It would be great if we could jump online, buy a crystal ball, and use it to gain a deep understanding of customer thought and which strategies and marketing plans will lead to big wins. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that fantasy world. What we do have instead is big data, and specifically bug marketing data.
While big data analysis is important to companies of all sizes in any industry, it should be of particular interest to smaller businesses. SMBs don’t have big budgets to match the extensive marketing campaigns of major corporations. However, if they collect the right information on their target market, they might find just the perfect piece of information to give them the upper hand.
Of course, mining the right information requires the right tools. Ideally, SMBs want to find analytical tools that fit their budgets, but offer the right benefits to get exactly what they need. There are any number of vendors that offers pay-per-click (PPC) and SEO solutions, but some are definitely better than others. To make research a little easier, let’s take a moment to review some of the more well-known web presence data management services, and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.
Gshift is a successful Canadisn Software-as-a-Service that collects data points for those looking to increase their web presence performance. Their tools include SEO management, social signals, content marketing and competitive analytics. Gshift’s platform has the ability to collect marketing and keyword data from the major search engines, as well as social data from Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest.
Also, one of Gshift’s most impressive features is that it combines all that data in real-time and displays it on a simple, easy-to-read dashboard.
- Simple, yet detailed dashboard
- Creates simplified reports for upper management
- Integration with Google Analytics
- Lengthy initial start-up time
- Lack of customization
Moz is specifically designed to improve your company’s SEO and drive more traffic to your site. Moz offers a range of products and services: Moz Analytics can help your company measure organic traffic and keyword rankings. Moz Crawl Test is a great tool for finding bad links, broken pages, other factors that may affect search engine crawlability. They also offer a number of different pricing options to fit the needs of any organization, which is great for SMBs. Finally, their standard service comes with a free-trial, allowing companies to become familiar with Moz’s tools before committing.
- Wide range of pricing and feature choices
- Keyword and opportunity recommendations
- Number of additional free tools
- Moz limits the number of keywords you can track per campaign
- Reporting isn’t very streamlined, forcing users to visit several screens to find recommendations
Acquisio brands itself as a performance media solution offered as SaaS and Platform as a Service (PaaS). They specialize in PPC management software designed for advertising agencies, resellers and large scale advertisers. Acquisio’s solutions allow advertisers to optimize their search campaigns and build reports on social, mobile and display initiatives. They also claim their services can handle a greater workload than competitors, which is ideal for agencies and other B2B companies looking to handle more clients and improve their campaigns.
- Integration with Google AdWords helps avoid API charges
- Visibility of PPC campaigns across all three major search engines
- Able to pull data into simple reports and save previous report templates
- Internet browser interface driven by Flash (but will soon be updated to HTML 5)
- Monthly fee is based on a percentage of spend
Overall, each of these vendors offer a number of great tools that are key in building customer insights and improving campaigns. Something that’s disappointing, and hopefully will soon change, is very few vendors offer mobile tools for users. With the growing trend of BYOD (read: What is BYOD?) and more tablets and smartphones entering the workforce, it would be nice to see data management tools better optimized for mobile devices.
Even with these ratings, companies shouldn’t pick a vendor purely based on the recommendations of others. Every organization’s needs are different, which is why one industry expert can give an outstanding review of a platform, while another is incredibly disappointed. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Small businesses would be wise to determine their budget, then look for services that fit within it.
We also advise you to demand a trial before entering into a contract. No industry review can beat a hands-on experience. Not only will a trial help your organization determine if this particular service is really what you’re looking for, but you’ll also become familiar with the program, meaning you’ll be more productive with it when you start paying.