5 Free Digital Tools That Every Start-Up Should Have

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When you establish a digital start-up budgets are very tight and free digital tools can help save your business. It’s essential to have visibility of how your business is performing. When I advise start-ups on how to optimise their website the first thing I do is set them up with five free digital tools to begin this process. You can’t expect to understand how to improve something unless you have feedback and you can measure it.

1. Google Analytics:

This is one of the most essential free digital tools you should get as soon as your website is ready to go live. Web analytics solutions allow you to understand more about who your visitors are (e.g. demographics and device) and also what content is most popular on your site. If you have a blog this is essential as otherwise how will you know which posts are generating most interest from your visitors.

Some of the key metrics you should be checking on GA include:

  • Mix of new to returning visitors – is your content attracting users back to your site,
  • Bounce rate – are they viewing more than one page,
  • Average time on page – how engaged are they with your content,
  • Source of traffic – how well is your SEO, social media and paid marketing working,
  • Device – what proportion of visitors use a mobile, tablet and desktop device,
  • Demographics – age, gender and interests of visitors
Demographic data from Google Analytics

Source: Google Analytics

Even if start-ups do have GA I often find they haven’t configured it properly and are getting false readings. Free digital tools may not cost you anything, but you won’t get value from them unless you invest in their set up and maintenance. Make sure you set up filters to exclude internal traffic by using your IPs and set a filter for language spam. You can also link the account to your Adwords and Adsense accounts. For more details see this post – I’ve installed Google Analytics – Now what?

There are many web analytics packages on the market, but Google Analytics is one of a few that offers free permanent access to such a comprehensive and robust analytics platform. See my article on web analytics solutions for more details of how to use GA.

2. Google Search Console 

Previously called Webmaster Tools, the Search Console is one of those free digital tools which will provide data many SEO companies will offer to sell you. Search Console a comprehensive SEO tool for understanding how your site is performing in Google Search, but also what might be holding you back in getting more organic traffic.

Image of Google Search Console Dashboard

Source: Google Search Console Dashboard

The Search Console includes a really useful dashboard (see above) which shows a graph of how many clicks your site has received from Google in the last 28 days, plus the number of site errors, including page not founds (404s) and the number of pages that have been submitted and ranked by Google.

The console has five primary navigation elements that you should be checking on a regular basis.

1. Search Appearance:

  • This is mainly more technical SEO data including structured data, rich snippets, HTML improvements and AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages).

2. Search Traffic:

  • This provides data on search results, including clicks, impressions, CTR and average position. In addition it also shows number of external links to your site and what they link to, internal links, security issues and mobile usability issues.

3. Google Index:

  • This shows the number of pages on your site that have been indexed, blocked resources and remove URLs.

4. Crawl:

  • This section provides data on errors detected by Googlebots and the fetch as Google function allows you to submit a URL for indexing. The sitemap tab allows you to submit a new sitemap for your site to Google.

5. Security:

  • Finally, the security tab tells you if have Google has identified any potential security problems with your site.

For more in-depth instructions see my post; How to use Google’s Search Console to improve conversions. 

3. Optimize:

In 2017 Google’s introduced Optimize its free version of its testing and personalisation solution Google Optimize 360. Optimize enables you to run up to 3 A/B tests (or multivariate tests) at a time and provides a includes a visual editor to set up simple experiments in a matter of minutes. It also allows you to run redirect experiments where you test a totally new page against the existing experience. As you would expect it integrates fully with Google Analytics.

Image of types of experiments in Google Optimize

Source: Google Optimize

This is a simple but effective testing tool for companies not intending to conduct more than five simultaneous experiments or personalisation campaigns. It’s easy to use and as free digital tools go it is ideal for start-ups that wish to use a data driven approach to website optimisation.

Read my post, How to set up and run experiments with Google Optimize for more details of this free solution.

4. Hotjar :

Hotjar is a brilliant tool as it combines behavioural analytics, such as session recordings, with easy to use visitor feedback tools. Provided you have less than 2,000 page views per day you can sign up for their free basic plan. For sites up to 10,000 page views a day the start-up plan costs only €29 a month.

Image of Hotjar dashboard

Source: Hotjar Dashboard

The session recording and replay feature is something I love because it’s like watching an un-directed usability test and they can provide some great insights into the behaviour of users on your site. However, the free plan also allows you to create up to three click, scroll and movement heat maps, a six step conversion funnel and form analytics.

Image of Hotjar movement heat map

Source: Hotjar heat map

That’s not to mention online polls, surveys to be sent to users, an incoming feedback tab and a recruiter feature for getting people to participate in user testing. This is an amazing free tool that no start-up should be without. Please read my review of Hotjar for more details.

I prefer Hotjar to Microsoft’s Clarity because it offers polls and surveys, which is something that Clarity doesn’t offer. It’s really important to get user feedback and so Hotjar gives you that option for free. Hotjar should be one of your free digital tools because it does so much more than simply offer heatmaps and session recordings.

5. MailChimp:

It’s important to remain in regular contact with your customers and prospects. Otherwise they can easily forget you even exist. Email marketing is one of the most effective and productive means of doing this. MailChimp provides a free professional email marketing service which allows you to send up to 12,000 emails a month to less than 2,000 accounts.

Image of MailChimp dashboard overview

Source: MailChimp Dashboard Overview

MailChimp has a very easy to use and informative user interface which allows you to quickly create professional looking emails. To design emails it offers 20 basic layouts and over 300 templates using drag and drop technology.

There is also an email editor for HTML and plain text alternatives to design your own template. It’s easy to import your contact list from a CSV or TXT file, copy and paste from Excel or import from an email marketing platform.

MailChimp also offers comprehensive campaign performance metrics so that you can see how many recipients received, opened and clicked on your emails. It also advises you on how many email bounced and unsubscribed. Because it easily integrates with Google Analytics you can track how well your campaigns drive traffic to your website.

MailChimp has now added autoresponders or what they refer to as automation to free accounts. These are automated emails triggered by an event such as registration, purchase or abandoned basket. This is a really useful feature that often you have to pay for to get access to. So, don’t delay, sign up to MailChimp today.

Conclusion:

These five free tools are a must for every start-up. Don’t be reliant on SEO or marketing agencies to provide these resources, you will learn much more if you use them yourself. If you do need help in setting these tools up I can offer assistance as part of my marketing consultancy service, Otherwise, don’t delay and sign up now to these invaluable tools to assist you in growing your online business.

Featured image by Fancycrave on Unsplash

10 Tools To Compare Website Traffic

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How To Compare Website Traffic For Free!

If you can track competitors’ website traffic you can develop more effective strategies to deal with their threat to your business and improve your conversion rate. Competitor analysis can be a time consuming process to do well. But if you can compare website traffic of similar sites this can can provide valuable insights to inform decisions about marketing strategy, conversion rate optimisation, new market entry, product launches and also content marketing approaches.

Website audience analysis tools allow you to check and compare website traffic volumes, source of traffic, average time per visit, bounce rate, pages per visit, search terms and more. Website competitors’ checker tools obtain this information by aggregating ISP data and/or using panel data to give you easy access to up-to-date information on a sector or competitor.

Compare website traffic using a website competitors checker
Competitor Analysis Matrix Example

This allows you to track and compare website traffic for competitors, benchmark your performance, get an understanding of market size, collect geo and demographic data, monitor the search and content strategies of your competitors, and look at audience segmentation.

Tools that allow you to compare website traffic are ideal for when you are drafting a business case, reviewing your marketing strategy, conducting a SWOT analysis or just need to track competitor website traffic. Below we I have summarised 10 leading website audience analysis tools for you to use to monitor competitor website traffic.

8 Tools To Compare Website Traffic:

1. AdClarity:

Image of adclarity.com homepage
Source: adclarity.com

Firstly, AdClarity is a leading social media and website audience analysis tool. It allows you to examine which campaigns, creatives and traffic sources are working most effectively for your competitors. You can identify which publishers your competitors advertise with, the creatives used and landing pages they are sending visitors.

2. Ahrefs:

Site Explorer is an excellent tool to monitor competitors’ monthly organic traffic and how it’s changed over the years. To drill down on the estimates, you can check a country-by-country breakdown of traffic and how much of it each keyword brings.

Ahrefs has a free backlink checker that you can also use to analyse traffic. The tool lets you compare pages that link to competing domains by their traffic. Since these are the places where your competitors get most of the exposure, you may want to get mentioned there too. You can also check pages that link not only to the entire competing domain, but also to the specific page. It’ll come in handy if you have a similar or more useful article to force out your competitor and take their place.

Image from Ahrefs Site Explorer
Source: Ahrefs Site Explorer

3. Google Analytics Benchmarking:

This is free feature of Google Analytics that automatically benchmarks sites at category level, by channel, location and device. It is based upon data collected directly by Google Analytics. The categories can be a bit generic and the actual number of visits is not known.

4. Google Alerts:

This is a free tool which can inform you every time a competitor or your company is mentioned online.

5. Quantcast Measure: 

This is a free website audience analysis tool with data for over 100,000,000 websites including detailed demographic, geographic and also lifestyle data. Quantcast Measure offers behaviour across devices and platforms.

As well tracking competitor website traffic you can obtain audience demographic and geographic profiles for your websites and mobile apps, plus for your competitors.

Image of quantcast.com/measure homepage
Source: quantcast.com/measure

This a great tool for getting information on the number of mobile apps users, visits and page views for a set period of time. Audience demographics are broken downy by gender, age, number of children, income, education, ethnicity, political affiliation and political engagement. In addition the tool can provide data on audience interests, other sites your audience visits and source of traffic.

6. SimilarWeb:

This is considered the best free website audience analysis tool as it shows website visits broken down by traffic source, keywords that your competitors are using and the number of mobile app users. The paid version provides organic and paid keywords, including not provided, evaluates most popular pages, benchmarks campaign strength and mobile app engagement.

Image of try.similarweb.com homepage
Source: try.similarweb.com

The data used by Similarweb is collected via browser toolbars and extensions. Like all these tools it is based upon a sample of users and its accuracy may vary according to specific category you are monitoring. However, it is one of the best tools to track competitor website traffic.

7. Siterankdata:

A free website audience analysis tool that offers current and historical website rank data and analysis. You can compare top websites by keyword, domain extension or ranking changes. Works best for sites with a reasonable amount of traffic.

8. Website Informer:

Image of website.informer.com homepage
Source: website.informer.com

Finally, this is a free website audience analysis service for web masters. It gathers detailed information on websites, general information, statistics, main competitors, similar sites, IPs and more.

Conclusion:

Finally, competitor website audience analysis tools don’t have to cost the earth. Try out some of the free services, such as Similarweb to prove their value first. If your organisation is serious about website competitor intelligence and bench marking you can then migrate to a paid platform once you have found one that best meets your needs. There is no reason not to compare website traffic of your competitors. This will help you keeping abreast of how your competitors’ sites are performing. This is more important than ever as disruptive trends and brands usually steal market share from established brands.

18 Top Web Analytics Tools Compared

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Why Are Web Analytics Tools Important?

Web analytics tools allow you to track exactly where visitors go on your site, how long they spend on each page and how they interact with your site or app. This allows you to understand more about your potential customers and to measure, analyse and report on your traffic. Web analytics tools answer four key questions:

  1. Who visits your website – in terms of number of visitors and their characteristics?
  2. Where do your visitors come from – the source of traffic?
  3. What do visitors do when they get to your site – which pages do they visit?
  4. Where do they go afterwards – if you have links to other sites (e.g. you are an affiliate)?
Google Analtyics Demographics report
Source: google analytics

This is useful to know so that you can begin to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and the performance of your website. Unless you measure something you won’t know if you are getting better or not and what changes to make to improve performance and revenues. This means using web analytics tools to set benchmarks and start monitoring changes over time.

Web analytics tools allow you to measure:

  • How many visitors land on your site every day?
  • Your audience and their demographic profile – the gender mix, their age, what are their interests?
  • What geographic location do your visitors come, such as the city or country?
  • What proportion of your visitors are new or returning visitors?
  • Audience behaviour – engagement levels and frequency of returning to your site?
  • What browsers are they using? Important to know so that you ensure you support old browsers if lots of your visitors are still using them.
  • Technology – what devices are your visitors using and their screen resolution? Again very useful because you want to optimize your site according to the devices & screen sizes of your visitors.
  • Landing and exit pages – what are they?
  • Which is your most popular content – which pages do they visit most? Critical for prioritising effort and A/B testing.
  • Which channels drive most visitors to your site – organic, direct, referral, paid, social?
  • Which campaigns generate most visitors to your site?
  • Referrals – Which domains are generating most visitors for your site.
  • Keywords used by visitors to find your site.
Google Analytics Audience overview report
Source: google analytics

Competitor Benchmarking:

You can compare website traffic against your key competitors on metrics such as bounce rate, time on site and source of traffic by using a website audience comparison tool. These tools use information collected by ISPs, panels and other sources to track competitor website traffic and demographics.

Using Web Analytics Tools To Set Goals:

This is all interesting information, but what really matters is whether you are achieving your business goals. Web analytics tools allow you to set up your organisational goals to measure performance over time and identify reasons why you may not be achieving them .

One of the main tasks of conversion rate optimisation is to align each individual webpage with the relevant business objective. So for instance if you have an e-commerce site you will want to set up goals that lead towards a sale, such as view a product page, add to basket, enter checkout and finally complete a sale.

For a blog you will be more interested in engagement metrics, such as time spent on site and number of pages viewed. Once you have defined your key metrics you can set up automated reports to monitor your conversion rates and begin to investigate any changes that occur.

Visitor Behaviour:

Next you need to better understand your visitor behaviour to identify user journeys and whether you can improve goal achievement through making changes to your site. You should monitor bounce rates and page load speed times to ensure any changes you make to your website don’t put visitors off browsing your site.

Google Analytics Behaviour Flow report
Source: google analytics

Conversion Funnel:

One of the most useful benefits of web analytics is the ability to look at the visitors’ path to purchase so that you can identify the drop-off rates at each step in the journey. You will be able to see if any particular stage is more problematic than the others so that you can consider what changes might help reduce this leak in the conversion funnel.

Image of conversion funnel report from Woopra.com analytics
Source: Woopra.com

Variations in Conversion Rate:

You should then begin to investigate whether your conversion rate at each step in the funnel varies across some of the metrics we have just listed. This might highlight that your website is not that user friendly for visitors on small screens or that your site doesn’t render properly in certain browsers. You can then use one of many cross-browser testing tools to view what might be causing the problem.

If your overall conversion rate is significantly lower in Germany than the UK and there is no obvious reason why this is the case you might want to review your copy as German tends to use more characters than English and direct translations can sometimes fail to allow for local cultural differences. A/B tests have shown that cultural differences can influence how visitors respond to a user interface and so ideally web optimisation needs to allow for cultural preferences in design and behaviour.

Crossbrowsertesting.com homepage
Source: Crossbrowsertesting.com

Source of Traffic:

Web analytics tools can tell you where your traffic is coming from and which channels are converting better than others. If you are paying for traffic this helps you to understand if you are getting a reasonable return on investment. Again, investigate why you see differences in your conversion rate to try and understand if it relates to your website or the nature of the traffic for each channel.

Image of Google Analytics report showing conversion rate
Source: google analytics

Find Broken Stuff With Web Analytics Tools:

If you see a sudden drop-off in conversion or decline in traffic from a reliable source this may indicate something is broken on your or a referrer’s site. Use your analytics to flag up when and where on your site there may be a problem with your site so that you can prevent it going unnoticed and costing your organisation significant sums in lost business.

With most subscription web analytics you can set up automated reports that will be emailed to you on a daily basis to help you monitor your key metrics. This will save you having to login every day and allow you to monitor site performance even when you are out of the office.

Web Analytics Tools – Recommendation:

I’ve used all the most popular web analytics tools on the market from IBM Core Metrics, Adobe Analytics to Google Analytics. The clear winner for me is the free version of Google Analytics because it’s by far the most intuitive solution, it’s fast, very little delay in reporting and it integrates so easily with other tools. The support in terms of documentation is second to none and there is a wealth of advice on the web as so many professional optimisers user it.

It is difficult to beat Google Analytics if you are on a limited budget. If want a more sophisticated product then Google 360 is worth considering as this has all the benefits of the free version with the advantages of a paid solution.

18 Website Analytics Tools Compared:

Below you will find the 18 most popular web analytic tools, some of which are free, and so there is no excuse not to start measuring your visitors and their behaviour.

1. Adobe Analytics – Marketing Cloud:

Previously Omniture/SiteCatalyst. Adobe Marketing Cloud is one of the most popular of web analytics tools on the market. An enterprise solution with e-commerce sites that you can fully integrate with Adobe’s Test & Target A/B, multivariate testing and personalisation platform.

A comprehensive suite of features, including mobile, ad-hoc analysis, and the ability for real-time and rule-based decision-making tools to target key customer segments.

Image of Adobe Marketing Cloud Analytics
Source: adobe analytics

2. Amplitude:

This positions itself as a behavioural analytics solution as its focus is on tracking events rather than simply visitors. Amplitude offers real-time monitoring of user behaviour and unlimited individual user timelines. Pathfinder, their user flow analysis, allows you to better understand how visitors navigate through your site or app by visualising the aggregate paths that they take.

The behavioural cohorting feature allows you to define a group of users based upon the actions they have or have not taken on your site. You can then apply cohorts throughout your analysis to understand how different behaviours impact specific KPIs such as retention and revenues. The Microscope feature allows you to click on any point in a chart and create a cohort of everyone who did or did not take a certain action to investigate what is driving their behaviour.

Amplitude offers a free plan for sites or apps with up to 10 million monthly events. For organisations with up to 100 million monthly events the Business Plan costs just $995 per month.

3. Chartbeat: 

This offers a suite of analytical and testing tools for tracking and optimising editorial content and advertising spend. It focuses on helping organisations understand what content captures and holds audience attention and monetize inventory on the page.

Image of Chartbeat.com Analytics homepage
Source: Chartbeat.com Analytics

4. Clicky:

Real-time web analytics tool with an extensive range of features including data at an individual visitor level, on-site analytics, heatmaps, up-time monitoring, a flexible API, Twitter analytics, Google search rankings, video analytics and big screen mobile mode. Free for single websites.

Image of Clicky.com analytics homepage
Source: Clicky.com analytics

5. Econda: 

An enterprise level web personalisation and analytics platform which is popular with e-commerce websites. Used by many of Germany’s top 100 online retailers. This solution combines high-end technology with an intuitive user interface.

Image of Econda.com home page
Source: Econda.com

Econda’s Cross Sell combines a recommendation engine with an online sales tool and re-marketing suite. Product recommendations are context-sensitive and all entry pages can be tailored for your visitors.

6. Formisimo:

Formismo is a state of the art form analytics platform to identify how users interact with your forms and checkout fields. The tool tracks every input field so that you can identify which fields users don’t complete, plus when they do and don’t use auto-complete.

Your form or checkout is unlikely to work as well on all browsers, devices or certain languages. Advanced filters allows you to view all reports for a segment of your visitors to identify and remedy cross-browser or other performance issues. A highly recommended tool by many conversion experts.

Formisimo form analytics homepage image
Source: Formisimo form analytics

7. Gauges:

Gauges is positioned as a low-cost real-time web analytics tool for small to medium sized organisations. It was designed to be a website analytics API and the dashboard that you see on the Gauges front-end is a web client that consumes the API. 7 day Free trial available.

gauges analytics homepage image
Source: gauges analytics

8. Google Analytics: 

The default option for web analytics tools for many organisations. It’s free and being the most popular web analytics tool there is a constant stream of posts on how to get the best out of Google Analytics. What I love about Google Analytics is that the user interface is intuitive and because it’s from Google it integrates really easily with other Google solutions such as the SEO tool Google Search Console, their A/B testing tool Google Optimize and AdSense.

The tool is also generally fast to generate reports, no waiting around for data to be processed or sent to you via email. It’s a great tool to begin getting into web analytics.

Ensure you migrate your Google Analytics implementation to Google Tag Manager to give you the full benefits of an agile and flexible tag management platform. Once you have installed Google Analytics you will need to set it up and this article takes you through the basics. For reports to use here are 12 Awesome custom Google Analytics reports created by experts.

The free version of Google Analytics offers most features that smaller organisations need and implementation is simple and quick. It uses sampled data when you have over one million unique dimension combinations in standard reports, or more than 500,000 for special queries, such as in custom reports.

Google Analytics 360

The new enterprise suite of six applications which aims to directly challenge Adobe’s Marketing Cloud. It combines Google Analtyics Premium (now called Google Analytics 360) and Attribution 360 (previously Adometry) which it acquired in 2014. You will also get access to an enterprise version of Google Tag Manager.

It gives you access to Audience Center 360, a data management platform that integrates with Google’s own tools (including DoubleClick) and will take data from third-party tools. Of particular interest is the addition of Data Studio 360 which offers advanced data visualization and analysis solutions. This is powered by BigQuery – Google’s data analytics platform. This provides a native report building option for Google Analytics 360 with all the features of Google Docs (e.g sharing & multi-user editing).

Finally, Optimize 360 is a brand new A/B testing and personalisation tool which includes a visual editor interface to bring it in line with other leading A/B testing solutions. Optimize is the free version which allow you to run up to 3 A/B tests at any one time.

Google Analytics homepage image
Source: Google Analytics

9. GoSquared: 

A real-time web analytics tools that gives you insights and access down to the individual user-level. A modern and intuitive user interface GoSquared offers business and enterprise solutions, together with a Free version for the small entrepreneur.

Go Squared analytics homepage image
Source: Go Squared analytics

10. Heap Analytics:

A unique real-time web analytics tool that doesn’t require any code to be implemented to setup event tracking. The Event Visualizer allows you to define analytics events by performing the action yourself and so anyone in your organisation can set up a conversion funnel or retention report in seconds. You can also search for an individual user to see every action they’ve done or find users based upon a specific behaviour.

Heap Analytics offers an integrated graphics solution to plot changes in key metrics over time. This allows you to adjust the range, granularity and visualisation as you require. The solution integrates easily with most popular data analysis tools and you can run your own SQL queries or export data to tools such as Tableau.

A free plan is available for up to 5,000 sessions a month or up to 50,000 sessions per month if you add their badge to your website. A 14 day free trial is available for the Custom Plan.

11. IBM Digital Analytics (formerly Coremetrics) is part of IBM Enterprise Marketing Management

An enterprise web analytics tool incorporating near real-time web analytics, data monitoring and comparative benchmarking. The click-stream reports are very powerful and allow you to see how visitors navigate around your site.

You can expand the IBM Digital Analytics solution to include multiple sites, offline customer behaviour, ad relevancy, impression attribution and social media channels.

IBM Digital Analytics homepage image
Source: IBM Digital Analytics

12. Kissmetrics:

A highly recommended and powerful web analytics tool and digital marketing optimisation platform. The solution has three key advantages over traditional web analytics tools. It allows for flexible custom data with an easy to use API, it focuses on individual users and it tracks user behaviour on a multi-session basis.

By tracking user behaviour on a multi-session basis, and by aliasing anonymous cookie data with identifying information, (e.g. email address), Kissmetrics doubles as a customer database. You can collect detailed purchase information and analyse how it correlates with your behavioural analytics data. This provides a comprehensive view of an individual’s interactions with your site over time. This make it one of the most unique of the web analytics tools on the market.

The product is highly thought of for identifying holes in the conversion funnel. It allows you to build ad-hoc queries to drill down on very specific segments.

Image of Kissmetrics.com homepage
Source: Kissmetrics.com

13. Maxly:

A comprehensive real-time web and conversion analytics tool. The free tool will show you how your Google Analytics stats match up with the industry standard. It offers a range of plans, including an enterprise solution. 30-day free trial available and a 60-day money back guarantee.

Maxly Analytics homepage image
Source: Maxly Analytics

14. Mixpanel:

This is technically one of the most advanced of the web analytics tools on the market. It is superior to Google Analytics for behavioural tracking and is great for content-focused websites. It is also less relevant for e-commerce sites.

You can create easy funnels on Mixpanel and visualise them in the user interface. It also allows you to segment users based upon source of traffic or other characteristics (e.g. city) and how they interact with your site. The Explore feature enables you to create profiles for individual users which can be very useful for assisting Customer Services in supporting existing users.

Due to the complexity of the solution it requires a dedicated analyst who can manage it on a daily basis to fully understand the tool and ensure it is set up correctly to measure all your key metrics. To fully integrate API tracking within the solution also needs a fair amount of technical knowledge. It also requires frequent integration with your website if it has to measure specific events or you regularly update or release new features.

Image of Mixpanel.com homepage
Source: Mixpanel.com

15. Matomo (Formerly Piwik):

A self-hosted, open-source Free web analytics platform. Matomo is a comprehensive web analytics tool but unlike many packages, there is no limit to the amount of data you can store for free. It also has a mobile app. Because it is held on your own server you own the data and can integrate easily with your own internal systems.

Image of Piwik.org homepage
Source: Piwik.org

16. Oribi:

A more advanced alternative to Google Analytics which offers insights without the grind required with GA. It automatically tracks all button click and pageview without any need for developer resource.

17. Webtrends:

A fully integrated and powerful enterprise web analytics tool that includes analytics, segmentation, testing, targeting and re-marketing. An excellent tool for tracking user segments, purchase funnels, scenarios, drop-off and bounce rates. The solution integrates with 3rd party data including app stores, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Webtrends analytics offers:

  • Unlimited data collection
  • Multi-channel measurement across social, mobile, web and SharePoint
  • Configurable digital dashboards
  • Standard and customized analytics reporting
  • Extensive data export
  • Custom and calculated metrics
  • Ad-hoc data exploration to unlimited dimensions
Image of Webtrends.com homepage
Source: Webtrends.com

18. Woopra:

Real-time tracking of customer activity across multiple channels including web, apps and emails. It provides a comprehensive profile for every user, customisable segmentation, funnels, retention and automated driven actions. A Free version is available.

Woopra Analytics homepage image
Source: Woopra Analytics

Conclusion:

Web analytics tools are critical to get visibility of what content your visitors are engaging with and to better understand visitor behaviour when they land on your site. For start-ups get yourself Google Analytics as this is a free and very comprehensive solution that will meet most needs. Other solutions often provide free trial periods and so if you are looking for more advanced web analytics tools there are plenty to choose from without having to commit to a major investment.

Over 40 Awesome Social Media Marketing Tools

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Why are social media marketing tools important?

Social media marketing tools have become more valuable as the use of online social networks have exploded over the last decade. For many people social networks are one of their main sources of information and news. Millions of people share photos, messages and content every day on social media.

Are social networks anything new?

Humans have always been super social animals and we thrive best when connecting with other people. New ideas, products and behaviour spread through our social networks. Consequentially social media is just a visible extension of existing off-line social networks. However, social media can heavily influence both online and offline behaviour and social media signals are an important factor in SEO. Shares on social media can also create back links which help improve domain authority.

How important is social media marketing?

Research by PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PWC) of over 20,000 consumers worldwide found that almost half (45%) of digital buyers indicated reading reviews, comments and feedback on social media influenced their digital shopping behaviour. The influence of social media is probably much greater than this for because many of our interactions happen offline via word of mouth and may be so subtle that they are very difficult to identify and measure.

Indeed, research suggests that we often copy other people without being consciously aware of our behaviour. This is because we have developed an almost automatic ability to replicate the behaviour of those who we admire or aspire to be like. As a result the potential power of social networks should not be underestimated. The forecasts suggests that online social networks will continue to grow rapidly.

To help you in this important area of marketing I have summarised below over 40 social media marketing tools that help improve your success in this area. A number of the social media marketing tools are free or have free trials available, so check them out if you think they could assist your social media planning and implementation.

Over 40 social media marketing tools to use:

1. Social Media Marketing Tools For Analytics: 

1. 33Across:

One of the most useful social media marketing tools which allows you to integrate analytics with your marketing efforts. 33Across offers traffic building and monetization tools for content publishers. SiteCTRL provides real-time insights on how people consumer and share your content. This includes Copy&Paste which monitors on-site copy and paste activity and auto-inserts the page URL to create organic back-links which improve search rankings.

SpeedShare enables and tracks sharing of your content across multiple social networks. The analytics tool helps you to understand how your users share your content in the public domain and privately.

RevCTRL generates insights into the best places where you should focus your marketing efforts and allows for better placement and more relevant ads for users. Select customized ad signals including social, search, contextual and more. As a result RevCTRL aims to provide higher CPMs and more revenue with fewer ads on your site.

Image of 33across.com social media marketing tools

2. Brandwatch:

Supports 27 languages and is an ideal tool for international organisations that require a multi-language solution. It is able to monitor conversations across the vast majority of social networks and offers highly targeted searches with industry leading queries powered by 22 Boolean operators. Using an advanced algorithm it offers spam-free data from millions of online sources.

Brand Watch

3. Facebook Audience Insights:

Free tool from Facebook that allows you to better understand the audience you plan to target before you begin any campaigns.

Image of Facebook Insights page

4. LikeAlyzer:

For Facebook growth this tool allows you to keep up-to-date with Facebook stats. LikeAlyzer weekly provides information on your Facebook page such as the number of posts per day, Likes, comments and shares per post, timing and length of posts.

5. Moz Analytics:

One of the most highly rated social media marketing tools on the market. This provides you with a single dashboard to browse your social media performance and other marketing efforts. As Moz is an SEO tool as well it will show you how your social media activity is affecting your SEO standing.

6. Qualia Media:

The company has developed an Intent Quality Decision Engine to measure a person’s propensity to purchase. The engine identifies intent across screens and digital journeys by collecting and analysing signals of intent and selects your ideal consumers to deliver highly targeted ads.

7. Social Analytics:

This is a Chrome extension that allows you to track real-time social engagement of any website to understand how popular a page or post is on various social networks. This helps you understand how content on a site is shared and where you might focus social engagement.

Social Analytics

8. SocialFlow:

Employs an optimisation algorithm that analyses your Twitter and Facebook data to ensure your content is sent at the optimum time. The tool uses three key criteria to determine when to post content. Message relevance, which of your messages in most likely to connect, your audience (who is currently online), and timing (when is the best moment to post this content).

Social Flow 2

9. Socialmention: 

A popular Free monitoring and listening tool. This covers over 100 social media networks and measures metrics such as sentiment, strength, passion and reach. Combined with an easy to use interface and the ability to export the data into an Excel sheet if required this is a highly useful tool that does not have any subscription to pay.

10. Sysmos:

A suite of social monitoring tools that help you collect and analyse relevant data within a framework that you can define to identify insights on what matters to you. It incorporates a workflow system that enables you to process large volumes of mentions to allow you to make data-driven decisions.

2. Content Discovery Social Media Marketing Tools:

 1. Anews:

An iOS app that allows you read all the news, blogs and social networks on topics that interest you in one place. The app also enables you to share any articles with your social networks.

2. Atomicreach:

This tool analyses the emotional appeal of your content and evaluates whether your articles are written appropriately for the kind of people that read your content. The app uses advanced data analytics to uncover how writing patterns impact your audience and machine learning to identify when they are interacting with your content.

3. EMV Headline Analzer:

The Emotional Value Headline Analyzer is provided by the Advanced Marketing Institute for evaluating how emotional a headline is to provide an indication of the chances of it being shared.

4. Pocket

One of the most popular social media marketing tools for content discovery and curation. This is a content curation tool that allows you to store articles, videos or other content for when you need it. It allows you to tag posts for easy sorting and filter by video, image or article.

Image of Pocket.com homepage

5. Portent Idea Generator:

If you ever need a bit of help with what to write about a certain subject this tool provides instant headline suggestions to build an article around.

Portent Idea Generator

6. RebelMouse:

A social networking aggregation tool that allows you to use flexible, dynamic rules to auto-publish content from social platforms and gather content from RSS feeds and APIs. It also offers a CMS and mobile app platform which allows you to choose from a variety customisable designs.

3. Content Management Social Media Marketing Tools:

1. Buffer:

Buffer has become one the most iconic of the social media marketing tools available. They offer a Free account manager for one Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn account with up to 10 updates in each of your buffers (account schedule). You can also have a 7 day trial to include Pinterest in your account.

This a great tool to optimise and automate the times when you post on social media. Further, it provides detailed analytics of the number of clicks, favourites, shares, comments and the potential reach of individual posts. The browser plugin for the tool means that you don’t need to access the Buffer website to schedule or share content.

You can go Awesome for $10 a month to manager 12 social profiles, with unlimited posts in your buffer, and have two users to manage the account. This allows you to decide on whether to send posts out of one account or multiple accounts across different social networks
simultaneously.

2. CoSchedule:

A Wordpress plugin that allows you to plan, schedule and promote your blog content across multiple social media channels. CoSchedule integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Buffer. You can also track post links though Bit.ly or Google tracking tags. You can manage all your content creation calendar and social media sharing schedule from the
backend of your WordPress website or blog.

The tool will also monitor social media engagement from your posts and produce an activity report which ranks posts based upon the level of engagement.

Image of CoSchedule.com

3. eClincher:

A comprehensive paid for social media management and publishing solution that starts from $15 a month. This includes automating publishing, engagement (live social fields), curating new content, post automation, social inbox, social monitoring, influencers, generate leads and social analytics.

Image of eClincher.com homepage

4. Edgar:

A paid for solution that automatically adds your new posts to a library which allows you to recycle all your social media posts so that you end up with a never-ending queue of content. You can determine what to post and when it goes out.

Image of Edgar.com homepage

5. Hootsuite:

This is one of the most well-known and popular social media marketing tools that helps you manage multiple social media accounts by monitoring, posting and delegating tasks within your team. This includes Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress, Foursquare, Instagram and many more.

Hootsuite

6. IFTTT

This app allows you to connect many of your favourite apps to create automatic actions from one app to another when you complete a set task. These automated actions are called recipes and there are many to choose from.

Recipes include Tweeting your Facebook updates, share your Instagrams to Facebook, forward emails to save attachments to Dropbox, posting Vimeo videos you like to Tumblr, saving new texts you receive in Google Spreadsheet, copying any Instagram pictures you take to Google Drive, adding your latest iPhone screenshots to a Dropbox folder and saving articles saved for later in Feedly in Pocket too.

7. SocialOomph:

This tool allows you to schedule tweets in advance and auto-follow your new followers. The dashboard enables you to combine Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plurk and your blog into one place to schedule posts and monitor social media activity.

Image of socialoomph.com homepage

8. Sprout Social:

A management and engagement platform for social business. You can manage, post, monitor, and analyse multiple social media accounts from the tool. It allows you to post updates simultaneously across Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Monitor your messages across social networks through on streaming inbox and their ViralPost algorithm analyses your followers’ engagement patterns to identify the best time to
publish content. Their analytics reporting allows you to customize social media reporting across networks and profiles. Offers a 30 day Free trail.

9. Tagboard:

This is a social search and display platform which allows you to get a snap shot of sentiment surrounding your hashtag. This allows you to identify where most engagement was generated so that you prioritise effort in the right social networks. In addition Tagboard allows you to reply to people from the snapshot page, which works well for conferences and generating conversations in real-time.

Tagboard

10. Tailwind:

An app for saving you time with managing your Pinterest account. It allows you to schedule pins in advance, schedule re-pins, easily pin any visual content from any website using the Tailwind hover button, obtain easy to understand analytics and get reminders about boards that you need to optimize.

The app also allows you to organise your Instagram photos based on likes, comments or most recent photos. Further, it allows you to post Instagram photos on Pinterest and connect with Pinterest users on
Instagram.

4. Design and presentations:

1. Canva:

A free web-based design tool that has some of the best elements of Photoshop and a range of designer templates. A very easy to use tool which offers an excellent range of design templates, fonts and layouts.

There are also free tutorials that show you how to produce better graphics. A great tool if you wish to customize images to post on social media.

Canva

2. Haiku Deck:

A web-based and iPad app for creating awesome looking presentations and with the additional benefit of integrating with SlideShare. A great tool for reinventing content as you can choose from a range of stylish fonts, layouts and image filters to create a really polished looking presentation.

 Image of haikudeck.com homepage

3. LeadPages:

Offers you the ability to create landing pages to encourage desired conversations from your social media activity. It provides a powerful (WYSIWYG) visual editor to design and launch landing pages within minutes.

Image of Leadpages.com homepage

4. Vectr:

This is a free and intuitive graphics editing app for web and desktop. Vectr has a low learning curve making graphic design accessible for everyone.

Image of vectr.com homepage

5. Word Swag:

Is an iPhone app that allows you add awesome text effects to your photos to create professional-quality posts and photo-quotes. 

5. Outreach Social Media Marketing Tools:

1. Discover.ly:

This is a Free Chrome extension that shows you the social networks that your email connections use and you can even cross-reference other social networks as you browse on individual social sites. This allows you to identify if you have the potential to connect with individual people across multiple social networks or how you might connect with someone new through a mutual connection.

Discoverly

2. Zoho SalesIQ:

This is platform for tracking website visitors that enables you to connect and engage with your users in real-time. It includes a language translator, integration with Zoho CRM and advanced triggers to segment visitors by how long they’ve been on your website, pages visited, type of visitor and many more classifications and responses.

6. Planning Social Media Marketing Tools:

1. Process Street:

A free process and work flow management solution that also provides downloadable, step-by-step checklists for your articles to make your content more engaging. The tool also allows you to add images, videos and other files to your checklist.

Image of process.st homepage

2. Todoist:

A useful tool to manage your daily task list. It also allows you capture ideas via mobile device, browser, email or desktop. You can then prioritise, schedule and add actions against each item on your list. It keeps individual project separate by using folders and labels and everyday it notifies you the day’s actions.

7. Podcast Social Media Marketing Tools:

1. RINGR:

Is an iOS and Android app that allows you to connect with someone you want to interview remotely and record the entire conversation over the phone. They simply have to install the app,
enter an invite code and begin the recording.

2. FuseBox:

A WordPress plugin for podcasters that is compatible with any podcast RSS feed from any podcasting hosting service, including Libsyn and SoundCloud.

The design of FuseBox allows you to display your podcast artwork, customise the colour of the radio track bar and adjust the colour of the full player between a light or dark coloured theme.

8. Share Content & Grow Traffic – Social Medial Marketing Tools:

1. Bitly:

A Free service that provides link shortening to post your content on social media accounts, together with real-time analytics, bookmarking your favourite sites and allows you to track clicks.

Bitly

2. Snip.ly:

This is one of the most well known social media marketing tools. Snip.ly is an awesome URL link shortener that when clicked shows a customised call-to-action snippet at the bottom of the page. It is a fantastic way of driving traffic back to your own website by sharing great content from others.

3. SumoMe:

This offers a suite of 11 free tools to help you grow the traffic to your site.

The Scroll Box allows you to ask visitors to submit their email addresses as they finish reading your latest post or learning about your product. Smart Bar is positioned at the top of your website to remind your visitors to join your email list, read your latest blog post, or whatever else you want them to do.

9. Twitter Analytics and Account Management:

1. Followerwonk:

A great tool to analyse Twitter profiles. 30 day Free trial is available.

2. Tweepi:

A useful tool for managing your Twitter account as it allows you to remove unfollowers, clean up inactive followers, reciprocate by following new followers and follow accounts that may be of interest.

3. Twitonomy:

A dedicated Twitter account management and analytics tool that will give you insights on the people you follow and those that follow you. It allows you to see who you follow, but do not follow you back, and those that follow you, but you don’t follow.