test the waters and gauge if the platforms are right for them. While they have that in common, their pricing schemes couldn’t be more different. Ontraport is the more expensive of the two, its Basic plan already at $79/month. Things only get pricier from there, with its Plus plan at $147/month, its Pro plan at $297/month, and its Enterprise plan at $497/month. As for ActiveCampaign, its Lite plan is only at $9/month, a fraction of the price of Ontraport’s Basic plan. If you want more advanced features, its Plus plan is at $49/month, its Professional plan at $129/month, and its Enterprise plan at $229/month. While Ontraport does have steeper prices, this is justified because it does, after all, have more advanced automation and CRM features that are meant for large enterprises.

Verdict

Choose Ontraport if you need the full package but go with ActiveCampaign if all you want is good marketing automation.

When it comes to campaign automation, it’s safe to say that both Ontraport and ActiveCampaign are reliable marketing platforms. They’re able to support complex automation workflows, allowing users to customize triggers, filters, and goals as needed. They’re also neck and neck in the area of email design as both provide various ways for users to create and customize their email marketing campaigns. That said, Ontraport is the more robust platform of the two, especially in the realm of CRM, and so its tools are a lot more advanced and require a steeper learning curve. It can’t be forgotten that it’s the pricier option as well. So how do you choose between the two? If you’re a large enterprise who needs the full package and can afford the higher prices, go for Ontraport. But if you’re an SMB and all you need is a good marketing automation platform, you’re better off with ActiveCampaign because you get to save as well.

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