• Irit Levi

How do ESPs count contacts (and why does it matter)?

Updated: Jun 8

When you’re starting your business, email is an important tool.

Using the right tool to collect the emails of users, customers, potential clients, event participants and more, is key to great marketing and customer relations.

There are quite a few tools out there.

When I started my business, I wanted to find the tool that worked best for me.

I had experience with Mailchimp and with ActiveCampaign. I pretty much knew what I wanted and expected from my email service provider (ESP).

I was also pretty biased towards ActiveCampaign.

They are totally customer service oriented and it shows in everything they do.

But I also knew that they have many features that I didn't really need at the time.

And so I set out to try to find an ESP that would give me the features I want, for a reasonable price, with the user experience that just works.

Oh, and no, I haven’t found a tool to date that beats ActiveCampaign.

Here’s an example of why:

I like to use different lists in my email service provider for different purposes.

✔ Newsletter

✔ Course participants

✔ Potential customers

✔ Upcoming events

✔ Sales and marketing


This gives me more control over my list, and is especially useful if I want to give my users the option to opt-in or -out of specific targeted content.

Critical if your ESP package is based on the number of contacts you have (and most of them are):

Here are some of my findings:

ActiveCampaign – counts them once

Mailchimp – doesn't check across multiple lists (audiences) so each entry is counted per list. This raises your contact count.