A person looking through binoculars - technology comparison concept
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If you’re looking for an automation tool to better leverage your growing set of apps and web-based services, you’ve most likely heard of Zapier and IFTTT. These platforms promise to bring efficiency to organizations by connecting apps to perform additional functionality without relying on developers.

They’re both great tools and trusted by large enterprises and small companies alike, so how do you decide? We’ve reviewed each tool with the help of industry experts to help you choose the best tool for your organization.

What Is Zapier?

Zapier is a workflow automation tool that allows you to connect separate apps to automate repetitive tasks. Within Zapier, you can create new Zaps — automated workflows between apps — by defining triggers, automated tasks and actions.

Zapier workflow
PHOTO: CMSWire

Zaps enable you to streamline or eliminate repetitive tasks without needing to code or rely on developers to build new integrations. If you don’t want to create your own Zaps from scratch, there are many Zap templates available out of the box as well.

When creating a new Zap using existing integrations, you start by simply selecting the app. You’re then brought to the Zap editor where you can choose an event trigger for the Zap to start. In this case, you can automatically trigger the Zap, for example, when a new row or column is created in Google Sheets. 

Under the “Do this…” option, you can select another app and corresponding action event. For example, you can choose to send a Slack message or Gmail. You can have multiple actions occur after the trigger event.

Related Article: What is Marketing Automation and How Does It Help Marketers?

What Is IFTTT?

IFTTT Automation App
PHOTO: CMSWire

IFTTT — which stands for if this, then that — is an automation platform that uses an action from one app to automatically trigger an action in another app. With IFTTT you can create Applets that connect services based on triggers, conditions and actions. 

These applets enable you to do something that wouldn’t have been possible be your apps on their own. IFTTT also comes with a number of existing Applets if you don’t want or need to create custom ones yourself.

When creating your own applet, you start by selecting a service and trigger. For example, you can choose for the workflow to fire when a new row is added in Google Sheets. Similarly, you can select actions from other services to occur automatically as well. 

There are millions of applets already available on IFTTT, but as you can see it's straightforward to set up your own custom applets using existing services.

Zapier vs. IFTTT: The Key Differences

Let’s break down some of the most essential differences between Zapier and IFTTT so that you can better understand which fits your business needs:

Integrations

Zapier has over 1,500 integrations with leading apps like Slack, Trello, Gmail and more. It’s also relatively straightforward to set up your own if necessary using APIs or webhooks. There's a rich set of documentation available when building out advanced workflows for Zapier.

Zapier Integrations
PHOTO: CMSWire

IFTTT has far fewer integrations — yet still hundreds of services — including the most popular apps out of the box. If you want to use another app, you can create a custom service and integrate it using APIs. Many users have found it more challenging to find the documentation they need with IFTTT.

Features

Zapier has features that are suited more towards businesses. You can create more complex Zaps that integrate with many different systems. That said, it’s not as straightforward to learn how to use Zapier and make the most of its advanced capabilities. Zapier, therefore, is great for larger teams that may have some semi-technical staff and want to automate complicated workloads.

IFTTT is more geared towards individual users. Applets are mostly limited to one or two simple steps for more mundane tasks. This also means IFTTT is simple to use and has a much shorter learning curve. IFTTT, therefore, is ideal for non-technical users that want to streamline their everyday tasks.

IFTTT Applet

Pricing

Zapier offers a free plan for building one-to-one app connections and automating basic tasks. Starting at $20 per month, Zapier allows you to create more advanced workflows and priority support. There are also business plans available as well.

IFTTT has a free plan with limited functionality for users. In addition, IFTTT for business offers annual plans for developers, fixed pricing per user and volume-based pricing options.

What End-users Say…

CMSWire reached out to large and enterprise-scale companies to ask them about their preferences and experiences when it comes to Zapier and IFTTT.

On Zapier

Wesley R. Gray, Ph.D., CEO of Broomall, PA-based Alpha Architect, has been a Zapier power user for over 4 years.  “We use it to stitch together various applications. One of the aspects that we really like is the ability to view the audit trail of every transaction that comes through their systems. We are in the financial services industry, which is heavily regulated, and the ability to audit/document every aspect of digital information is critical,” Gray said. “We explored IFTTT initially, and they have a great interface and lower costs, but they didn't have the same capabilities, he said.

"Zapier is vastly superior for business and enterprise tasks. You can make chains of events and conditions, deep filters and [Zapier] integrates with a lot more enterprise type apps,” claimed Nancy Baker, Managing Editor of Vietnam-based ChildMode.

On IFTTT

IFTTT is simpler, but that simplicity is its strength. It is designed to be used on the consumer level and the UI is designed to support that. If I want to quickly post a photo to Instagram and have it post to Twitter, IFTTT is great at this. Zapier can do it, but IFTTT is faster and easier,” Baker continued.

John Frigo, Digital Marketing Lead at Austrailia-based MySupplementStore, also has his uses for IFTTT.  “I’ve been using IFTTT for years. I love that it’s free and allows me to stretch myself to have a presence on all social media platforms, even ones which I might not otherwise have the time to be a part of,” Frido stated.  “[I use IFTTT] tp connect social profiles of whatever project I’m working on and creating chains that automatically share content I create. So, if I write a blog post it automatically gets Tweeted out, that Tweet then gets turned into a Tumblr post, and so forth,” Frigo said.

The Verdict

Zapier and IFTTT are both great products, but they each cater to different market segments. Large enterprises may favor the advanced features and overwhelming number of integrations available with Zapier, while individuals or small businesses may only need the simplicity of IFTTT. Either way, you need to consider whether the time-savings from automation outweighs the pricing and learning curve involved with using Zapier or IFTTT.