Campaign Monitor Review
- Easy to use
- Good customer service
- Advanced features
- Over-complicated pricing plans
- Limited features
- Limited integrations
Campaign Monitor arose as a solution to a problem encountered by undergraduate web designers Ben Richardson and David Greiner: they couldn’t quite find what they were looking for in the existing email marketing tools. In 2004, they began to build Campaign Monitor, mainly for themselves. Eventually, though, they opened the service up to other frustrated designers and businesses. Today, Campaign Monitor serves over 120,000 paying customers, including such notables as Buzzfeed, Coca-Cola, Disney, Airbnb, and the San Diego Chargers.
Focusing on streamlining every part of the email marketing process is a huge part of what Campaign Monitor is all about, but I would be remiss if I did not comment on how gorgeous the product itself is. It is clear that while usability and convenience were important in the design, the team that created this ESP also wanted it to be beautiful. Tying functionality and design together so well is something many software companies attempt to do, but not all of them succeed. Campaign Monitor does succeed and with an air of easy grace.
Best of all? You can more or less experience the full extent of what Campaign Monitor has to offer after signing up; none of the key features — from autoresponders to reporting — are hidden behind a paywall. The program has its flaws, particularly for very advanced users, but businesses looking for an ESP that can meet the vast majority of their needs (with minimal fuss) would do well to give Campaign Monitor a look.
Table of Contents
Campaign Monitor offers three payment plans: Basic, Unlimited, and Premier. While there is a free unlimited trial (no credit card required) that allows users to test the full suite of features, it stops short of allowing you to actually send an email. If you want to send even a single email, you’ll have to spend money. You can, however, send test emails to up to five addresses per campaign, so you’ll be able to evaluate every stage of the process. This is a bit annoying, but fortunately, Campaign Monitor offers good value for money when compared to their competitors, especially now that this app offers such competitive features as email segmentation and automation.
The Basic plan includes automation and allows users to send a maximum number of emails per month equal to five times the maximum number of subscribers allowable for that tier. The lowest tier, for example, would allow users to send a maximum of 2,500 emails.
- zero – 500 subscribers: $9
- 501 – 2,500: $29
- 2,501 – 5,000: $49
- 5,001 – 10,000: $89
- 10,001 – 15,000: $129
- 15,001 – 25,000: $199
- 25,001 – 50,000: $299
The Unlimited plan removes the monthly email caps, allows for unlimited automation, unlimited design and spam tests, and includes priority support.
- zero – 500 subscribers: $29
- 501 – 2,500: $59
- 2,501 – 5,000: $99
- 5,001 – 10,000: $149
- 10,001 – 15,000: $249
- 15,001 – 25,000: $399
- 25,001 – 50,000: $699
The Premier plan includes everything from the Unlimited plan but also adds in activity tracking and analytic features to justify the higher price tag. Though quite a bit more expensive, these features have the potential to revolutionize your business, so they are probably worth considering.
- zero – 5,000: $149
- 5,001 – 10,000: $249
- 10,001 – 15,000: $399
- 15,001 – 25,000: $499
- 25,001 – 50,000: $989
In all cases, if you have more than 50,000 subscribers, you can request a special quote for high-volume sending needs. There is also a 15% discount for nonprofits, which is a nice touch!
Web-Based (SaaS) Or Locally-Installed
Campaign Monitor is entirely cloud-based and requires no download to run on your computer.
Ease Of Use
The sign-up process for Campaign Monitor is painless, requiring a minimal amount of information from new users: name, business, email, and a password.
The dashboard divides its tabs into discrete areas. Account-related links are offset and dulled-out at the top of the page, while campaign and list creation tools are situated prominently and brightly an inch or so below. You’re given four options at the outset: Overview (a panel with links to tutorials initially, notable campaign information later), Campaigns, Automation, and Lists & Subscribers. Offset from that main grouping are Templates and Clients.
Somewhat hidden in a sidebar in the account settings is the option to switch layouts for the account from “multiple clients” to “single business.” This simplifies the layout a bit by removing some options you probably won’t use if you’re handling the marketing for a single business.
Sending the campaign is straightforward, and Campaign Monitor will actually walk you through the process. If you haven’t created a contact list up until this point, the program will prompt you to do so. You can send test emails to up to five recipients. These do not count against your monthly emails (nor do they count as emails with regard to ending your free trial).
After you’re pleased with your test, you can schedule the email to be delivered immediately or at a set time in the future.
Campaign Monitor also supports A/B testing: sending slightly different versions of the same email campaign to different test users to see which version gets the better response. This feature allows you to split subjects, your sender name, or the email content itself.
Customer Service & Support
At a glance, Campaign Monitor’s customer support options are a bit sparse, lacking real-time support in the form of live chat or even phone service. This is somewhat alleviated by the quick response time of their 24/7 email-based support team and a solid, searchable knowledge database.
- Email Support: This seems to be the company’s preferred avenue of contact. Shortly after signing up for the service, you will likely be contacted by a representative asking if you would like any help and providing a direct email address at which to contact him or her. You can also contact the company at any time using this form. Answers to my questions came quickly, within an hour or two.
- Help Database: Users can access an online knowledgebase by entering their question into a search field, which will return a selection of potentially useful articles or forum posts. You can also browse through the software’s user guide, which is broken down into 10 categories.
- Forums: Campaign Monitor maintains an active user forum; this requires a separate login.
- Guides: The company’s web design roots show through in their prolific offering of guides. Some of these guides deal specifically with how to use Campaign Monitor, while others focus on the general principles of email marketing. Regardless, they are worth perusing if you are considering subscribing to this service.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Negative reviews of Campaign Monitor are difficult to come by. No complaints about the company are logged on BBB, Ripoff Report, or Complaints Board. The program is currently ranked 4.4/5 stars on G2 based on 10 reviews. The iPhone app is ranked 3 stars on the App Store — users rated the program negatively based on some bugs in earlier versions. There have yet to be any reviews of the current version, which was released in April 2015.
Criticisms of Campaign Monitor include:
- Scarcity Of Features: Users almost unanimously praised the quality of the options Campaign Monitor offers, but many felt as though their experience could have been improved by the addition of some niche and advanced features, such as the ability to compare the results of individual lists. Some of these criticisms have been addressed in recent updates, but I did still see the complaint.
- Limited Integrations: A few users complained that their preferred integrations weren’t available.
- Pricing: While no one has complained about the price per se, there was some confusion with the Basic plan’s tracking of both subscribers and emails sent as well as the value of the per campaign plan.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Users have a lot of positive things to say about Campaign Monitor. The site also keeps a list of notable satisfied customers.
Here’s what people like about Campaign Monitor:
- Ease Of Use: Users can get up and running with Campaign Monitor almost immediately, thanks to the simple, intuitive interface and great email templates.
- Customer Service: Despite lacking phone or chat support, Campaign Monitor appears to satisfy customer queries with fast, responsive email technical and sales support.
- Clear, Easily Understood Reporting: Customers praise the presentation of the reporting tools, which they say allows them to easily understand and use the information presented to them.
- Automation: Some users love the ability to easily create sets of autoresponders that send preprogrammed emails to new subscribers at set intervals.
Campaign Monitor has a small but well-developed set of core features.
- WYSIWYG Editor: You get access to scores of drag and drop templates that scale automatically to mobile and desktop views. More technical users can import HMTL designs, but they won’t be able to modify the HTML of existing templates.
- Templates: Pick from hundreds of templates, all designed by professionals to show off your products.
- Preview: Prior to sending out your email, you can view what the email will look like to recipients on both desktop and mobile devices.
- Surveys: Using Campaign Monitor, you can add surveys and forms to your email campaigns, allowing you to gather feedback and comments from your subscribers.
- Split Campaigns: As mentioned earlier, Campaign Monitor allows users to create two versions of the same campaign. This is a great feature for testing out minor tweaks to your campaign strategy.
- Automation: You can set up a series of timed emails that will be sent to all new subscribers.
- Email Analytics: Users have access to a basic but well-rounded set of analytical tools that includes information about bounces, clicks, opens, unsubscribes, spam complaints, and social media activity.
- Sign-Up Tools: In addition to the ability to create sign-up forms for new subscribers, Campaign Monitor allows users to create list segments to target specific sub-groups of users and the ability to create custom fields for user data.
- Segmentation: In what is becoming an industry standard, Campaign Monitor uses techno-wizardry to send your pre-made, customized templates out to your audience, determining which segment to use based on each recipient. You can create segments based on gender, purchase history, and more.
- API: Developers looking to create their own integrations can utilize Campaign Monitor’s robust API.
Integrations & Add-Ons
Last time we reviewed Campaign Monitor, we criticized them for being “weak” in the integrations department. In the time between then and now, the problem has been rectified. Over 250 different integrations are now available, including everything from Google apps to Shopify to Facebook. Here are the highlights:
- Google Analytics
- Microsoft Dynamics
- Much more!
Campaign Monitor also has an APU that users can access to build their own apps.
Campaign Monitor uses physical and digital safeguards to protect user data.
Databases are protected by access restrictions, and key information, such as passwords, is encrypted when stored. SSL (HTTPS) is used throughout the application to transmit sensitive information, such as credit card details, which are not stored on Campaign Monitor servers.
Data centers are physically guarded by five levels of protection: security cards, fingerprint scans, video surveillance, locked hardware, and vibration detection. A proximity card and PIN are required just to enter the building.
Data is mirrored to a backup server in case of malfunction.
Anti-Spam Policy & Protection
As one might expect, Campaign Monitor frowns on spam and abides by the CAN-SPAM Act, so don’t expect to be able to send emails with false headers for long. Campaign Monitor goes a step further, however, by defining spam as “any email you send to someone who hasn’t given you their direct permission to contact them on the topic of the email.”
To catch spammers, Campaign Monitor is tied into the spam reporting systems of major ESPs, such as Outlook. If more than .03% of your emails are marked as spam, you’ll receive a warning and be contacted by the company with advice on how to fix the problem. More serious or repeat infractions can lead to account suspension.
The company also monitors blacklists and closely scrutinizes large imported lists.
Lately, there has been a trend towards making email marketing accessible to a broader user base by simplifying programs and improving or eliminating unnecessary features. The danger, of course, is the potential loss of utility for more serious marketing campaigns.
Campaign Monitor, more than most ESPs, gets minimalism right; the majority of email marketers will find the tools they need to get the job done without having to wrestle a bloated interface to the ground. Additionally, having access to all of the program’s features at every pricing tier makes the software feel complete in a way that many of its competitors don’t. Add to that the near-breathtaking graphic design and you’ll find that Campaign Monitor is one of the most complete email marketing services currently available.
Of course, you are the best judge of whether or not Campaign Monitor will meet your needs. Give the free trial a spin and see how you like it.
To learn more about how we score our reviews, see our Email Marketing Software Rating Criteria.