A new customizable overview

When you login to your ActiveCampaign account you will notice a brand new overview page.  We redesigned the overview to show more information that can be personalized to fit your specific needs.

You can drag/drop widgets around on the screen, remove widgets that you don’t need to keep a close eye on, or add new widgets from the doc that sits at the bottom of the page.  Have a specific widget you would like to see on the overview?  Let us know!

Trigger automations from web page visits, logged events, and deal actions

We just added four new ways that you can trigger an automation:

  • When a URL is visited
  • When an event is recorded
  • When a deal stage changes
  • When a deal status changes

This brings us to 15 different ways you can start an automation along with the ability to choose to start an automation within any other automation.

The ability to start an automation with a page visit (or an event being recorded) adds quite a bit of power to our site & event tracking capabilities.  You can now trigger automations along with having conditional branching and options within your automation sequences based on the data that site & event tracking provides.

The ability to trigger automations based on stage or status changes allow you to automate your sales process as a deal progresses along within your sales cycle.

Bulk edit your contacts

When you visit your contacts page you will see a new “edit” option near the top of the page.  You can filter down to a list of contacts (using search, segments, etc.. ) and bulk edit the whole result set or you can check specific contacts that you wish to edit.

Here are some of the things you can do with the new bulk edit feature:

  • Add contacts to an automation
  • Remove contacts from an automation
  • Add tags to contacts
  • Remove tags from contacts
  • Update custom fields
  • Add notes to contacts
  • Add contacts to a list
  • Remove contacts from a list

Introducing Deals… CRM & Sales Automation

As we have built out our automation capabilities over the past year, we quickly realized we need a seamless integration with your sales process.

We currently integrate with many CRM providers (and will continue to do so) but the basic concept of contacts being synced back and forth were not meeting our users’ needs.  So we decided to create our own CRM that is built directly into ActiveCampaign and have plans to do seamless syncs of sales data with our CRM partners in the future (more on this later)

We took a very simple approach to our CRM work flow.  We wanted something that we would love to use internally and that would cater towards small and medium sized businesses.

Everything is customizable.  You can create custom deal pipelines, stages, task types, etc..   As a lead comes into ActiveCampaign it can be placed into a pipeline.  You would then move it to different stages as your sales process advances.  All the while our automations will be there to help you move, update, and prioritize your deals.

Send individual emails from within ActiveCampaign or connect ANY email account (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc..).  Once connected you will see all related sent and received emails  automatically within your Deal stream.  No BCC that points to some special inbox required!

Automation Updates

As we added all of the new CRM and sales features, we made sure to fully integrate that within our automation capabilities.  You can now have automations run based on deals, create deals, adjust deals, etc…  We also improved our automations to allow multiple entry points.

Previously you could only start an automation from four different options (and could only pick one).  Now you have a dozen start options and can choose multiple options for when each automation will begin.

Contact & Lead Scoring

People have been begging us to add some form of contact scoring within ActiveCampaign.  We always agreed it would be nice, but we didn’t want to release some mediocre scoring system that just increments based on clicks and opens.  The actual value in that is pretty low.

So rather than doing that we developed a scoring system that allows dynamic increase and decreases of a score based on any marketing channel that you integrate with.  So the score can fluctuate based on campaign interactions, individual email interactions, traffic/history on your website, custom events, sales data, and much more.

Contact & Lead Scoring is free with all enterprise plans and is a paid upgrade for any small business plan.

How to get the new Sales & CRM features

All new accounts are getting this update already.  We are in the process of updating all existing users and you should receive the update in the upcoming weeks.  Contact us if you don’t want to wait!  We can update your account right away on demand.

What’s next

This is just the start of what we have planned.  Expect more CRM updates in the near future. The syncing of data with other CRM’s is something we are working on as well.  That will allow you to use another CRM for your sales activity while using ActiveCampaign as the marketing/automation engine.

Lastly, we have been busy working on a brand new email designer.  We have rethought and reworked the entire email designer from the ground up.  Our hope is to have some sneak peeks soon.

Revamped Reporting

We just rolled out a large number of updates to reporting within ActiveCampaign.  It’s no secret that our reporting was starting to look a bit… aged.  The data was useful but the whole section reminded us of ActiveCampaign 4 years ago in terms of style and flow.   We set out to correct that and add some reporting for more recent features (such as automated series, SMS, etc..)

Let’s take a look at how the new reporting looks:

Here is a summary of what we added:

  • A pretty large UI update to make things cleaner and easier to navigate
  • A new way of viewing all of your campaigns in a list.
  • New GEO reporting including real-time GEO map, a time-lapse, and a heat map.  Available at the world or country level.
  • We have introduced contact cards that will show up when you hover over a contact (this will be rolled out throughout the platform in time)
  • You can now use a single folder to store regular campaigns and automated series together
  • New automated series reporting
  • SMS reporting showing engagement, replies, etc…
  • Ability to view the email clients your contacts use at a campaign level or global/list level
  • An updated side nav that will help you explore the various reports

You will notice that we removed the old “User Report” and “List Report”  We have new reporting in the works that will make these pages redundant.  If you still need to view this data you can look at the old report pages by going to “main.php?action=report_user” and “main.php?action=report_list”

What’s next?

We will be adding some minor options (such as sorting of data) to all of the reports.  There are some new reports we are working on adding such as the ability to compare campaigns, greater contact insights/explorations, and reports for other types of data (CRM/Deals, Site & Event Tracking, etc..)

Did you have a specific type of report (or reporting option) that you would like to see added?  Let us know in the comments.

Don’t use a Yahoo email address as your “From”

Yahoo recently updated their DNS to have a DMARC record that let’s ISP’s know to reject any mail with a Yahoo email address as the “from address” if it is not coming from Yahoos mail servers.

That means that you can’t use your Yahoo email address as the from email with our service (or any service that isn’t Yahoo)  If you do, ISP’s that respect DMARC records (Gmail, Hotmail, etc..) will bounce your email.

We have updated the campaign creation process to alert users should they try to use a Yahoo email address.  We would also suggest to avoid using free email addresses as your “from” email in general.

If Yahoo changes this in the future we will update things immediately to allow you to use a Yahoo email address as a “from” email again.

Learn more about DMARC and the Yahoo changes

Why We Turn Away Millions In Revenue

We send a lot of email on behalf of our users. Billions. Despite a large volume of email being sent we work every day to ensure our compliance standards are being met and the recipients actually expect and want the email. By having such high standards (more than some other ESP’s) we close many paid accounts on a daily basis. We don’t enjoy closing accounts, but when our end user is unable or unwilling to modify their marketing practices we have no other choice. By doing so we maintain a high level of deliverability and promote/allow responsible marketing.

Let’s look at some figures

We ran a report to find the revenue we have turned away within the last year. These are users who have signed up, converted, and wanted to use our platform.
And that is recurring revenue…   The true revenue we are turning away over time is many times more.  Mind you these are not fraud orders and they are often not even people with horrible intent. They are companies within markets we don’t support or people who wish to market in a way that we don’t believe in.
If we dive into the data deeper we start to find some interesting things. The average person that we have to turn away is not your stereotypical spammer. Instead they are simply misinformed or operating in a high risk market for sending email.

Why we do it

There are the obvious deliverability concerns that come with questionable senders. By only allowing the best practices and best senders we are going to get better deliverability overall. But that pales in comparison with our own views, our hatred of spam, and wanting to ensure we only contribute to a positive email ecosystem.

What’s the solution?

Email remains a powerful and high ROI marketing option for businesses.  Sadly it is often abused.  We want to make sure we are on the right side of things and help to make email lower in volume while being more relevant and useful.
We will continue to educate those who are not aware of the best practices.  By educating people about quality being greater than quantity we have helped them improve their overall marketing effectiveness.

Subscribe by SMS now available & free

You can now offer people the option to subscribe to your list(s) via SMS message.

Here is how it works:

  1. You promote a phone number and a keyword.
  2. Users send a text message containing your custom keyword to the phone number we provide you.
  3. They receive a text back asking for their email address.
  4. The contact replies to that message and is added to your list.

To get started simply login to your account, click on Lists, and then find “Subscribe by text message” in the “Integrations” menu for the list you wish to use.   This is a free feature for all paid plans.

Hundreds of new integrations are now available

We have teamed up with Zapier (who has been connecting over 250 web apps) to provide a seamless in-app experience for all ActiveCampaign users. This means that you (and your users) get the full power of Zapier without needing to pay for a Zapier account or have a separate login area on their website to manage your integrations.

Everything is done within your ActiveCampaign account. Simply pick what you wish to integrate, authenticate with that external service, and you are set to go! All of the integrations continuously run to automate your syncing of data.

Here is just a sampling of the services we now integrate with:
  • DynamoDB
  • Appointlet
  • Base CRM
  • Chargeover
  • Chargify
  • Clertim CRM
  • Close.io
  • Desk
  • Eventbrite
  • Evernote
  • Fluidsurveys
  • Formdesk
  • Formstack
  • Formitize
  • Freeagent
  • GotoMeeting
  • GotoTraining
  • GotoWebinar
  • Google Glass
  • Gravity Forms
  • Gumroad
  • Inboundnow
  • Instantcustomer
  • Jotform
  • Jumplead
  • Keepintouch
  • MSSQL
  • MySQL
  • Mojo Help Desk
  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • Nutshell CRM
  • Onepage CRM
  • Pipeliner
  • Podio
  • PostgreSQL
  • Quickbase
  • Quickbooks
  • Recurly
  • Samange
  • Solve360
  • Stripe
  • SurveyMonkey
  • Tendersupport
  • Uservoice
  • Vision Helpdesk
  • Woocommerce
  • Xero
  • Many more…

How many integrations are allowed?

Free & trial accounts are allowed up to 3 integrations. Small business accounts are allowed up to 15. Enterprise accounts allow unlimited integrations. We are not charging extra for any of our plans to utilize this new feature.

Out with the old and in with the new

With this change we will be removing the current MySQL, MSSQL, and PostgreSQL sync feature. It wasn’t an automatic import so by replacing it with our set of integrations (which will include those databases) you get even more power out of connecting with those databases.

Gmail is caching images… We’re happy about it.

You may have already heard that Gmail is starting to cache images.  Everyone seems to have their own opinion.  Some are writing sensationalized headlines claiming it is the end of email marketing as we know it.  Others say its much to do about nothing.    So what does it really mean and how will it affect you?

We can still track opens/reads

The caching of images is taking place when the contact opens your email.  Not when Gmail receives it.  Gmail has to fetch the image at that time so we are able to track the open/read.

We can’t track the contact’s GEO location with opens

Since Gmail is downloading the image we can’t determine the contacts location from the open alone.  We can however determine it once they interact (click a link), subscribe through forms, visit your site, etc..

It’s harder to track multiple opens/reads from the same contact (but it may not matter)

Since Gmail is caching the image they only need to fetch it once.  While there is some confusion over the cache life and methods to try to get around caching, we would not track two opens if a contact opens the email multiple times within a couple minutes.  Over time the cache would clear (5 minutes, hours, days?) and we would record that they opened that email again.  
UPDATE: We are once again able to track multiple opens/reads without any issues now.

It doesn’t affect everything (so far)

Email clients that use IMAP (such as the Apple mail app) are not affected by this.  We have only seen this with the Gmail web interface so far.

This may be a good thing…

Gmail is making it pretty clear that they care about a contacts privacy.  By caching, nobody can grab referring information (IP, user agent, etc..) and you can open emails with images without being exposed.  At the same time Gmail is making it fairly clear that they are OK with open receipts.  So much so that displaying images will be the new default option within Gmail (without having to click to display images)
That means we will have a much more reliable unique open rate as going forward the default setting will be to always show images without requiring your contacts to click to display images.