activecampaign vs aweber featured

ActiveCampaign and AWeber are 2 popular email service providers (ESPs).

To give you more options so you can choose an ESP that could potentially suit your needs better, I’ll throw in another email marketing tool — BirdSend — which my team and I built.

If, after reading this post, you find BirdSend is not for you — no hard feelings, feel free to choose either ActiveCampaign or AWeber.

If you don’t have a lot of time and just want to quickly save 80% in email tool expenses every month while still enjoying high email opens, click here to try BirdSend free.

Table of Contents

Key differences between ActiveCampaign vs AWeber vs BirdSend

BirdSend

BirdSend’s focus:

  • Being a simple and lightweight email marketing tool for content creators
  • Providing good email deliverability at an affordable price (save 80% every month) → I’ll explain about this in just a bit…

It’s for those who don’t have a need for sending fancy-designed emails. They understand subscribers want their emails because of the helpful content, not because of how good-looking the emails are.

BirdSend is also for folks who don’t need a landing page tool inside an email marketing tool. We focus on doing what we do best — email marketing — and let dedicated landing page tools do what they do best.

In terms of business size, BirdSend is suitable for solopreneurs and those with a small team of less than ten members.

Here’s how we’re able to save content creators 80% every month while achieving high email open rates

Most folks wonder how this is possible since good deliverability and affordability typically doesn’t go well together. If the deliverability is good, it must be expensive. If the price is affordable, the deliverability must be poor.

We’re able to offer good email deliverability at an affordable price because our entire strategy of getting new customers is via word-of-mouth referrals. Existing customers refer us to their friends and peers because they’re satisfied with us.

We don’t do any kind of paid ads to acquire new customers. No Google or Facebook ads. No ad placements anywhere.

We’ve never paid a single dime on paid advertisements. And we pass the savings to our customers.

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign does not do refunds, not even partial refunds.

Your price lock is for 2 years — meaning when it increases its price in the future, your current rate is honored for 2 years only, after which you’d need to pay at the then higher price.

ActiveCampaign is suitable for businesses who not only need an email marketing tool, but also an SMS marketing tool, site messaging and customer support chat tool, sales CRM tool, landing page tool, and advanced marketing automation tool.

While ActiveCampaign targets all types of business sizes from solopreneurs to small, medium, and even enterprise companies… it’s more suitable for businesses who have dedicated sales teams who need to manage sales prospects at each stage of the sales pipeline (i.e. big companies).

It’s not easy to use the platform since there are a lot of options and menus to choose from. The learning curve is very steep.

AWeber

AWeber allows attachments in emails, which is weird because attachments lower deliverability.

This email marketing tool forces you to create a list before you can even start playing around with it, which is somewhat inconvenient if you just want to quickly explore and get a feel for what the tool offers.

Though there are plenty of free stock photos you can get from sites like Pexels, AWeber comes with around 6k stock photos out of the box.

It used to be the grandaddy of email marketing tools. However in the early 2010s, it has failed to keep up with feature developments and modern email marketing requirements. Hence it lost a lot of market share to other tools, including newer ones that sprung out that offer better capabilities.

AWeber is for all kinds of businesses — from email marketers, creators, bloggers, e-commerce online stores, local brick and mortar shops, etc. It basically targets everyone and anyone, as long as they’re small businesses.

It’s a list-centric tool — i.e. subscribers are put into buckets called “lists” based on interests. This makes it hard to keep track of their overall interaction with you because there are just so many lists in your account.

Some subscribers will end up on different lists, and you could unknowingly send multiple emails to them (and annoying them).

AWeber charges you multiple times for the same subscriber. Say Sam Subscriber is on 5 lists, you get charged for 5 contacts.

Additionally, it charges you for unsubscribed and unconfirmed contacts.

How Content Creators send 30 million emails every month

Content creators refer to bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters, course creators, authors, coaches, consultants, and agencies. Basically anyone who shares their knowledge to others.

Together, they send about 30 million emails per month via BirdSend to get high email opens… and they do so affordably (3 – 5X more affordable than other email tools).

good email deliverability - customer #1
(click here for full image)

high email opens - customer #2
(click for full image)

Money is attracted to speed. The faster you can set up emails to be sent to subscribers, the more earnings for you.

In BirdSend, setting up email sequences / drips is super fast thanks to “The 1-Page Sequence Builder”. All emails in a sequence are inside this 1 page — allowing you to quickly create and edit emails on the fly, without back and forth loading multiple pages.

If you can find a faster email tool to set up sequences, let me know and I’ll give you a paid BirdSend account (contact me via bottom right icon on this page).

this email marketing software is lightweight and quick
(click for full image)

Now, let’s compare these 3 email marketing tools with a set of 20 email marketing related questions…

ActiveCampaign vs AWeber vs BirdSend question-by-question comparison

BirdSend

Does the tool provide a free migration service?

Yes, we’ll move all your data from your previous email marketing tool. Things like sequences, automations, forms, subscribers, integrations, etc.

We move everything manually by hand (not using scripts or software). A team member will be assigned to your account and do the migration for you.

BirdSend’s concierge migration service provided at no charge
(click for full image)

What is the setup process like?

BirdSend’s focus is lightweight and simplicity, which leads to speed and ease of setup.

The dashboard is minimalistic and intuitive. You don’t need to dig deep inside menus to find what you’re looking for.

With BirdSend’s 1-Page Sequence Builder, you’l be firing up email sequences / drips in no time.

BirdSend’s 1-page sequence builder makes creating email series super fast

Does the tool charge you for unsubscribed and unconfirmed contacts?

We only bill you for subscribed contacts that you can send emails to. We do not charge you for unsubscribed or unconfirmed contacts.

What about duplicate contacts? Are they charged?

We only charge unique contacts (unique email addresses).

E.g. If John Doe is on many different sequences and has many tags associated with him, you’re only charged for 1 contact.

Who is the target audience and target business size?

Content creators who run the business as a one-man show or with a tiny team of less than 10 teammates.

How easy is it to resend emails to subscribers who didn’t open?

1-click easy, both for sequence emails and one-off broadcast emails.

activecampaign vs aweber: resend emails to unopened for more exposure

Does it support A/B or split testing?

Yes. You can even resend to non-openers right during an A/B test. As far as I know, we’re the only email tool that can do this (at the time of this writing).

You can customize these test settings:

  • The email ratios that go out for the original email, variation email, and winner email
  • The winner criteria — higher open rate, click rate, or sales revenue

built in split testing or A/B testing

Does the email tool have email sequences / series features?

Yes, as shown above. I consider this the price of entry to be even considered as an email marketing tool.

Can automation be based on subscribers’ behavior?

Yes. For instance, you can do this:

  • If subscriber opens email X → tag with X
  • If subscriber clicks a particular link in a particular email → tag with Y, subscribe to sequence Y, and unsubscribe from current sequence

Can it send one-time broadcast / newsletter-type emails?

Yes.

Can it create opt-in forms and landing pages?

Yes for opt-in forms. We can host the forms for you, or you can use our WordPress plugin to quickly display forms on your site — popups, in-content forms, welcome screens, sidebar and bottom widgets, etc.

There are no landing pages though. We believe in focusing on our core competency — email marketing — and let dedicated landing page tools do their job of creating great landing pages, instead of trying to be a bit of everything.

However, you can use our “welcome screens” as a simple landing page.

example of welcome screen

Is the email editor easy and quick to use?

As mentioned a few times already, BirdSend is a simple and lightweight email marketing tool.

And the same philosophy applies to the email editor. We intentionally didn’t build the typical “drag and drop” email editor you find in 99% of other email tools.

We believe as content creators — the focus should be on creating good content instead of worrying about media-rich or beautifully-designed emails. As such, content creators only need a minimalistic design for their emails and let their CONTENT shine instead.

Think about it… folks subscribe to you because of how your CONTENT is going to help them, not to be in awe of how “good looking” your emails are.

After all, these are emails we’re talking about, not websites or landing pages 😅

How is the reporting / stats?

In addition to opens, clicks, bounces, unsubscribes, and spam-complaints… we also provide you with sales revenue and attribution, lifetime value, and average lifetime value numbers front and center when you login to your account.

And they’re provided at no extra cost to you (many email tools force you to upgrade to a higher plan for sales tracking and attribution).

Finding which emails (and traffic source) result in the most sales is easy. Armed with this data, you can double down on what works and eliminate those that don’t.

sales revenue data is readily available

Can the tool do segmentation?

Yes, you can quickly segment contacts using tags.

And tags can be created on the fly too, unlike list-centric tools where you must configure the settings and answer a bunch of questions for every list you create.

Does it support abandoned cart emails?

Yes. At this time, we directly integrate with the following cart software:

  • WooCommerce
  • ThriveCart
  • Shopify
  • SendOwl
  • aMember
  • MemberPress
  • SamCart
  • Thinkific
  • Teachable

You can easily set up abandoned automations in BirdSend so that those who abandoned their purchase can be added to your “abandoned” sequence.

Is there a spam-checker tool?

Yes, you can check the spam score right in the email editor with 1-click.

spam checker tool

How is the customer support?

Here are some reviews:

review from a satisfied customer
(click for full image)

testimonial from active user

How is the value for money?

Here are what some customers say:

high value for money for this ESP

why people say this email service provider is affordable

great value for money for what this email tool can do

Is there a free plan?

We don’t offer a free plan, but we do offer a free 14-day trial.

The reason for not offering a free plan is because we want to focus on serving paying customers — those who are serious in their business.

We’re a small team. So it makes sense to double down on serving folks who have given us their money… instead of diluting our efforts by trying to serve free users as well.

After the free trial, we still offer a 30-day no-questions-asked money back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied for whatever reason, simply let us know and we’ll refund you.

Pros

  • Very affordable (save 80% every month)
  • Good email deliverability
  • Simple and lightweight tool that’s totally focused in email marketing only (not trying to do a bit of everything)
  • Super fast creation (and editing) of email sequences with The 1-Page Sequence Builder
  • All features unlocked in every plan — the only difference is the number of contacts in each

Cons

  • Not suitable if you want fancy-designed emails
  • If you want a landing page tool inside an email marketing tool, it’s not for you
  • Not for folks who want advanced email automation
  • Small team of 7 members (if you want a big company with hundreds of employees, it’s not for you)

Now let’s move to the next tool in this ActiveCampaign vs AWeber vs BirdSend comparison article.


ActiveCampaign

Does the tool provide a free migration service?

Yes.

What is the setup process like?

ActiveCampaign is an all-in-one marketing platform that can do a lot of things, not just email marketing. Things like SMS marketing, landing pages, advanced marketing automation, on-site chat and support, lead scoring, CRM, etc.

This means there are a lot of menus and sub-menus to choose from, which could be confusing… especially for folks new to the platform.

A deep learning curve is needed to use the platform. And the UI is clunky and slow.

Does the tool charge you for unsubscribed and unconfirmed contacts?

No. It only charges you for subscribed contacts.

What about duplicate contacts? Are they charged?

No. You’re only charged for unique contacts, no matter how many lists they are on.

Who is the target audience and target business size?

ActiveCampaign does not have defined target audience. It basically targets everyone and every business size.

No matter if you’re a mom and pop store, a blogger, writer, e-commerce online store owner, or a B2B business… ActiveCampaign wants you.

It’s also going after all business sizes — one-man show, small, medium, big, enterprise.

How easy is it to resend emails to subscribers who didn’t open?

You can resend to unopened.

However, it’s flawed and inconvenient in the following ways:

  • You can’t set it and forget it (i.e. no setting up the resend beforehand). You’d need to set up the resend after the original email has been sent.
  • When you’re in your account setting up the resend, you can’t schedule it to be sent at a later date. You can only do the resend then and there.

Does it support A/B or split testing?

Yes, you can test the content of the email body, the subject line, as well as the “from name”.

Does the email tool have email sequences / series features?

Yes, although you’d need to go through a lot of clicking and popups to set up even simple email sequences.

Can automation be based on subscribers’ behavior?

Yes. ActiveCampaign supports complex and advanced automations. If you can visualize a marketing automation, you can probably build it in ActiveCampaign.

It definitely supports Triggers and Actions based on the actions your subscribers take (e.g. opening an email or clicking a link).

Can it send one-time broadcast / newsletter-type emails?

Yes.

Can it create opt-in forms and landing pages?

Opt-in forms are available for all plans. Landing pages are only available in the Plus plan.

However, there is no form specific opt-in incentives — i.e. you’re not able to “1-click” to auto deliver a specific lead magnet based on a specific form someone opts-in to.

Is the email editor easy and quick to use?

The email editor is what you’d find in 99% of other email service providers — a typical “drag and drop” WYSIWYG email editor that you can add elements to.

You’re able to create fancy-designed emails if that’s what you’re after. 2 columns, 3 columns, fancy backgrounds, media-rich emails, etc

The editor feels clunky to use though.

How is the reporting / stats?

Stats like open rates, click rates, unsubscribe rates, spam rates, bounce rates are provided. On top of that, it also provides you with geo reports.

If you want sales and attribution reporting, you’d need the Professional plan which is very expensive at $187/month for 1k contacts.

ALTV (average lifetime value) metrics are not provided.

Can the tool do segmentation?

Yes. It supports deep segmentation, not just based on opens and clicks.

For example, you can create a segment for folks who live in London, subscribed in the last 90 days, and have visited a specific page on your site.

But there’s also a downfall. Since ActiveCampaign is a list-centric tool, you’d need to create a list for each interest → this means filling out and customizing the settings for every list → frustrating.

Does it support abandoned cart emails?

Only in the Plus plan.

Is there a spam-checker tool?

Yes.

How is the customer support?

It has a pretty comprehensive help center that contains text and video tutorials. Human support is also knowledgeable and responsive.

If you need phone support, it’s only available in the most expensive “Enterprise” plan (1k contacts for $323/month).

How is the value for money?

The tool can do many things than just email marketing. That’s why it has 4 different plans for you to choose, depending on your needs.

Since we’re mostly focused on comparing email marketing features in this post, let’s focus on that — which the lowest “Lite” plan offers.

Even for this plan, the pricing is still on the steeper side.

Is there a free plan?

No, but it offers a free trial for 14 days.

An interesting thing to note is ActiveCampaign does not offer any kind of refunds (not even partial refunds).

That said… make sure to do your due diligence and test the tool comprehensively during your free trial, so that you can make an informed decision before paying for it.

Pros

  • Supports complex and advanced automation. If you can visualize an automation in your head, you probably can build it in ActiveCampaign.
  • It has an automation map tool where you’re able to view at a high level how your automations connect with one another. This allows you to easily spot weak / strong points in your funnel and potentially improve them.
  • Can do deep segmentation.

Cons

  • No refunds whatsoever — not even partial refunds:

    activecampaign’s refund policy
  • The price lock is only 2 years from when you joined. If, after 2 years, it increases its price, you’d need to pay at the then higher price:

    only 2 years price lock for activecampaign customers
  • Slow and clunky UI.

AWeber

Does the tool provide a free migration service?

No. You’d need to move all your data yourself or hire someone to do it for you.

What is the setup process like?

The UI is pretty intuitive and the menus are well organized.

However, you need to be careful when exploring / settings things up — make sure you’re in the correct “list” — otherwise you’d unknowingly mess up the settings of another list. This “list” section is not that obvious, so make sure you to be extra careful.

AWeber also requires you to create a mandatory list before you can even start using the software.

Does the tool charge you for unsubscribed and unconfirmed contacts?

Yes. Even when you’re not able to send emails to this group of people, you’re still charged.

What about duplicate contacts? Are they charged?

Yes, you’re charged multiple times for the same person in different lists.

E.g. Sally Subscriber is in 7 of your lists — you’ll be charged for 7 contacts.

It’s common for someone to subscribe to different lists. Hence your bill will get expensive quickly.

Who is the target audience and target business size?

AWeber targets small businesses.

For business types, it doesn’t really have a defined one and instead targets all types — whether it’s e-com store owners, brick and mortar businesses, creators, coaches, consultants, agencies, etc.

How easy is it to resend emails to subscribers who didn’t open?

You are not able to do this in AWeber.

Does it support A/B or split testing?

It says it’s able to do A/B testing, but it’s more like a hack / workaround.

Here’s why:

  • You must manually create 3 different email messages — original, variation, winner
  • After you’ve sent the original and variation emails, you give it some time before logging back to your account to manually (as in USE YOUR EYES) review which one has a higher open rate.
  • Then you manually send the winner to the remaining recipients.

activecampaign vs aweber: the latter's a/b test is flawed and cumbersome

Does the email tool have email sequences / series features?

Yes. AWeber calls this the “autoresponder” feature.

Can automation be based on subscribers’ behavior?

Yes, though it’s limited in what it can do.

For instance, while you can tag subscribers or remove them from the current sequence if they click a certain link… you can’t do more advanced stuff.

Things like subscribing them to another sequence or recording a conversion / sale if they click → these can’t be achieved.

Can it send one-time broadcast / newsletter-type emails?

Yes.

Can it create opt-in forms and landing pages?

Yes for both.

You’re not able to set up the auto delivery of your lead magnet in 1-click though. You’d need to manually host the download and share the download link in your emails.

Is the email editor easy and quick to use?

The email editor is a drag and drop style email editor like what you’d find in typical email marketing tools. You can create multiple columns and take your time in designing fancy-designed emails.

There are around 700 email templates to choose from, though many templates look outdated. If designing beautiful emails are more important to you than delivering great email content, this is potentially a good fit for you.

How is the reporting / stats?

It provides opens, clicks, bounces, spams, and unsubscribes in numbers form as well as charts. They are available on a per list basis.

Can the tool do segmentation?

Yes. AWeber primarily segment contacts via lists.

But it can also do tags. Users could be confused which ones they should use — lists or tags?

If they use tags, they also have to use lists because lists are the basic “storage blocks” needed to “contain” or “store” subscribers.

Additionally, you’re not able to set up broadcast recipients by tags, you can only do so via lists.

Confusing isn’t it?

With a list based tool like this, you also need to create a separate list for every interest, including filling out and customizing the settings for each list. When you have a lot of interests, this gets cumbersome and tiring.

Does it support abandoned cart emails?

Yes, but only if you’re using WooCommerce or Shopify. If you use other cart tools, you’d need to use Zapier to achieve the integration.

Is there a spam-checker tool?

No.

How is the customer support?

It provides 24/7 email, phone, and live chat support. It also has a help center containing tons of text and video tutorials. My experience interacting with support is that they’re helpful and knowledgeable.

How is the value for money?

AWeber is cheaper than ActiveCampaign but more expensive than BirdSend (see price comparison table at the end of this article).

Is there a free plan?

Yes, with the following limitations:

  • A clickable AWeber logo in your every email
  • No behavioral automation
  • Max 500 subscribers
  • Max 3,000 emails per month
  • Only 1 list

Pros

  • It has this “auto brand theme from URL” feature that can grab your website’s brand color theme to be used in emails
  • It has a simple survey feature that you can use in emails. There are 4 types of survey supported:
    • Yes / No (E.g. Are you a vegetarian)
    • Sentiment (positive / negative)
    • 5-Point (on a scale of 1 – 5, how would you rate us)
    • Net Promoter Score (how likely are you going to recommend us to your friend)
  • Relatively easy to use

Cons

  • It allows attachments in emails (which is weird because doing so lowers deliverability)
  • Your bill will get expensive quickly:
    • Counts unsubscribes and unconfirmed contacts towards your bill
    • Charges you multiple times for the same contact in different lists
  • Hard to keep track of subscribers overall interaction with you because of so many lists in the account. You’d need to review the stats for each list individually instead of as a whole. You could also unintentionally send the same email multiple times to the same group of people.
  • No auto resend to non-openers

So there you have it — the feature comparison between ActiveCampaign vs AWeber vs BirdSend. Now let’s compare their price in the table below…


Pricing Table Comparison

(price per month)

Brand1k Contacts2.5k 5k10k25k50k100k
ActiveCampaign (Lite)$30$61$99$174$286$424$687
AWeber$29.99$29.99$49.99$69.99$149.99??
BirdSend$9$14$19$29$69$109$209

Note:

For ActiveCampaign, not all features mentioned in this article are included in the plan shown in the pricing table (Lite).

For AWeber and BirdSend, all features are included as their plans only differ by the number of contacts.

Conclusion: ActiveCampaign vs AWeber vs BirdSend — which is better?

Simply concluding that a certain brand is better than the other is not wise. Some people with certain needs prefer one brand over another.

If you’re a content creator who wants a budget-friendly email marketing tool without sacrificing good email opens, BirdSend is for you.

Give ActiveCampaign a try if you need advanced marketing automations that can do beyond just email marketing.

For folks who want phone support and a simple survey tool to be included in an email marketing tool, go for AWeber.

Welly Mulia

👋 My customers (Content Creators) send 30M emails/month via BirdSend. They save 80% in email tool expenses every month while still enjoying high email opens.

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Try BirdSend Free Now!

Save 80% every month. High email opens. Super fast email sequence setup.

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