Interesting Online Marketing Tools – 2010 Edition

The marketplace for tools helping interactive marketers with their tests, tracking, and optimizing, seems more vibrant than ever. More and more small companies know what the issues are and work on helping solve them. Unfortunately, tools are time consuming – it’s not copying some javascript in a CMS template that’s really the problem, it’s all the post-implementation data cleaning, reconciliation, and analysis so you can actually get value out of the tool. Also, beware of self-inflicted wounds as all these third-party javascript calls will slow down your site.

As far as we’re concerned we’re making sure we don’t just play around too much and actually fully use a tool before considering implementing yet another one. Right now we’re focused on Clicktale, mostly for its forms analytics. A bit slow but if you’re into analytics, you owe it to yourself to try it.

There are other tools that we’ve been using for a while, and yet others that we might test later. I’m sure I’m missing many but here’s a list:

  • SEOmoz Open Site Explorer (link popularity and backlinks)
  • Google Trends and Google Insights. We use this for keyword and website trends. Why two separate tools though? Plus Google Ad Planner.
  • Google Webmaster Tools have been improved over the years and are now quite useful to diagnose site problems, though its interface could still be better.
  • PostRank: social media content spreading. Haven’t played with it yet but I’m interested. So far we’ve used GA’s advanced features and AddThis to monitor how content propagates over social media. Meh.
  • Among the Twitter analysis tools, I like Twiangulate best for its raw ambition and potential. All these tools (including Google Labs’ which gave me an error 500) are still flaky and tend to crash on non-trivial queries.
  • ChartBeat. Real time stats. Would love to be in a situation where we could actually act on that. We’re not really in hot news markets anyway, but I could see how someone could waste days with this.
  • For more, see the excellent 30 SEO Problems & the Tools to Solve Them (part 2), part 1

Google should really open up GA in a way that lets it hosts third-party plugins. I want link popularity analysis or social media or forms conversion or split tests all in one place! Tools that compete for attention don’t scale. Why isn’t Google Trends integrated in Analytics? Why do we need to manage credentials and dashboards for so many apps?

The web application world, especially in the thriving marketing space, needs its Microsoft Office moment. It’s the suite, stupid. But it comes with a twist: let me build up the best-of-breed online suite that I want, that I’m actually going to use, and that I can afford.

Update: GA App Gallery definitely along the lines of what I was talking about. The have WordStream, among others.