Zoran Zoran
16 minute read

An ActiveCampaign vs. HubSpot comparison is one that really makes sense. Although each emphasizes different aspects, both of these platforms operate in many overlapping areas and they can be appealing to more-or-less similar audiences.

ActiveCampaign home page

ActiveCampaign’s main forte is automation. With automation as well as other types of tools, it helps you manage your audience efficiently, track your leads, create a personalized user experience, and improve your relationship with your customers. 

The most important part for your business is that all of this goes hand in hand with more conversions and business growth. It’s a win-win situation: you achieve your business goals by understanding your audience better and creating a high-quality user experience, while your audience receive the best possible service and the personalized approach they deserve.

HubSpot home page

HubSpot excels in the CRM realm, but it doesn’t limit itself; it belongs to the category of all-in-one platforms. As such, HubSpot offers marketing, automation, sales, customer service, CMS, and other tools in one place.

Today, it’s one of the most popular and successful platforms of this type. Its success surely didn’t just drop from the sky. There must be a reason why so many businesses opt for HubSpot. Its versatility and good service undoubtedly play an important role, but we’ll get into all the details soon enough. 

In the following few sections of this ActiveCampaign vs. HubSpot comparison, we’ll take a look at some of the most important and interesting facets of these platforms. Along the way, we hope that we’ll be able to help you see which one of them would work better for your business. So, let’s get started. 

Which Platform Is More Popular?

HubSpot was founded in 2006 while ActiveCampaign got started in 2003. Despite being a couple of years younger in the market, based on stats like search trends (Google Trends), total monthly visits, visit duration, pages per visit, and bounce rates (SimilarWeb), HubSpot is more popular than ActiveCampaign. 

For illustrative purposes, let’s look at the recent search trends and differences between the two platforms in this regard:

ActiveCampaign vs. HubSpot Google Trends

This is how things stand globally, but stats tell the same story about the U.S. and other big countries taken individually.

We can see the same considerable difference in popularity between HubSpot and ActiveCampaign in other areas we mentioned above as well:

HubSpot vs. ActiveCampaign SimilarWeb

Let’s look at some other stats to find out more about ActiveCampaign and HubSpot. In a study of 484,804 companies published on Enlyft, HubSpot takes first place in the marketing automation category while ActiveCampaign comes in fifth:

Enlyft marketing automation ActiveCampaign vs. HubSpot

Analyzing the current marketing automation landscape, BuiltWith shows similar numbers. It examined over 3.9 million businesses that use marketing automation on the internet. Out of all platforms that offer marketing automation, HubSpot is the most popular, while ActiveCampaign holds fifth place:

BuiltWith marketing automation ActiveCampaign vs. HubSpot

Knowing when to stop is a great virtue, so we’ll stop here with the stats! Maybe we overdid it, but now at least you’ve got a sense of the relative popularity of these two platforms. 

That said, stats like these are helpful but they don’t tell the full story. As you’ll see later, in contrast to what the stats here might imply, it looks like ActiveCampaign has recently started turning the tide on HubSpot. 

More and more users are seeing the value that ActiveCampaign offers to businesses and they want to get in on the perks of using this platform. 

What are those perks? We’ll see in the following sections.

Price and Value

ActiveCampaign

Pricing Plans

ActiveCampaign offers four paid pricing plans. You can choose to pay for the plan of your choice either on a monthly or yearly basis. Before you make a final decision, you can test the platform for free for 14 days.

These are the current discounted prices along with the regular monthly fees for the four plans:

ActiveCampaign priicng plans mothly fees limited time offer

These are the current discounted as well as the regular prices of the same plans when you buy a yearly subscription:

ActiveCampaign pricing plans annual fees limited time offer

Clearly, a yearly subscription saves you money in the long run, but you have to pay a lot more at the outset, which can be a problem. The actual fees you pay when you choose a yearly subscription are the following:

  • Lite: $101.25/year (current discounted price) or $108/year (regular price)
  • Plus: $551.25/year (current discounted price) or $588/year (regular price)
  • Professional: $1,677.39/year (current discounted price) or $1,788/year (regular price)
  • Enterprise: $2,904/year (current discounted price) or $3,096/year (regular price)

Keep in mind that the current special discounts apply only to the first three months of your subscription, regardless of whether it’s a monthly or annual billing.

Dynamic Pricing

One thing you need to keep in mind about the ActiveCampaign pricing is that it varies depending on your number of contacts. The images above show the fees for businesses with up to 500 contacts. However, fees increase as the number of your contacts grows. The price breakpoints are at 500, 1,000, 2,500, 5,000, and 10,000 contacts, and once you reach them, you need to pay more for the same services. 

Sometimes the difference in fees for the same plan can be huge. For instance, for the Lite plan instead of $15/month for 500 contacts, you’ll need to pay $99/month if you have 5,000 contacts. It’s a big difference, isn’t it? For this reason, make sure to always double-check the price before you select a plan.

Affordability and Cost-Effectiveness

One of the things that virtually everyone who has tried and used ActiveCampaign would agree on is that it’s a highly affordable customer experience automation platform. It’s much more affordable than its competition – we’re talking about companies like Convertkit, Mailchimp, Pardot, Keap, and as you’ll see very soon, HubSpot. 

Even more importantly, as a fairly cheap and highly customizable automation platform that offers a host of high-quality features (some of which use cutting-edge technology powered by machine learning), ActiveCampaign is extraordinarily cost-effective. 

This is not just our opinion, it’s a consensus among users. Many even claim that they started with ActiveCampaign or migrated to this platform because it was much cheaper and more cost-effective than the alternatives. It’s a money-value ratio that you rarely see anywhere else on the current market. 

It’s worth noting that we’ve already taken a deep dive into ActiveCampaign’s pricing system, so check it out if you found something missing here.

HubSpot

Free Tools

One of the biggest advantages of the HubSpot pricing system is that it includes a package that provides you with a bunch of free tools:

HubSpot free tools free plan

This may help you get started, but if you already have a flourishing business or need a serious set of tools, the free package just won’t do; you’ll have to choose a paid plan. That said, before you take a look at the HubSpot pricing system, get ready for a surprise. Not a my-friends-bought-me-a-PlayStation-5 type of surprise; a blown-out-tire type of surprise.

Pricing Hubs

HubSpot has a somewhat complex pricing system. Instead of separate complete plans that we’re all kind of used to, it offers different service “hubs,” each of which includes three plans. The way the hubs are structured means that you have to combine plans from different hubs to get the (complete) set of tools you need. 

We’ll look at the hubs in a moment. Before that, one caveat: here, we’ll only be looking at the annual fees because they transparently show the price difference between a monthly and yearly subscription. 

Marketing Hub

HubSpot marketing hub

Yes, this is the surprise we were talking about. Admittedly, strictly price-wise, it’s almost like you can’t even compare ActiveCampaign to HubSpot. Let’s move on to the next hub and check whether things are any different there.

Sales Hub

HubSpot sales hub

Not much different. Here and in every hub, the prices are pretty much all on the steep side.

Customer Service Hub

HubSpot customer service hub

These are similar fees to those for the Sales Hub and the next CMS Hub.

CMS Hub

HubSpot CMS hub

One thing that you may have noticed about the pricing is that the enterprise plans within every hub include only annual billing, which makes sense, considering that they cater to enterprise-level businesses.

Operations Hub

This one’s the last hub:

HubSpot operations hub

Dynamic Pricing

Similar to ActiveCampaign, HubSpot has dynamic pricing as well. For a larger number of contacts (Marketing Hub plans) and users (Sales Hub and Service Hub plans), HubSpot will charge you more. However, this is not all that you need to take into account when considering HubSpot.

Unlike ActiveCampaign, there’s more than one variable that determines how much you pay for HubSpot services. An ads limit increase, an API limit increase, a custom SSL add-on, a reporting limit increase, a dedicated IP add-on, a transactional email add-on, a lists limit increase, premium consulting, and more – these are all things that you may need to factor in when you’re creating your HubSpot bundle. They’re optional, but you may need to take into account at least some of them. 

Moreover, when calculating how much HubSpot will cost you, you also need to factor in plan combinations. You’re not required to combine different plans from different hubs, but since each hub covers only one domain (marketing, sales, CMS, etc.), you’ll likely have to do this if you want to have all the services in one place (HubSpot). When you combine plans and add up the total costs, you may end up paying a fortune.

Affordability and Cost-Effectiveness

HubSpot is hardly a cheap platform. For the majority of regular users and small businesses, it’s not quite an affordable option. The only scenario where you can say it’s affordable is if you’re just starting and the free package or the Starter plans can meet your needs. Once you need to scale up, the costs grow substantially, and not many businesses can afford prices that high.

Some HubSpot customers claim that they chose HubSpot because it included lower costs than companies like Pardot and Salesforce. Despite this, overall, HubSpot is a pretty expensive platform.

There may be a rationale behind the steep prices, but that’s a topic that we’ll postpone. For now, we’ll focus on another question: is HubSpot cost-effective?

Overall, user opinions on this topic are mixed. However, it seems that more and more users who are aware of ActiveCampaign’s value for money tend to think that HubSpot is not a cost-effective solution, at least not for many businesses. HubSpot has so many paywalls, and a non-negligible number of its features are available for a lot less money on ActiveCampaign.

On top of this, the highly complex HubSpot pricing system hardly makes things easier and more appealing. All things considered, HubSpot pricing just won’t work for the majority of business owners. It can either be overkill, too expensive, or not as cost-effective as other solutions like ActiveCampaign.

Features

ActiveCampaign

As we implied earlier, ActiveCampaign provides unmatched service when it comes to automation, but it performs well in other areas as well. The following is a shortened list of some of the most interesting and invaluable tools you’ll find on this platform. If you’d like to read up on them in more detail, check out our thorough review of ActiveCampaign.

  • Email split testing: create up to five emails and test them simultaneously to see which subject line, content, image, call to action, and email works best in a given situation.
  • Predictive sending powered by machine learning: send an email at the best possible time, when the probability for a contact to open the email and engage is the highest.

ActiveCampaign predictive sending

  • Predictive content, also powered by machine learning: send a personalized email with the most fitting content for a given contact.
  • Win probability: use machine learning to conclude which contacts have the most potential to close deals, determine which cases you need to apply automation and when it’s more appropriate to use a personal approach, and assign points to your contacts based on their engagement, etc.
  • Sales pipelines: create sales pipelines that help you track and lead your contacts through all the necessary stages until they convert into customers.
  • CRM: it’s good to know that ActiveCampaign has got your back when it comes to CRM as well, but keep in mind that it’s not as advanced and powerful as what HubSpot offers; it’s fairly basic and thus best suited for small businesses.
  • Loyalty program: use automation to keep your customers engaged, offer discounts according to their preferences, and reward them for their loyalty.
  • ActiveCampaign mobile app: run your business on the go by managing and creating deals, tracking contacts, assigning tasks to your collaborators, managing accounts, and more.

ActiveCampaign mobile app

  • Automation templates: use so-called recipes, essentially automation templates, to automate different aspects of your business more efficiently.
  • Integrations: search through over 850 apps in the ActiveCampaign Apps & Integrations store and find high-quality apps like DropInBlog to create a blog on ActiveCampaign, Shopify to do e-commerce more efficiently, Salesforce to take advantage of a powerful CRM, Jotform to build custom forms, and more.

HubSpot

HubSpot, on the other hand, doesn’t perform that well in the automation realm, but when it comes to CRM and customer tracking, it’s one of the best in the business. These are some of the most interesting features that HubSpot offers:

  • Free landing page builder: build personalized, responsive, and professional landing pages that include CTAs in an easy-to-use visual drag-and-drop builder.
  • Blog and content creation tools: create appealing content that helps you inform your audience, build brand awareness, and generate more traffic as well as conversions.
  • Email marketing: build, customize, and give your marketing emails a personalized touch by using smart content (smart subject line, smart CTA, and smart text) that enables you to create emails tailored for your contacts.

HubSpot email marketing

  • Advanced CRM: as we already noted, this is the strongest side of HubSpot, so if a high-quality CRM is what you’re searching for, you can’t go wrong with HubSpot.
  • Smart send: this is the counterpart to ActiveCampaign’s predictive sending, although it’s not as powerful as the tool available on ActiveCampaign.
  • A/B testing powered by machine learning: automate split testing and gain more accurate insights about your audience thanks to the machine learning system used by HubSpot.
  • Multiple deal pipelines: this is a feature that would work great for businesses that offer different products or simultaneously sell products and services, thus needing a way to cater to different types of customers. 
  • Contact deduplication: another tool based on machine learning that compares large contact lists with a host of data entries and informs you if there are any duplicates, all in a matter of seconds.
  • SEO keyword suggestions: a tool that gives you data-driven suggestions to help you optimize your content and rank higher in user searches.
  • HubSpot App Marketplace: this is the place where you’ll find a ton of apps and integrations like Google Ads, Calendly, Stripe, Automate.io, Integromat, and many more that can help you elevate your business to the next level.

HubSpot app marketplace

An All-In-One Platform: A Good or a Bad Solution?

As an all-in-one platform, HubSpot provides its customers with a lot of products and services of different types. While ActiveCampaign intentionally tries to dissociate itself from the category of all-in-one platforms, HubSpot promotes itself precisely as a one-stop solution. So, which one is better?

Of course, depending on your needs and ideas about what an ideal platform would look like, an all-in-one solution can be an advantage or a disadvantage. If you prefer the convenience of having access to as many tools as possible in one place, then HubSpot can be a great solution for you.

However, keep in mind that when a platform strives to do everything, usually it can’t perform as well as a platform specialized in a given area. An automation platform does automation better than the one that does automation and content management. A blogging platform does blogging better than the one that does blogging, e-commerce, and automation. Platforms, just like people, need to be focused on one thing to be able to excel in something.

Who Are ActiveCampaign and HubSpot For?

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign fits well within the e-commerce context. If you run an e-commerce business and need a premium automation platform, ActiveCampaign is your friend. 

It takes time to learn ActiveCampaign and understand how to get the most out of it, so it’s not exactly for absolute beginners and newbies. However, small businesses and agencies run by experienced owners or people in the know can benefit tremendously from ActiveCampaign. 

Speaking of which, small businesses and regular users seem to be one of the key categories that ActiveCampaign caters to, hence the lower prices and affordability.

HubSpot

Overall, like ActiveCampaign, HubSpot is not recommended for absolute beginners and inexperienced users. With the plethora of diverse features it offers, it can be overwhelming for newcomers. Having access to so many tools can easily turn from a blessing into a headache if you don’t really need them or are not sure what their purpose is and how to use them. 

On the other hand, the free and Starter plans could work well for startups. 

However, HubSpot seems to be ideal for businesses that are looking for a robust CRM, but maybe have their other needs covered elsewhere. In addition to this, it would work well for enterprises and large businesses that have money to burn. The steep prices of this platform’s offerings suggest that, to a great extent, these are the types of companies that HubSpot caters to.

Over and Out

In this ActiveCampaign vs. HubSpot comparison, we explored some interesting sides of these two platforms. Hopefully, we managed to show in what respect they are similar and where they differ. So, which one fits better into your business?

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