You've probably heard of both HubSpot and ActiveCampaign during recent years, but you may be wondering which one is the best fit for you.
This is a big decision that should be evaluated based upon your unique needs, budget and the skill set of your internal resources.
However, we'll outline the biggest differentiators below so you can make an informed decision.
Considering both platforms try to solve many of the same problems, it shouldn’t be surprising that they have a lot in common. Both platforms work to automate and manage digital marketing with little to no coding necessary.
They both strive to be a robust, multifeature platform with email marketing, landing pages (a newer tool in ActiveCampaign's suite), a CRM and automations that can really save marketers a lot of time.
However, HubSpot offers a few tools that are lacking in ActiveCampaign (most notably blogging and web site management). This is not a huge issue, since in general the vast majority of small to midsized business utilize WordPress (which is free) for their blogs and web site, and it offers some major SEO benefits.
All of the features offered in these platforms can obviously have a big impact on the success of your marketing campaigns and the efficiency of your team. But as they say, the devil is in the details, so it's worthwhile to really do a deeper dive into these tools to better understand some of each platform's strengths and weaknesses.
HubSpot does not disappoint in this area. It's a proven tool with a huge user base that reflects many years of product development, user research and monthly enhancements. Most of its features, including the email tool, landing pages, SEO, social publishing and sharing, reporting and the CRM provide an easy-to-use and elegant interface. One big drawback to this though is that because HubSpot offers so many features and does so much ongoing product enhancements, it can be a bit difficult to keep up with all of the changes and enhancements.
ActiveCampaign is a very strong contender in this area. Although some features and tools are a bit clunky to use (particularly the new landing page tool), the user experience is overall simple, easy and well thought-out. In addition, ActiveCampaign is constantly updating its platform to offer new features and improvements. Like HubSpot, they listen to their users and take action in frequent, iterative releases.
HubSpot transformed the marketing world by offering powerful workflows and marketing automation for the masses. The tight integration between all of the tools in HubSpot's suite remains a powerful benefit of using HubSpot as an all-in-one marketing and sales platform.
However, ActiveCampaign gives HubSpot a serious run for the money here, by offering tons of prebuilt automations with numerous third-party tools or its own tools that will truly delight most marketers. Whether you want to create a drip campaign that incorporates email, social and sales outreach or invite users to follow you on social, ActiveCampaign likely has an automation that you can quickly plug and play.
HubSpot is starting to lag in this area, but HubSpot does offer very powerful workflows including the same if/then logic and branching, so it's a close race here with ActiveCampaign getting a slight edge.
ActiveCampaign is designed to work well with numerous third-party tools, so it clearly outshines HubSpot in this area. While HubSpot does integrate with third-party tools, ActiveCampaign offers many more options and is sometimes easier to integrate.
Some of these customizations are quick and easy to do in ActiveCampaign, while others require more technical know-how like HubSpot.
ActiveCampaign is the clear winner in this category, in our opinion.
At first glance, the pricing for ActiveCampaiggn looks more attractive than HubSpot. For the same number of contacts, HubSpot costs considerably more, but it’s important to realize that HubSpot contains substantially more features.
Those features include social media management, a blogging platform and file management and sharing. If you want any of those tools, you’ll need third-party solutions to pair with ActiveCampaign--not the end of the world if budget is one of your primary considerations, and the out-of-the-box integrations offered by ActiveCampaign generally make this a pretty painless process.
This is one area where there is no one-size-fits-all answer. If budget is your primary decision-making driver, ActiveCampaign wins out. But tread lightly, because you don't want to shoot yourself in the foot by limiting your team's ability to market.
The Bottom Line
Both platforms are powerful and useful.
HubSpot is likely the better option for an enterprise with a bigger budget and a desire to get all of its marketing tools under one hood.
ActiveCampaign is full of promise for smaller businesses who want the basics--email marketing, landing pages, a solid CRM and very powerful automations--without breaking the bank.
Want help deciding which marketing automation platform is right for you? Contact us today so we can help or check out our 90-Day Marketing Transformation packages so we can set up your HubSpot or ActiveCampaign environment right away.