Comparing Marketing Automation Platforms: ActiveCampaign vs MailChimp


Emailing marketing automation platforms can greatly support and improve your business. ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp are two of the most popular marketing automation platforms. They both use automation to create email campaigns for your customers and clients. MailChimp is easy to use and is quite affordable, however ActiveCampaign offers many innovative features. It can be difficult to choose between the two if aren’t sure about the similarities and differences. In this blog, we will be comparing the two marketing platforms and determining which one we like best.

Ease of Use

When it comes to user-friendliness, MailChimp and ActiveCampaign are pretty much tied. Both platforms are very straightforward and intuitive. Like anything, these platforms will require learning and take some time on your part but are still very easy to use.

Mailchimp using a drag-and-drop email editor, which makes it extremely easy to build a striking email campaign in a short amount of time. The complaint that many people have is creating forms, landing pages, and ads are all lumped together in the “Campaign” section. It is not a deal breaker but does create an extra step if you wish to create one of these.

ActiveCampaign also offers a drag-and-drop email editor. Although ActiveCampaign has a clearer interface, the campaign builder is more complex than MailChimp. Due to the complexity of the builder, MailChimp may be a better choice for beginners.

Pricing & Features

Pricing is one of the main aspects to look into, especially for small businesses or businesses that are just starting out.

ActiveCampaign’s pricing is based upon the number of contacts/subscribers you wish to have. The lowest number of subscribers to have is 500 and can go as high as 100,000. For the lowest number of subscribers, the costs would be $9/month for the lite plan, $49/month for the plus plan, $129/month for the professional plan, and $229/month for the enterprise plan. The chart below is based on having 1,000 subscribers.

Lite Plan

Plus Plan

Professional Plan



$49/month $129/month $229/month
Includes: Includes: Includes:


  • Unlimited Sending
  • Email Marketing
  • Send Newsletters
  • Subscription Forms
  • Marketing Automation
  • Chat & Email Support
  • Up to 3 Users
  • Everything from Lite PLUS:
  • Facebook Custom Audience
  • Lead & Contact Scoring
  • SMS Marketing
  • Custom User Permissions
  • Up to 25 Users
  • & More!
  • Everything from Plus, PLUS:
  • Predictive Content & Sending
  • 3 One-On-One Training Sessions/month
  • Consultation for Automation Strategy and In-Depth Onboarding
  • Up to 50 Users
  • & More!
  • Everything from Professional PLUS:
  • Custom Mailserver Domain
  • Custom Domain
  • Dedicated Account Rep
  • Free Design Services
  • Free Social Data
  • Phone Support
  • Unlimited Users
  • & More!

To learn more about the plans that ActiveCampaign offers, click here.

Unlike ActiveCampaign, MailChimp offers a free plan. The chart below offers comparisons of each plan they have.

Free Plan

Essentials Plan

Standard Plan

Premium Plan


$9.99/month $14.99/month


Includes: Includes: Includes:


  • Up to 2,000 Subscribers
  • 1 Audience
  • Basic Templates
  • Must Manually Send Campaigns (No Scheduling)
  • No Chat Support
  • MailChimp Domain
  • Pop-up Forms
  • & More!
  • Up to 50,000 Subscribers
  • 3 Audiences
  • Basic and Pre-built Templates
  • Ability to Schedule Campaigns
  • 24/7 Email/Chat Support
  • MailChimp Domain
  • Pop-up Forms
  • & More!
  • Up to 100,000 Subscribers
  • 5 Audiences
  • Basic and Pre-built Templates
  • Custom Coded Templates
  • Ability to Schedule Campaigns
  • 24/7 Email/Chat Support
  • MailChimp Domain
  • Pop-up Forms
  • & More!
  • 200,000 + Subscribers
  • Unlimited Audiences
  • Basic and Pre-built Templates
  • Custom Coded Templates
  • Ability to Schedule Campaigns
  • 24/7 Email/Chat Support
  • MailChimp Domain
  • Pop-up Forms
  • & More!

To learn more about the plans that MailChimp offers, click here.

Essentially, MailChimp is your best bet if price is a top concern for you. If you are a smaller business or just starting out and do not have more than 2,000 subscribers, the free plan will suit you. However, if you wish to be able to schedule campaigns, and have more creative freedom with your campaign designs, scheduling times, etc, then perhaps going with the essentials plan will benefit you more.


Mailchimp has around 100 templates and designs for you to choose from. If you know how, you can also upload your HTML template directly to MailChimp. They have different templates for newsletters, events, notifications and ecommerce emails as well as basic templates for you to customize yourself.

ActiveCampaign has around 30 templates and designs for you to choose from. This platform offers the same templates as MailChimp such as newsletters, events, etc.

The only real difference between the two is the quantity of templates they have. With that being said, if you like to have many different options to choose from, Mailchimp is the way to go.


Mailchimp has a decent variety of automated campaigns such as confirmations of purchases and abandoned carts. However, these automated campaigns are not very flexible and are not as visually appealing as ActiveCampaign.

ActiveCampaign on the other hand has extremely professional and expensive looking automations that you would find in high end software. It offers everything MailChimp offers in terms of the variety of automated campaigns and then some.

Let’s Recap

After doing extensive research on both platforms, we can honestly say that one isn’t better than the other! It is all a matter of what you need and what you require. If you are a small business or just starting out and are working with a tighter budget, Mailchimp is the way to go. You can get away with the free plan, or upgrade to the essentials or standard plan for less than $20 a month. However, if you are a bigger business or company and are looking for more advanced features like automations and CRM, then we recommend ActiveCampaign.

Rosewood is a digital marketing agency outside Toronto dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and small businesses grow their online presence. We work with clients across North America and Europe to identify, strategize and reach their marketing goals!

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Until next time,


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