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  5. Keap vs ActiveCampaign: One of the Two Struggles in 2024

Keap vs ActiveCampaign: One of the Two Struggles in 2024

Alexandros Melidoniotis Alexandros MelidoniotisEmail Marketing Expert
The ActiveCampaign vs Keap debate isn’t news. We’re talking about two powerful platforms that combine email marketing, customer relationship management (CRM), and e-commerce in one neat package. As they fulfill a similar purpose, it’s no surprise they’ve been competing against each other for more than two decades.

I tested both platforms to see which one has better withstood the test of time.

ActiveCampaign’s various email marketing tools work together like a charm. I was particularly impressed with its massive library of pre-built automation templates and extensive reporting capabilities. But while ActiveCampaign does email marketing justice, Keap struggles to keep up as it gives precedence to CRM and e-commerce features.

Infusionsoft’s rebranding to Keap didn’t just come with a new name. It introduced a modern, user-friendly interface and other quality-of-life improvements to several of its tools. However, Keap’s plans remain out of reach for the average email marketer – they’re too expensive and lack certain crucial features.


ActiveCampaign’s Robust Set of Email Features Stands Out

ActiveCampaign has more (and more advanced) features than most email marketing services (EMS). It also has a broad selection of 250+ modern templates that look great – yet minimalistic and discreet – which is precisely what I want to see. In-your-face emails with bright colors and big, bold fonts don’t tend to perform too well nowadays.

ActiveCampaign templates
ActiveCampaign’s templates look great and get the job done without trying too hard
Keap’s templates are as good-looking, but they’re few (78, to be exact). I’m not sure why that’s the case – perhaps Infusionsoft removed the older templates when it rebranded as Keap in 2019.

Email automation is key to successful and highly efficient campaigns. The more you can automate, the more time you’ll save performing tedious tasks manually.

ActiveCampaign’s automation suite is one of the best I’ve tested. I’m particularly impressed with the hundreds of pre-built automation templates available to users. Trust me, they make your life much easier, especially if you have little experience setting up branching workflows, triggers, actions, and the like.

Keap claims to offer the most powerful automation suite in the industry. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it’s not the easiest or most intuitive automation tool around. There are only a couple of automation templates to choose from, and some advanced features are locked behind the expensive Max Classic plan.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of a platform and have designed a few emails, you’ll likely want to run some tests to determine which variations perform better with your contacts. ActiveCampaign lets you test subject lines, sender name, and email content.

Unfortunately, Keap’s A/B testing tool is only available via the legacy Infusionsoft builder*, which you can access through Broadcasts before selecting a template. To test emails against each other, you need to learn how to use the old Infusionsoft email editor. As the two editors don’t share the same interface and templates, users are in for a major headache.

*New Keap users can access the old email editor but not any of Infusionsoft’s advanced features – those are locked behind the Max Classic plan. You can learn more about how this works in my Keap review.

Keap A/B tool via Infusionsoft
Users shouldn’t have to switch to an older version of the software to access crucial features like A/B testing
I need to give credit where it’s due: Keap’s list of CRM features is more extensive than ActiveCampaign’s. For example, you can add whole companies and groups as contacts, quickly specify whether a connection is a client or a lead, and manage appointments directly through the platform.

However, judging it strictly as an EMS, Keap doesn’t perform quite as well as its top competitors. ActiveCampaign wins this round hands down.

Ease of Use

Keap’s Tools Come With Many Quality-of-Life Improvements

ActiveCampaign might be leading the pack, but its expansive menus can potentially overwhelm beginners. Keap, on the other hand, boasts a beginner-friendly interface with well-designed tools that are, however, not always where you’d expect to find them. Who thought it’d be a good idea to bury tags and custom fields in the settings menu?

Importing your contacts is pretty straightforward on both platforms. However, ActiveCampaign has a slight edge as it integrates with more third-party software and applications.

Both platforms feature easy-to-use, drag-and-drop editors that help users create unique designs. Although I’ve gotten used to ActiveCampaign’s email builder, Keap’s interface feels more intuitive. I love how you can search and insert images to your content with a click of a button, and there’s even a handy built-in editing tool for quick customization.

Keap email editor
Inserting and editing images without leaving the platform will save you valuable time
ActiveCampaign’s preview tool gets the job done. On the other hand, previewing emails on Keap is a pleasure – you can switch between desktop, mobile, and tablet view with a single click. I like that Keap’s preview tool comes with a collection of preview modes (e.g., MacBook, iPad, iPhone, Android), and there’s even an option to manually adjust the screen’s width.

I appreciate active and updated help centers that answer my questions. ActiveCampaign’s knowledge base is more extensive than Keap’s, containing some 900 articles – compared to Keap’s 500. But it’s not just about the numbers. ActiveCampaign’s search function works better, and its help articles examine topics more thoroughly.

This one was extremely close. ActiveCampaign is an excellent EMS, but it’s packed with tools and features that can confuse first-time users. Keap’s new interface has been designed with ease of use in mind – but it’s not quite there yet. A few tweaks to the main menu would do wonders for usability.


ActiveCampaign Offers Slightly Better Deliverability Rates

There’s nothing worse than spending a whole afternoon designing the perfect email only to realize that your message hasn’t reached your contacts. A high deliverability rate is crucial to success, but percentages can be misleading.

Let’s say I use Keap to send 500 emails, out of which 490 reach their destination – a deliverability rate of 98%. Does that mean Keap enjoys excellent deliverability rates, or could it be because my email contained a single image and a few lines of text? There’s no reliable way to test all the variables involved in the sending process.

Instead of coming up with arbitrary numbers, we examine features we know improve deliverability. Check out this updated deliverability guide to learn more about our philosophy.

First, I checked to see if there was DKIM authentication. Simply put, DKIM provides email providers with a way to verify the sender’s identity. Both ActiveCampaign and Keap have DKIM, and there are helpful guides to help you set it up.

ActiveCampaign advanced settings page
You can set up DKIM on ActiveCampaign in just a few minutes
Next, I took a good look at each platform’s anti-spam policy. Users send emails using shared IPs. If a platform tolerates spam, it will attract bad eggs – and your deliverability rate will likely take a hit. Luckily, Keap’s and ActiveCampaign’s policies are well-defined and keep spammers away. Our research has shown that ActiveCampaign is slightly stricter with its rules.

Affiliate marketing is crucial to the digital economy, but it’s often associated with spammy practices – which is why many email marketing platforms impose restrictions. ActiveCampaign and Keap allow affiliate links as long as they’re used sensibly and sparingly.

A private (or dedicated) IP gives you complete control over your sender reputation. As a result, shady schemes and spam incidents on the platform won’t affect your deliverability. ActiveCampaign offers a dedicated IP to users with over 100,000 contacts for $750 (one-off payment). Keap also requires 100,000 active subscribers but charges a monthly fee of $500.

Keap and ActiveCampaign offer similar deliverability features, but ActiveCampaign’s policies regarding spam and affiliate marketing are a tad stricter. If you run the same campaign on both platforms, chances are ActiveCampaign will enjoy a slightly higher deliverability rate.

Reporting and Analytics

ActiveCampaign Doesn’t Lock Advanced Email Insights Behind Expensive Plans

Robust reporting in email marketing services is essential for optimizing campaigns and increasing engagement, which are both key to maximizing ROI and driving conversions.

ActiveCampaign’s analytics suite is quite impressive. You can go in-depth with your email campaign stats (e.g., forwards, geolocation information, and email service provider details), monitor the performance of your automation workflows, and stay up to date with contact trends.

The charts help you stay on top of everything almost in real time. There’s even an option to set self-defined goals via the admin interface, allowing you to track the stats that matter to your strategy.

ActiveCampaign reporting
ActiveCampaign can generate all kinds of detailed reports
Keap, unfortunately, doesn’t do nearly as much. There’s some basic information about opens, clicks, and that’s pretty much it. You can’t learn more about your contact’s behavior, browsing habits, preferred devices, and the like. There’s also no way to distinguish between soft and hard bounces, so you won’t know why your emails aren’t being delivered.

Keap offers plenty of e-commerce insights in the form of sales reports, but those won’t benefit your email marketing strategy. Reportedly, Keap’s Max Classic plan comes with lead source tracking and more advanced email stats, but its high cost places it out of reach for the average marketer.

ActiveCampaign wins this round relatively easily as its email reporting capabilities are superior to Keap’s.


ActiveCampaign’s Pricing Is Much More Competitive Than Keap’s

ActiveCampaign offers three different tiers of service (plus an enterprise plan), which are appropriately priced for the features that come with them. Keap offers two grossly overpriced options with limited email functionality, plus a more advanced enterprise option based on a previous software iteration (Infusionsoft).

Here’s What You Get for Free

Neither platform offers a free plan, but their limited 14-day trials are almost identical. During the testing period, ActiveCampaign and Keap will only let you send a maximum of 100 emails, which isn’t enough to make an informed decision based on performance. If you’re looking for a viable, free solution to email marketing, I recommend you check out Sendinblue’s excellent free plan.

Here’s What You Get if You Pay

ActiveCampaign’s Lite plan starts at $29.00/month and comes with everything you need to get started with email marketing. It allows users to send an unlimited number of emails to 1,000 contacts and unlocks all of the platform’s email templates and marketing automation tools.

Keap, on the other hand, doesn’t offer a budget option. Its cheapest plan (Pro) is a couple of dollars more expensive than ActiveCampaign’s most expensive plan (Professional).

And just because these two plans are similarly priced, it doesn’t necessarily mean they offer the same value. In fact, Keap’s Pro plan features are comparable to those offered by ActiveCampaign on the Plus plan, which starts at $$49.00/month for 1,000 contacts. In other words, Keap is quite a bit more expensive than ActiveCampaign.

Oh, but there’s more. Keap charges an onboarding fee of $499, but thankfully, it’s not mandatory. It’s worth noting that “expert coaching” fees are not the industry standard. ActiveCampaign, for example, doesn’t charge any onboarding fees, offering free support to all users – regardless of plan.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the two plans mentioned above:

Keap Pro ActiveCampaign Plus
Starting Price $168.00 $49.00
Number of contacts 1,500 1,000
Number of emails per month Unlimited Unlimited
Number of users 2 3
Email templates 78 250+
Pre-built automation workflows 8 300+
Integrations 230+ 870+
Dynamic content No Yes
A/B testing Only via the legacy builder Yes


ActiveCampaign’s Customer Support Is Superior

Getting used to new software takes time. Knowledge bases and guides help, but it’s always good to know you can reach out and get help from an actual human if needed.

Both Keap and ActiveCampaign offer support via multiple channels, including live chat, email, and phone. I fired up the live chat function on both platforms and asked the same question: I have a small business with roughly 1,000 people on my subscriber list which plan would you recommend?

ActiveCampaign got back to me almost immediately:

ActiveCampaign live chat support
ActiveCampaign’s representative was eager to help, even though this was a trial account
The representative engaged in lively conversation, asking several questions to learn more about my business. They suggested I take advantage of the trial to create profiles, test the platform’s features, and decide based on my research – a sensible approach.

Keap’s live chat isn’t available 24/7, despite what you may have read on the website. I waited more than a day but received no reply.

Keap live chat support
Keap’s live chat is not available 24/7
A quick look at Keap’s review will convince you that this isn’t just a live chat issue – it’s a Keap issue. The support team is slow in general, and you can’t rely on them to be there when you need them.

ActiveCampaign wins this round with its responsive and reliable communication channels.

ActiveCampaign Is the Sensible Choice

The modern and user-friendly UI of Keap makes it a capable option for those investing hundreds of dollars monthly in its premium plan. Regrettably, even its more affordable plans, which are not particularly budget-friendly, still lack essential email marketing features like dynamic content and built-in A/B testing.

ActiveCampaign outshines Keap every step of the way. It comes with more email templates and an industry-leading email automation system that makes all the difference. Other areas in which ActiveCampaign outperforms Keap include deliverability, reporting, and customer support.

Here’s a table with everything we’ve covered so far:

Native SMS Automation
Apps and Integrations
Landing Page Builder
22 templates
40+ templates
A/B Testing
Yes, but only via the legacy builder
Native RTL Language Support
Ease of Use
 Easy to use
Takes some getting used to
Reporting and Analytics
Great analytics suite
Excellent analytics suite ✔                                 
Very expensive
Slow and unreliable
Total Rounds Won


What is Keap best for?

Keap is primarily a CRM and sales platform with added email marketing functionality. Although easy to use, Keap charges quite a bit more than the competition, making it a less-than-ideal choice for most marketers.

What’s the difference between Keap and Infusionsoft?

Infusionsoft and Keap are one and the same. The brand overhaul in 2019 changed the name from Infusionsoft to Keap, modernized the platform, and simplified the UI. That said, remnants of Infusionsoft linger on (e.g., you can only access the A/B testing feature via the legacy version of the software).

Which is better: Keap vs ActiveCampaign?

ActiveCampaign is the better EMS. Not only is it a lot cheaper than Keap, but it also features more templates, better automation, and superior customer support. As a CRM, Keap offers a few more options – but I’m not sure if it’s worth the price.

What’s the best email marketing service?

It all depends on your individual needs. ActiveCampaign is an excellent all-rounder, Sendinblue features one of the best free plans, and AWeber has a high deliverability rate. Check out our list of the best email marketing services for more options.

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