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Instantly vs Woodpecker: Which is the Better Cold Email Marketing Tool?

Are you looking for a powerful email sending software to help you streamline your cold email outreach? Well if you’re in between Instantly AI and WoodPecker, we got you. Both tools offer impressive features to help you craft and send effective cold emails, yet each highlight unique strengths. Let's talk about which makes the most sense for you!
Updated June 6, 2023
two envelopes fighting with swords in a boxing ring. one is red and one is blue
two envelopes fighting with swords in a boxing ring. one is red and one is blue

Sending good cold emails is not easy– it takes consistent effort to tweak and perfect your campaigns.

On top of the hours spent building a campaign and writing copy, why would you want to spend more time figuring out which platform to send them on? Your time is better spent crafting more emails!

Don't want to read our whole review? Overall, we believe Instantly is the better tool. The biggest feature that pulls it over is that they don't charge you per email or per domain. This makes it exponentially cheaper to send across tons of email accounts. Whether this is for each client or to expand your own personal outbound, it's a no brainer to save this much money while also having all the powerful emailing features you need.

Both Instantly and Woodpecker offer viable solutions for email marketing. They both allow you to build, edit, craft, and analyze your cold email campaigns within a pretty simple interface. But what's the difference between the two? Is one better than another? Here's our thoughts.

Instantly AI is a cutting-edge cold email platform that helps you attract prospects and increase sales in just a few clicks. Whether you need to send personalized cold emails or properly sequence your follow ups, Instantly has you covered. We've been using Instantly within our agency for quite a while now, and it's worth every penny. I can't say enough great things about Instantly, but if you want to know the full scoop you should check out our full review.

On the other hand, Woodpecker is a robust cold email automation tool that helps you streamline your outreach process with less effort. With powerful features like automated follow-ups, CRM integrations, and detailed analytics, WoodPecker is another excellent choice. The company goes beyond cold emailing as well. They offer a sales assistant and agency feature for in-depth managing and reporting.

Both Instantly and Woodpecker offer similar features and budget-friendly plans, which can make choosing one a bit tough. You won’t make the wrong decision choosing one over the other, but some features might just make more sense for you.

We did the heavy lifting and compared them side by side. Let’s get into it.

Instantly AI vs Woodpecker Compared

When selecting the ideal email marketing tool for your business, it's crucial to consider a variety of essential features that will not only help you reach a broader audience but also optimize your campaigns for increased engagement and conversions. Below are some key features to look for in an email marketing platform:

Powerful Cold Email Personalization

Creating personalized cold emails is challenging and requires a lot of creativity. If you are not used to making one, you are unlikely to get positive responses from your prospects. You’ll want to add dynamic content like names, creative first lines, and pull other important dynamic metadata about a prospect before getting into your pitch.

Any cold email marketing tool should allow you to customize and adapt your sending flow to highly target an individual prospect. Without this, your emails are spammy, seem automated, and are unlikely to get opened.

Dynamic Snippet data options when sending cold emails with the woodpecker email platform.

Accurate Email Verification

When building a list or getting email contacts automatically, you don't know if all of them are valid or working properly. Without verifying them, you could get a high bounce rate, destroying your email sending reputation. To avoid this, choose an email tool that can integrate with a top email verifier that can accurately verify huge lists in a very short time.

The keyword here is in a short time. You don’t want to be switching between email verification tools and your email sending software. If your tool can combine these both, you’re golden.

Woodpecker integrated with Bouncer a few years ago to help reduce bounced emails. It will make sure emails are good to send before they go out. This feature is a big Woodpecker plus, as Instantly doesn't have anything of this caliber at the moment.

If you use Instantly, they recommend using Bulk Email Checker as your go-to verification tool, but it's third party and not built into the campaign dashboard.

Reliable Split Testing

Without a doubt, split testing is a vital aspect of email marketing, especially sending something as variable as cold emails. Experimenting with different campaign variables can give you insight into what works best, promoting better email engagement.

Make sure your email tool has the ability to A/B or A/Z test your campaigns!

Instantly lets you add as many variations to emails as needed, while Woodpecker caps you at 5. I'd say Instantly is the winner here, especially if you're looking to send TONS of emails with a ton of variety.

Instantly AI showing 4 A/B testing variations in an email campaign

Automated Follow-ups

There are a lot of reasons why prospects don’t respond to cold emails. Engagement is highly increased when sending follow ups. Don’t annoy your prospects, but automated follow ups (up to a certain number) is required for converting the highest number of users.

Doing manual follow-ups is a waste of time (unless they’re customized). You’ll get overwhelmed and most likely lose track on who you need to reach out to. A great email software will create automated follow-ups and allow you to set the sending frequency and sequence options.

Both tools allow you to write and schedule follow ups for a specific amount of days into the future. No winner here!

Efficient Software Integration

No single email marketing tool can perform all the tasks alone effectively. This is why software integration is a very important feature. But how many types of software can be integrated with your cold email tool? Are they all efficient? If your answers to these questions give you some doubts, you better choose another tool.

Instantly lets you integrate their software with Zapier & other custom webhooks. I'd say Woodpecker is the clear winner here offering over two dozen integrations with tools across various industries.

List of Woodpecker integrations with other software including things like pipedrive and hubspot.

Robust Tracking and Analytics

Choose a cold email tool that automatically tracks the progress of your emails and presents accurate, easy-to-understand data. Email analytics should include open rates, response rates, and bounce rates to give you insights about your campaigns. This way, you will know which campaigns work well and how to improve your strategy.

I absolutely love Instantly's analytics features. Maybe it's because it's super easy to navigate? I'm not sure. But it's great.

You can see both an overview or campaign view of email statistics. They take the cake here.

Instantly.AI email statistic graph

Deliverability Protection

Sending emails to invalid email addresses can negatively affect your email reputation. Do this for long enough and your domain will get blacklisted.

Aside from having an email verifier, your emailing software should help you control your sending volume. You don't want to send too many emails in a short period of time.

Both tools offer robust bounce protection & multiple ways to warm up emails – so I don't think there's a winner in this category!

Great Customer Support

Support is crucial, especially for business-critical email services. Both Instantly and Woodpecker offer chat and email support options. We've never had to contact Woodpecker but Instantly has been fairly responsive to any of our issues (you can also tweet the founders... which I think is pretty cool)

I can't claim one has better support than the other but I will say Woodpecker has been around for a lot longer. We've always had pretty good support reaching out to Instantly.

Free Trial Features & Length

Woodpecker offers a 30-day or 500 cold email trial to test out all their features (and they don't require a credit card).

Instantly also offers a free trial that doesn't require a card to use. There's no winner here! I'd recommend trying them both (to see which UI/UX fits you better) before sending any emails.

Scalable Pricing

Pricing should be a factor when considering your email tool, but a great email tool is the backbone of your digital outreach.

Instantly has two plans at $37 and $97 a month. The first plan is called growth and offers 1,000 contacts and 5,000 monthly email sends. Hypergrowth allows 25,000 contacts and up to 100,000 monthly sends.

Woodpecker has a higher initial pricing but is cheaper for more emails. 1500 emails costs $49 a month while unlimited emails cost $59.

I will say you have to pay for each email slot with Woodpecker, so Instantly is drastically cheaper if you're sending emails from a ton of different emails/domains.

User Interface

Instantly has a way prettier navigation dashboard. It's easier to get around, less cluttered, and only shows you what you need to know. Woodpecker took me quite a while to grasp when first starting to use.

Instantly.ai dashboard email screen
Woodpecker email campaign dashboard for an individual campaign

Usability Level

With Woodpecker, you can start creating a campaign right away. You start by filling out the custom fields and setting a sending schedule. You can Import your email list manually by uploading a CSV file or through CMS integration. Even if you are a beginner, you can easily follow the clickable flowchart on the dashboard to set things up.

On the other hand, Instantly won’t allow you to create a campaign unless you have already uploaded your leads. Setting up your email accounts and uploading your contacts is also more complicated. There are video tutorials and a help desk desk to guide you, but they can be confusing if this is your first time using an email tool.

Instantly is easier to visualize since it's simpler, but might require a tiny bit more intuition to get going.

A/B & A/Z Testing

Instantly's A/Z testing feature allows you to create as many variances as you want in a single campaign. Woodpecker is more similar to A/B testing, as they only allow you to create 5 variations each campaign.

Instantly also put a lot of emphasis on its automated email warm-up tool, which is better than Woodpecker’s warm-up & Recovery feature. Unfortunately, Google decided to ban this feature in all cold email tools starting February 6, 2023. Therefore, you can only do email wam-up manually (in Woodpecker).

Both cold email tools use an email verifier, but Instantly AI offers both BulkEmailChecker and MillionVerifier options. For Woodpecker, email verification is only done through Bouncer, but is automatically included and integrated in the software.

Woodpecker’s premium plan allows unlimited contacts, follow-ups, and team members, while Instantly AI has a maximum of 25,000 monthly contacts only. At our agency we actually needed more contacts than the maximum on Hypergrowth and had to pay additional to get this set up.

Tracking and Analytics

With Instantly's Analytics, you can view the number of emails sent, open rates, reply rates, and interest levels. You can also view the same data with Woodpecker Analytics. Both of them also allow you to view the status of each campaign. 

But with Instantly, you can filter your stats such as the last 7 days, 4 weeks, etc, or display them based on a custom range.

Individual Instantly.ai email campaign showing contact, open, reply, and opportunity rate.

Integration Compatibility

Woodpecker has a long list of third-party integrations, including workflow automation, CRM, mailbox, prospect sources, multi-channeling, API aggregators, WordPress, and more.

On the other hand, Instantly currently only offers a few integrations (Zapier and Slack).

Instantly needs to improve more in terms of integration with popular apps, but would probably be the dominant email software if this came true. I wouldn't consider using anything else.

Instantly vs Woodpecker: Pros and Cons

Instantly Pros

  • Simple UI
  • Has more advanced features
  • A/Z Testing (unlimited versions)
  • More robust analytics
  • Cheaper in the long run
  • Help desk and tons of tutorials
  • Active community

Instantly Cons

  • Lacks third-party integrations
  • No unlimited emails and follow-ups
  • Tough for beginners
  • Weak free trial

Woodpecker Pros

  • Has a better free trial
  • Easy to customize fields
  • Unlimited contacts
  • Strong email verification
  • CRM tools integration
  • Free email signature generator
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Premium plans are more flexible

Woodpecker Cons

  • Has limited features
  • Add-ons aren't free
  • Multiple email accounts/domains cost more money

Final Thoughts

No matter what choice you end up going with, both Instantly and WoodPecker are powerful tools that will undoubtably help you streamline your cold email outreach to achieve your emailing goals.

I'd say Instantly is better for an emailer who doesn't need tons of features, but needs everything optimized and organized. Woodpecker is a bit more advanced and offers more in-depth capabilities, but lacks in its simplicity and ease of use.

Have you used either before? What do you like better? Would you ever switch? Let us know below!

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Written by Justin Gluska
Justin is the founder of Gold Penguin, a business technology blog that helps people start, grow, and scale their business using AI. The world is changing and he believes it's best to make use of the new technology that is starting to change the world. If it can help you make more money or save you time, he'll write about it!
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