ActiveCampaign vs Klaviyo - Review - Bumper Leads

ActiveCampaign vs Klaviyo – Review

In the debate for ActiveCampaign vs Klaviyo, plenty of companies struggle to make the best choice for their business. After helping clients set up both Klaviyo and ActiveCampaign for their online stores over many years, we’ve noticed some obvious differences between these platforms that can either be a positive or negative thing for your store. The effects are entirely dependent on your store’s needs. If you’re looking to leverage email marketing automation, our insight will help you!

In this review, I will assume that you’re an established ecommerce store that plays in both B2C and B2B markets. I’m also looking at this as a business owner and someone who has worked in the FMCG industry for over 15 years.

If you’re looking to sign up to one of these platforms, then you’re in the right place!

First things first….

 

What is marketing automation?

 

Before we start to discuss the pros and cons of ActiveCampaign vs Klaviyo, I would like to define what marketing automation is. In our opinion, marketing automation is not email marketing.
Email marketing involves sending emails for marketing purposes.

Marketing automation is about being able to dynamically communicate with your leads and customers. For example, if a customer buys your product, an automation system would send them an email to welcome them into your community. This is an example of using technology to send out communication at the right time without you having to manually design a newsletter and send it out.

This is a simple example, but when it comes to marketing automation platforms, it’s important to note that not every platform is created equal!

This is why it’s important to also plan your marketing funnels before you start thinking about signing up for a marketing automation platform.

If you get stuck, we can help you put together your marketing automation plan.

Our comparison will focus on platform features and future innovations. In terms of their pricing options, you can visit Klaviyo website and ActiveCampaign website to learn more.

If your account has about 10,000 contacts, then you’ll find both platforms will be on par for prices.

As an ecommerce business, your main objective is to market your products and convert your inventory into cash. And as you grow, your business needs will also change, so your marketing growth system will need to change too.

So let us settle the ActiveCampaign vs Klaviyo debate! 
 
(Please note – this read may take 10min of your time, but will save you hours in frustration)

 

Integration with Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce or Magento

 

Klaviyo’s popularity became obvious at the time when Mailchimp broke up with Shopify (Read Tech Crunch article here)

Many people used Mailchimp for basic email marketing activities. By basic, I mean to collect leads and send nurture campaigns when someone opts in to download your discount.

Since this break-up, Klaviyo has seen a massive increase in their user growth base, making it even more popular with ecommerce Influencers who are avid Klaviyo proponents.

Klaviyo has an amazing integration with Shopify – once you open your account, it takes 2 clicks and you can pull in all your images, fonts and colours inside Klaviyo.

All product information is fed through as well, including UTM variables from your store.

ActiveCampaign is fairly similar, although it doesn’t pull in your brand’s fonts and colours, but we find this is not a major problem.

Once you create your first campaign, the email designer recalls it for your other campaigns. The font library in ActiveCampaign is limited while Klaviyo offers more options in this regard.

So, from an integration perspective, both platforms are on par.

 

List Segmentation in ActiveCampaign vs Klaviyo

 

When it comes to segmenting your database based on your subscribers’ interests and behaviours, ActiveCampaign and Klaviyo both offer an easy segment builder that pulls in all the information from your store such as product items, quantity, revenue, and website data. You can also pull in actual product images and insert them into your email designs.

With platforms like these, you can segment data using lists, custom fields or tags.

This is where I think these two major platforms differ… in a major way.

Klaviyo will offer you the ability to create Custom Properties where you can capture specific data about your leads at the time of opt-in.

You can also capture information about a contact while they are inside a Flow and update a Custom Property.

For example, once someone completes your welcome series, you may want to “mark” them as completed. You can then create Segments of anyone who has completed the Welcome Series, and then trigger another flow to start based on this segment. This is an ‘advanced’ way of merging two flows together.

 

 

Klaviyo vs ActiveCampaign_Custom Properties

Klaviyo also has the ability to apply a tag to a contact – however, we find this feature to be very limited. 

For example, you can tag a marketing campaign, or a form that you create to help you sort all marketing campaigns together – but you can’t use these tags to trigger flows or apply tags to a contact once they are inside the flow. 

A use case for this may be that you have multiple opt-ins, and you want to ensure everyone gets their specific tag for that opt-in so that you can skip them out of the nurture sequence, as they don’t need to be nurtured twice. 

It’s just one of many ways to segment your subscribers with ActiveCampaign. 

With ActiveCampaign, we find segmentation rules to be much more robust and agile. You can segment your leads and customers using both custom fields and tags. 

While both Klaviyo and ActiveCampaign do not recommend using Lists as a way of segmenting subscribers, ActiveCampaign does have List option as well. 

In ActiveCampaign vs Klaviyo, ActiveCampaign is a winner when it comes to ease of segmentation. 

As a business owner, to me, this is the most important feature that many automation platforms miss. In my opinion, ActiveCampaign dominates in this space.

Automation builder (ActiveCampaign Automations vs Klaviyo Flows)

 

If you’re looking to create a basic welcome nurture campaign, both platforms have the ability to do this easily. From a technical point of view, if you are like us, you’d want to be able to utilize the visual builder efficiently. 

Klaviyo has a visual builder and only a limited number of Start triggers for your flows. If you start a flow when someone joins a List, but later you want to change it to when someone purchases a product, this would be difficult to recreate. Essentially, you would need to start a new flow altogether as you can’t duplicate flows with different start triggers. 

When we approached Klaviyo about this, they advised us that the reason for this is that many of their users are not tech savvy and require less complex automations, so if they start to change start triggers, the data that flows through may not be accurately tied to this contact. Another platform that restricts duplication of start triggers is Zapier, so I guess it’s nothing new. 

The good news is that ActiveCampaign makes this process of building automations seamless. Heck, they even give you the option to have multiple start triggers – you can start when someone submits a form, and when they purchase and when they visit a particular page on your site – any of these contacts could go through the same automated funnel! 

However, this can be dangerous to do, of course as you can’t treat every subscriber the same way – one could be a lead, but they haven’t purchased yet, while another could be an old customer just browsing random pages on your site. 

So it’s very important to plan your customer journey beforehand….I guess this is why Klaviyo would restrict these abilities because the potential for human error could be big, so they get lumped with support calls (just kidding). 

Hands down, I think ActiveCampaign is the only platform in the market that makes building automations exciting. They have thought of every single use case, but they also considered the technical feasibility of it. I haven’t found a single platform that allows this much flexibility with their automation builders as much as ActiveCampaign does. 

Klaviyo Flow Builder vs ActiveCampaign Automation Builder

Email Designer Tool Comparison

 

Styling your emails is very important – a good design can make or break your sales numbers! 

So which platform will make it easy to build a campaign? 

Both have easy to use “drag and drop” builders – although Klaviyo wins in some respects as they offer more font options. 

When it comes to personalising your campaign, such as using “merge” fields, I find ActiveCampaign super easy to use – you don’t need a code to do this; while with Klaviyo, you do need some tech know how if you want to insert a Custom Property information as part of your email design – i.e. custom coupon code. You can learn more about Klaviyo’s Custom Property features here.

Klaviyo doesn’t make it easy to find how to do this while you’re busy designing your email. You kinda have to be prepared beforehand – open a few tabs just so you can write a string, and then investigate where the actual custom property field value is – as it’s not obvious. 

For a platform that cares about their non-techy users, I find this is a forgotten feature and so it’s hard to make it work, unless you’re a seasoned Klaviyo user and you can hack it together. 

What I do like about Klaviyo’s email designer is the ability to insert smart coupons. So for example you can create a code HELLO10 as a prefix and then the email will automatically populate random coupon numbers making it unique for that subscriber. Each subscriber would get their own random, unique code. This is easy to set up within Klaviyo’s coupon builder. 

ActiveCampaign doesn’t have this feature. You would need to add another app, in order to make it work. If you use WooCommerce, you can use Smart Coupon to generate unique codes automatically using ActiveCampaign.

For more advanced users out there, I assume you would be familiar with conditional content? With conditional content, you could write 1 email copy for 3 different customers – and only customers who have a specific custom field or a tag, could view the relevant content. In layman’s terms, if you have both cat owners and dog owners, they can both go through one email, but only view cat information and likewise with dog owners, who could only view dog products in your newsletter. 

Well, I was surprised to learn that Klaviyo doesn’t have this feature. 

The only way to make this possible within Klaviyo is to create “if/else” conditions inside the flow, so that your flow can be branched out, and for some people, it can start to resemble a pretzel! You can learn more about flow branching here.

This is where I think ActiveCampaign wins again – and it’s all to do with their flexible segmentation options.

This is where I think ActiveCampaign wins again – and it’s all to do with their flexible segmentation options. 

Both platforms are heavily innovating in this space, so it’s important to note that if you’re evaluating tech companies, you also pay close attention to their commercial arrangements – are they privately owned or do they have external funding? If they have external funding, you know that you can expect new features rolled out quickly. 

And this is a good thing – so if you prefer the interface of Klaviyo over ActiveCampaign, and vice versa, you should stick with the platform of your choice and be comfortable with the fact that some missing features will show up at some point in their product development phase. 

 

Form Builder in ActiveCampaign vs Klaviyo

 

Klaviyo Multi-Step Form Builder

 

This is an interesting product feature – I have to say that Klaviyo’s ability to design forms is above any forms that you create with ActiveCampaign. I don’t know why ActiveCampaign makes it hard to style forms, as you need to be a CSS wizard to make them look nice – but then even with a pop-up form, you are limited in terms of how many fields you can add there! 

At the time of writing this, I do know their focus is on improving the interface for form builders and email builders – so watch this space. 

In my example image below, all I did to create this form in Klaviyo is to replace text and add some additional fields! That’s it! Then once it was ready to go live, I just hit “Publish” and it automatically appeared live on the site. 

ActiveCampaign has just introduced the same ability to appear live on your site, but limited to Shopify only. And if you wanted to achieve the same look with ActiveCampaign, you would need to rely on a third party optin app and integrate this with ActiveCampaign – hoping that this app builder can also pass tags not just add contacts to a list. 

Klaivyo is definitely the leader in this product category…for now. 

With ActiveCampaign, we find segmentation rules to be much more robust and agile. You can segment your leads and customers using both custom fields and tags. 

While both Klaviyo and ActiveCampaign do not recommend to use Lists as a way of segmenting subscribers, ActiveCampaign does have List option as well. 

We think ActiveCampaign is a winner when it comes to ease of segmentation. 

As a business owner, to me, this is the most important feature that many automation platforms miss – in my opinion, ActiveCampaign dominates in this space. 

 

Reporting – which platform does it better?

 

Both platforms have very good reporting capabilities. 

They both offer benchmark analytics so that you can compare your campaign performance against other ecommerce stores. 

You can easily see how each email performs in terms of open rates, click through rates or revenue. And you can also generate reports to have a group view of the information, as it happens, on demand. 

Refer screenshot below examples of reports from both Klaviyo and ActiveCampaign. 

Both platforms are winners here! 

Klaviyo vs ActiveCampaign dashboard
Reporting Dashboard for ActiveCampaign vs Klaviyo

In summary, is ActiveCampaign better than Klaviyo for eCommerce?

 

If you’re an ecommerce store owner who wants to have simple and basic nurture flows and emails, without thinking too much about what type of flows you need, then I would recommend Klaviyo as your best option. 

Personally, I find when comparing Klaviyo with ActiveCampaign, it’s almost like comparing apples with oranges. If there was such a thing as platform classification, I would classify Klaviyo as more of an Advanced Email Marketing Platform.  The reason being is that it’s missing a few product features that are commonly found in many other marketing automation platforms – such as CRM and the ability to create Custom Objects. 

Klaviyo is advanced enough to meet most of the ecommerce store needs, and it’s fairly easy to use, so naturally it’s the preferred option by many store owners. 

On the other hand, if you also sell your products to Wholesale customers, you will realise that you need a CRM option and most clients who use Klaviyo also use other CRMs such as Hubspot, Pipedrive, Freshsales, to name a few.

With ActiveCampaign, you can rely on one platform to help you manage both wholesale and retail customers, all while enjoying the most flexible marketing automation platform that will grow nicely as your business grows. 

I hope you found this review helpful! Please leave us a comment if you have any questions. 

Jovana Vujnic

Jovana Vujnic

Head Honcho | Marketing Automation Expert | Evil Twin Sister

 

Jovana is the Founder of Bumper Leads - a marketing automation agency that helps businesses simplify and automate their sales and marketing systems to help them save time and money.

She is a former body builder turned fast food junkie.

When she is not watching Cobra Kai on Netflix, she shares interesting marketing advice on our podcast called Marketing Automation Made Simple. This is where she helps overwhelmed business owners build smart marketing growth systems so they feel excited and in control of growing their businesses.

You can always follow her on social media to see what she's up to.

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