HubSpot is sort of like the Oreo of CRMs—it's the brand you have to compare every competing product back to. (At the risk of sounding pretentious, I just slightly prefer the Whole Foods 365 brand, which actually tastes like chocolate and vanilla.) It's also like Oreo in that there are seemingly infinite iterations of it.
If you're looking at ActiveCampaign as a CRM possibility, inevitably, you're also considering how it compares to HubSpot. So I spent time in both apps and pitted these high-end options against each other to see how they, like a delicious sandwich cookie, stack up.
ActiveCampaign vs. HubSpot at a glance
If you want to cut to the chase, here are my observations in a nutshell:
ActiveCampaign and HubSpot are both top-of-the-line CRM products that are likely to meet just about any need, but feature-by-feature, many of HubSpot's felt just a tiny bit more user-friendly and tie together more fluidly.
Though ActiveCampaign has a really solid dashboard that's simple to use and change, HubSpot's is more customizable and more easily integrates custom report widgets.
ActiveCampaign and HubSpot have similar onboarding and support features, but ActiveCampaign builds them into all their packages while HubSpot offers them as paid services.
Note that for this comparison, I tried out HubSpot's Sales Hub (Professional tier) and ActiveCampaign's Marketing + CRM (Professional tier).
⭐⭐⭐⭐ Just about everything ActiveCampaign does, it does well. It just doesn't have the range of features HubSpot is famous for.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ There's probably no CRM with as many high-quality features as HubSpot. These may be capped by your tier, but those you can access are very well designed.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reports are easy to create and integrate with your existing data. Their Marketing Revenue data is an interesting addition.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reports are very well integrated with all HubSpot's features, and their custom builder is extremely robust.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Pipelines are really easy to update and adjust. Plus, you get unlimited pipelines at all tiers.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ HubSpot's pipelines are a little more rigid, and the number you can save is capped based on your tier.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ It's really easy to design automation sequences or use existing recipes, but ActiveCampaign's app integrations aren't as robust.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ Though HubSpot has more app integrations with their automation builder, it's a little less intuitive (but still highly functional). Some hubs also offer HTML and webhook triggers.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ ActiveCampaign's CMS is very functional and intuitive, but the content you can build is limited to forms and pages.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ HubSpot's CMS is very well designed and very functional for building everything from forms to pages to ads to social media posts.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ActiveCampaign's email builder is very user-friendly and integrates well with contacts, automation triggers, etc. They also have free design services.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ HubSpot also has strong email marketing utility, but you'll have to pay extra for design services.
Support and onboarding
⭐⭐⭐⭐ Their onboarding tools and educational resources aren't as strong as HubSpot's, but they offer free data migration services.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ Data migration services are an extra add-on, but HubSpot's ease of use combined with its guides, resources, and demos make it simple to onboard.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ ActiveCampaign prices by number of contacts. For the Marketing + CRM suite at 2,500 contacts, Lite is $61/month, Plus is $125/month, and Professional is $187/month. Enterprise is available by custom quote.
⭐⭐⭐ HubSpot's pricing model is versatile, with plenty of options for whatever your specific needs are, and it scales by user. For example, Sales Hub Starter is $50/month for two users, Professional is $500/month for five users, and Enterprise is $1,200/month for 10 users. It can be a little complicated, though, since there are so many options.
What's not different between ActiveCampaign and HubSpot
If you're looking for key differentiators between these two upmarket CRM platforms, it's worth noting that they've got a few things in common:
Both have clean, simple interfaces that are easy to use and onboard.
Both offer strong automation capabilities and a ton of templates.
Both have a wide range of sales and marketing capabilities, including a built-in CMS.
Both have great dashboards, but HubSpot's is more customizable than ActiveCampaign's
If you're looking for a complete CRM solution that's easy to learn and start using out of the box, you can't go wrong with either option.
ActiveCampaign's dashboard is cleanly presented and really intuitive. The first time you log in, you'll see a list of prompts to get you started on common business processes like data collection automation, pipeline building, and lead conversion. They opt for a sidebar rather than a top nav, but the layout is essentially the same as HubSpot's. The dashboard itself is easy to customize by dragging, dropping, adding, and deleting widgets to suit your needs.
HubSpot's dashboard is just as easy to use. If it's your first time, as with ActiveCampaign, you'll be prompted to dive into account foundations like adding contacts, team invitations, data importing, and inbox synching. On first look, their dashboard is a little more cumbersome with its huge blocks, but it's actually more customizable than ActiveCampaign's.
Not only can you drag and drop reports, but you can also instantly create custom reports to add, adjust the size of reports, or start with a dashboard template. Being able to add reports you've already created, create new ones on the fly, use additional report templates to build out your dashboard, and save separate reporting dashboards gives HubSpot an edge here.
Both tools do everything they do well, but HubSpot does more
Whether you plan to use your CRM for sales, marketing, managing workflows, or all the above, both platforms will give you just about all the tools you need. Each feature below might be a little better on one tool or the other, so depending on your priorities, one of these might be the deciding factor.
ActiveCampaign and HubSpot both have excellent reporting capabilities, so you'll probably get what you need from either when it comes to compiling basic reports. ActiveCampaign lets you build reports on everything from automation performance and contact tags to chat conversations, email opens, sales funnels, deal conversions, and much more.
ActiveCampaign's Marketing Revenue report is an interesting feature. This report calculates the revenue associated with your marketing campaigns and automated emails connected to your eCommerce profiles, giving you a quick snapshot of the value of your marketing efforts.
Reporting is one of HubSpot's strengths. The custom report builder is a really compelling feature for those who place a high value on analytics, allowing you to make new reports from any single object (contacts, companies, deals, etc.), view customer journeys, review conversion and revenue attributions, monitor funnels, and create custom reports for just about anything with a drag-and-drop builder.
Calling their report builder highly customizable is an understatement. The number of properties you can account for is pretty astounding. Whichever metrics you want to see, you can present them as tables, scatterplots, bar graphs, pie charts, or just about any format you can imagine, all in real time.
Once you create a report, you can send it straight to any of your saved dashboards for your viewing convenience. HubSpot reporting overall feels really well integrated, with just about every tracking element of the CRM being easily added into a new report or exported right from its hub.
For reporting ease and functionality, HubSpot takes the cake (or in this case, the cookie).
If you're looking to use your CRM to track salesflows, both options have their strengths. ActiveCampaign's pipeline interface is really intuitive and offers unlimited pipelines. The default stages are "To Contact," "Follow Up," and "In Contact," but you can easily add your own stages, drag and drop the order, customize colors, and update with existing contacts and deals. I like that you can also edit the contacts and deals on the fly within the stages, making it easier to make small tweaks.
You can also make further tweaks like adding deal roles like "Decision Maker" or "Contributor" to assign team members, customize task types beyond the usual call and email to suit your unique tasks, and add calendars. You can even view reports based on these pipelines based on tasks, sales performance, funnels, deals, and deals by owner.
HubSpot's workflow design is pretty similar, but it's a little more rigid (you have to go to a separate page to alter the pipeline phases). I personally prefer ActiveCampaign's simple drag-and-drop layout, but it's not a huge deal.
Like HubSpot's other features, there's a ton of customization potential within each deal and contact to do things like set tasks, assign profiles, associate ticket requests, track payments, and attribute revenue. HubSpot also gives you the option to add automation via individual workflows for each phase, which is a handy feature.
Another perk of HubSpot is that it gives you the option to import data from multiple file types or sync with another app to import data to your pipeline. ActiveCampaign only allows you to import deals directly to your pipeline via CSV files.
None of the drawbacks to ActiveCampaign's pipeline are deal-breakers, so the win goes to ActiveCampaign here. Plus, HubSpot gives you just one pipeline if you go with a non-CRM plan, then just two for the Starter CRM Suite and 20 for the Professional CRM Suite.
ActiveCampaign automation is pretty easy to learn. If you're new to setting up automation, you'll appreciate the introductory demo and the menu of automation "recipes" for popular workflows like engagement tagging, abandoned cart reminders, post-purchase upselling, and more. These workflows assign straight to your preset pipelines, deals, contacts, and other stored data.
Their automation builder is pretty straightforward from there. You can drag and drop triggers or click available spaces to see a list of options. You can also search for actions if you're not sure which category they're housed under.
HubSpot also does a great job of walking you through the automation-building process and offers plenty of common workflow ideas and templates to get you started. Aesthetically, it looks a little more polished and consistent with their brand, but that's not exactly a deal-breaking benefit.
It's also built a little more rigidly than ActiveCampaign's, as there's no drag-and-drop functionality. Otherwise it works pretty much the same with many of the same actions and triggers. If you opt for the Operations hub, you can even add HTML and webhook triggers for further customization. Functionally, I personally found ActiveCampaign's workflow a little easier to use, but you get a pretty similar result either way.
HubSpot's workflows also benefit from more app integrations. ActiveCampaign has some built in, but HubSpot has a handful more like Zoom and Trello. But both apps connect to Zapier, which means you can connect them to thousands of other apps. Here are some ideas on how to get started:
Zapier is the leader in no-code automation—integrating with 5,000+ apps from partners like Google, Salesforce, and Microsoft. Build secure, automated systems for your business-critical workflows across your organization's technology stack. Learn more.
If you're using a separate CMS already, this one's probably not very important to you. But as all-in-one CRM solutions, it's worth noting that both ActiveCampaign and HubSpot have CMS functionality.
To help you get leads, ActiveCampaign lets you build inline forms, floating bars, floating boxes, and webpages with a handy editor. On the analytics side, you also get site tracking and form performance reporting. Overall, the webpage and form-building mechanisms are pretty robust and intuitive.
I'm pretty impressed with HubSpot's CMS offering, which feels more complete. Not only can you build forms and landing pages, but you can also build out a blog, manage social media accounts, run ad campaigns, and pull SEO recommendations.
If you don't have your own CMS, it's possible HubSpot could handle a lot of your basic content needs. It's not quite as functional as high-end CMS solutions, but it's got a pretty significant edge on ActiveCampaign's.
Even as a pure CRM, ActiveCampaign seems to focus on its email and contact management capabilities. Its dedication to email marketing is even reflected in its pricing model—bundles are separated into a CRM offering and a transactional email one, and their price structure is based on number of contacts, even for the Marketing + CRM bundle. They even acquired Postmark in 2022 to bolster their email prowess.
You can easily create new email campaigns using a dedicated button at the top of their dashboard, taking you right to options like one-off, autoresponder, and even A/B test emails.
Once you've picked your campaign, you can segment lists from your contacts. At the design phase, you can drag and drop elements to design your email, pick from a slew of templates, type up a text-only message, or even customize with HTML if you're into that. I found the email builder to be really functional and easy to learn and use.
HubSpot's email offering is also really strong, giving you the options to build regular, automated, or blog/RSS emails. Their template library is just as good as ActitveCampaign's, and their email builder is just as functional.
Overall, email marketing is just another of the many non-specialized tasks HubSpot does well. For ActiveCampaign, it feels like one of their most prominent features.
If you plan to do a lot of email marketing with your CRM, either of these platforms should give you everything you need. The winner here is essentially a toss-up, but I'll give it to ActiveCampaign because of their design service (more on that later) and because email seems intrinsic to their offering.
ActiveCampaign has more support and onboarding perks than HubSpot
When you pay up for a top-shelf service, it's nice to get some perks. These may not move the needle for every user, but ActiveCampaign's value-adds are pretty intriguing and can be useful in many cases.
If you want to customize your emails but don't have the design chops, ActiveCampaign offers a free design service (except for the Lite plan) to change out basic branding elements on a given template. At the Enterprise level, you'll even get premium design service thrown in. They also boast access to in-person Study Hall workshops, though you'll have to be based near an associated city to participate, and there don't seem to be any classes scheduled as of this writing.
However, one of their more attractive perks is their data migration offering, which is free at all pricing levels. If you're switching over from another CRM or bringing heaps of your own data into it, ActiveCampaign will handle it. They'll help you import contacts, preserve custom fields, remake your forms and landing pages, recreate email templates, and even translate your current workflows to their platform.
I should say that HubSpot has a ton of dynamic educational resources and has very good support in their own right. Email and chat support are available at all levels, and advanced phone support comes at the Professional level and above. They also have a complete data migration service, but it runs another $1,800, and their email template building is available for $500.
If the availability of professional support and onboarding services are important to you but costs are not, then either option should be able to help you get your account up and running just the way you want it. ActiveCampaign just integrates it into their offering more effectively.
ActiveCampaign vs. HubSpot: Which is best for you?
There's a pretty fine line separating these two CRMs, so deciding on the right one may just come down to testing them to see which interface you like better. My recommendation is to start a trial of each and have a look around. Test key features like contact management, workflow automation, pipeline creation, and email templates. It's also worth exploring both of their app marketplaces to make sure they integrate with the apps you depend on (don't worry, you can use Zapier to enhance automation with both).
Like choosing between dunking, stacking, or eating the cream and cookie separately, you can't really go wrong here.
ActiveCampaign vs. HubSpot: FAQ
Does HubSpot integrate with ActiveCampaign?
Yes, depending on the service you're using. HubSpot actually has ActiveCampaign integration via its app marketplace, though a HubSpot app isn't listed in ActiveCampaign's. You can also connect them using Zapier.
What is the difference between ActiveCampaign and HubSpot?
ActiveCampaign and HubSpot are both premium platforms for managing business processes, and both are known primarily for their CRM (customer relationship management) products. HubSpot has more features due to its wide product suite, but ActiveCampaign's CRM has many of the same features at competing quality.
Can you use ActiveCampaign as a CRM?
Yep! ActiveCampaign offers a Marketing + CRM plan with three tiers for email, marketing, and sales automation features. It also has a separate transaction email package through Postmark.