Hootsuite buy AdEspresso, take a slice of Facebook and Instagram advertising

UK marketers favourite social media platform expands into social advertising with acquisition of AdEspresso.

We all love Hootsuite so today’s announcement that news that it Hootsuite Ads has been formed by acquisition of one of the top social advertising platforms should be greeted with some interest.

The new Hootsuite Ads dashboard

Following the announcement of their partnership back in October 2016, the two platforms have been getting closer. AdEspresso allows marketers to quickly create, analyse and optimise your Facebook Ads in an simple, intuitive way, so it sits comfortably alongside Hootsuite which does the same thing for organic social posts.

Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes promises the solution will “bring our users a simple, powerful, battle-tested solution that delivers measurable ROI”.

Why is this important?

It’s getting harder and harder for organisations to reach their fans, with organic posts now only seen by around 2% of an audience.

Facebook and Instagram advertising continues to rise so with this acquisition Hootsuite “now sits at the nexus of more than $500 million in annualised social spend”.  For Hootsuite’s 100 million users, the extra functionality this brings can only be a good thing.


What else is in our Hootsuite hub?

Hootsuite updates: Pricing, review and pro features:

An image with the text Hootsuite updates hub featuring a cartoon scientist offering a comprehensive guide

What is Hootsuite?

Hootsuite is a freemium social media management tool which is compatible with 35 different networks including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. It allows you to monitor and post content across platforms at the same time and supports multiple users under one account.

Its pricing plans range from free (essentially limited to individual, personal use) through to enterprise, with its analytics platform, known as “uberVU via Hootsuite”, becoming more useful as you rise up through the paying plans. Those analytics include some sentiment analysis that can be filtered by location, language and/or gender.

The friendlier 60 second version goes something like this:

Hootsuite review: What the analysts say

According to several reviews, Hootsuite seems fit for purpose for businesses wanting to manage multiple accounts across different social networks, as well as access analytics. It might be costly depending on your user and reporting requirements, however.

Certain things on top like additional reports and custom URL shorteners can cost extra, to the chagrin of some reviewers.

Ryan Brouk, Social Media Coordinator at RPM Advertising, commented: “Hootsuite Cons: Make the analytics portion cheaper to buy reports. It can get very expensive for those wanting weekly reports of their data” while Pat Heffernan, President of
Marketing Partners, remarks: “Only ow.ly links are tracked, so if clients or staff forget or use another app or web version of a social network, no analytics are available. (There is a custom URL shortening function, but it is outrageously expensive.)”

Greg Simerlink, Ecommerce Marketing Specialist at MCM Electronics, adds: “If you are looking for a great source of analytics though you will be a bit disappointed. This section seems to be an afterthought and while it does give some decent insight I find it just augments other reports I find elsewhere.” He does, however, rate Hootsuite 9 out of 10 overall, posting: “After trying a few different competing programs I felt that Hootsuite was the most robust and reliable of them all.”

Back in early 2015, TrustRadius published a Buyer’s Guide to Enterprise Social Media Management Software:

Trustradius's Enterprise social media management software trustmap

HootSuite Enterprise does well on scale, calculated by pageviews on TrustRadius and the number of evaluations submitted. For further analysis, Social Media Today has a good breakdown.

TFM took a look at how Hootsuite stacks up against the Twitter-exclusive Tweetdeck. In the article, Matt Churchill, social media lead at Flipside Group, commented:

“If you’re managing multiple channels, Hootsuite is going to be the best tool to go for. There’s Instagram, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, G+ available to you in one place, which makes content scheduling and community management a little bit more efficient.”

Something that sets Hootsuite apart is the ability to schedule on Instagram, although it’s a potentially fiddly work around – instead of posting directly, the Hootsuite app will notify you at the scheduled time and direct you to the Instagram app, carrying over the necessary content but requiring you to hit the publish button manually.

Hootsuite updates: What’s the latest news?


Hootsuite adds new content storage integration with your favourite platforms  (July 2016)

Hootsuite have announced a number of integrations with the following digital asset management platforms, including Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Microsoft OneDrive, UpContent, Flashstock, MediaValet and WedDAM.

These integrations allow Hootsuite users to access photos and other digital assets directly from these popular cloud content repositories.

This workflow should benefit marketing teams who can collaborate more quickly and efficiently, streamlining time taken promote content across social channels.


Hootsuite announces new content source integrations


OCTOBER 2015 – Free features

Hootsuite offers free version of Hootsuite Campaigns, enabling the creation of sweepstakes and sign-up pages to help businesses gather consumer information – Marketing Land.

A short explanation video about Hootsuite Campaigns:


SEPTEMBER 2015 – Training programme
Hootsuite launches free online education platform Podium, aiming to help people learn social media skills to use in their respective business – PR Week.
A simple text logo for Hootsuite podium


AUGUST 2015 – Feature addition
By way of a workaround, Hootsuite adds the ability to schedule posts on Instagram – TheNextWeb.

Hootsuite pricing and Pro plan features

Hootsuite offers four plans: Free, Pro, Business and Enterprise.

The free plan is really for individuals, offering only the bare necessities – up to three separate social media accounts (“profiles”).

“Pro” (from £6.99 per month after a 30-day free trial):

  • steps up the number of social profiles you can manage simultaneously to 10,
  • adds enhanced analytics reporting, albeit based on a finite credits system – 1 per month or you can pay for more,
  • and permits bulk/batch message scheduling.

Business” (price on request) adds real-time analytics, allows up to 5 team members and gives access to 24/7 support.

An “Enterprise” plan starts at around $1,499 per month, depending on the number of people accessing it.

The Hootsuite plans pricing and features chart

Adobe Marketing Cloud explained

Adobe is the latest marketing cloud to announce machine learning and AI capabilities.

Following hot on the heels of IBM Watson and Salesforce’s Einstein, Adobe has announced the launch of Adobe Sensei as “one of our biggest strategic investments”, bringing artificial intelligence into their marketing cloud.

Adobe Sensei will ‘automate mundane tasks, drive predictive and personalisation capabilities, and boost productivity’ across both Marketing and Creative Clouds.

Some examples of the new intelligent services include:

  • Attribution: Algorithmically determining the impact of different marketing touch points on consumers’ decisions to engage with a brand.
  • Anomaly Detection: Simplifies data analysis by surfacing the most relevant insights and highlighting anomalies using statistics to focus on what needs attention
  • Sentiment Analysis: Helps see and predict what customers like, talk about, and share most.


For more information visit the Adobe Sensei microsite


What else is happening in our Marketing Cloud hub?

An image with the text Adobe marketing Cloud updates hub featuring a cartoon scientist offering a comprehensive guide

What is Adobe Marketing Cloud?

Adobe Marketing Cloud is a digital toolbox, filled to the brim with enterprise-level applications and services covering the major areas of digital marketing. There are eight main tools – Analytics, Audience Manager (personalistion), Campaign (multi-channel marketing; automation), Experience Manager (content), Media Optimizer (ads), Primetime (video), Social and Target (testing).

Marketers can buy individual bits but, as with the Beatles, they tend to work better together, becom ing more powerful when used in combination and integrated with other marketing technologies.

“I’d argue that we have the most complete solution on the market. We are in the process of integrating everything together which will make it more appealing to marketers” – Ann Lewnes, SVP & Chief Marketing Officer Adobe speaking to TFM in June 2015

Signalling its move into the Customer Experience market, Adobe was the first major software provider to announce its intention to build an integrated digital marketing hub. The Marketing Cloud suite of tools – officially launched in 2012 – was compiled in part through acquisitions including Omniture, Day Software and Neolane.

Here’s a 2 mins 30 secs video covering the basics of what its all about. It’s slightly out of date (Jan 2015), mentioning six of the eight products currently available:

Adobe Marketing Cloud updates: What’s the latest news?

MAY 2016 – Acquisition

Adobe proudly touted its acquisition of Livefyre, best known for its online commenting system. Livefyre also offers tools for brands to engage with their audiences, for instance aggregating user-generated content in real time for live web pages and event screens.

Adobe plans to integrate Livefyre into its Experience Manager, its content management service for building web sites and mobile apps – TechCrunch.

MAY 2016 – Adobe Summit EMEA announcements

A photo of the stage at Adobe Summit EMEA 2016

Adobe announced various updates across its marketing cloud:

  • Data-driven advertising – New advertising capabilities include full integration of Adobe’s Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) to help deliver personalised creative content at scale and in real time, support for video ads with built-in analytics and the ability to leverage location information to adjust bids on search ad impressions – press release.
  • New data science capabilities across the Adobe Marketing Cloud, including:
    • an auto-allocate capability in Adobe Target (Smarter Allocation for Visitor Traffic) which automatically discovers the highest-performing experiences and funnels live visitor traffic to those experiences even while you’re still testing;
    • the integration of Adobe Media Optimizer with Adobe Analytic;
    • folllowing on from the January launch of Adobe Campaign’s remarketing capability, it added “propensity scoring” to Adobe Analytics for cart abandonment, where customers are scored on their likelihood to return to the site;
    • also unveiled was Adobe Campaign’s beta program for predictive subject lines, which suggests subject line content to optimize performance – Adobe blog.

The software giant also teased results from its Adobe Digital Index (ADI) EMEA Best of the Best 2015 Report, which benchmarks what the average and top companies are doing:

  • Only 40% of consumers think companies are doing a good job at providing consistent and personalised experiences across devices.
  • European consumers now own an average of 6.1 connected devices, and use three of these daily, across multiple operating systems.
  • 85% of us also now frequently switch devices during online tasks, showing there is still work to be done by brands to make sure experience across devices stacks up.
  • From a UK-perspective, we are ahead of the curve when it comes to website traffic from desktop visits, with the lowest average amount of traffic originating from a desktop device at 56%, which means considerably more traffic is coming from mobile devices than other countries. This is supported by data which found that the UK’s Top 20 has the highest performance in the traffic originating from a smartphone (43%), outperforming every other country.

APRIL 2016 – Product update

The AMC Spring 2016 release includes single-click navigation between solutions, new notifications widget and a redesigned Feed.

New Adobe Analytics features include the Activity Map (formerly ClickMap), virtual report suites, Analysis Workspace project scheduling and downloading, and Data Workbench 6.6.

Release notes.

MARCH 2016 – Product updates and launches
The Adobe Summit in Las Vegas saw the launch of Adobe.ie, a developer portal enabling developers to download the Adobe Marketing Cloud software development kit and easily access API routines and protocol – press release.

Newly announced Adobe Certified Metrics offer standardised digital census data for more accurate measurement of digital audiences – this was followed up by news of related comScore and Neilsen partnerships – press release.

Adobe unveiled it’s Marketing Cloud Device Co-op, a network that will enable the world’s biggest brands to work together to better identify customers as they move from one digital device to another – press release.

Other announcements from the summit include deeper integration of AEM Mobile, new Mobile Core Services tools, new capabilities in Adobe Primetime and new data science capabilities.

DECEMBER 2015 – Partnership

An extended Accenture and Adobe partnership will focus on providing digital marketing solutions for large-scale campaigns in the life science, healthcare and financial services sectors in NA and Europe – press release.

“Working with Accenture at this level is a significant step toward providing tailored versions of Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions that address the unique requirements of specific vertical industries. This is a logical next step in the evolution of Adobe Marketing Cloud as an enterprise software platform to help industries successfully transition to digital.” – Matt Thompson, executive vice president, Worldwide Field Operations at Adobe

NOVEMBER 2015 – Product launch

Adobe launches Audience Marketplace, a data exchange where companies can buy second- and third-party audiences – TechCrunch.


8 products make up Adobe Marketing Cloud

  • Adobe Analytics (previously Omniture SiteCatalyst) – A relatively powerful tool for measuring what’s going on when people check out your website. It sits at the centre of the stack, letting you work out the effectiveness of other Adobe Marketing Cloud products in granular detail. With some development tinkering, Adobe Analytics can also pull in various data from other offline or third-party sources, giving you a wider view of the customer journey.
  • Adobe Audience Manager – Useful for targeted ad campaigns, Audience Manager lets you build audience profiles to improve personalisation. Audience Marketplace, where businesses can acquire second- and third-party audiences, launched in November 2015.
  • Adobe Campaign – A multi-channel marketing campaign planning and execution tool. It was formerly known as Neolane before Adobe’s acquisition of the company in 2013. It’s also lives a double life, moonlighting as a marketing automation tool.
  • Adobe Experience Manager – Adobe Experience Manager is an asset creation and delivery platform, handy for publishing tailored content (e.g. newsletters) across web, email, mobile and social.
  • Adobe Media Optimizer – A tool for ad-buying, which lets you forecast the ideal combination of search, display and social media ads within budget. Media Optimizer also provides ad management and delivery.
  • Adobe Primetime – Primetime is a video platform built around modern viewing habits (i.e. any Internet-connected device becomes a TV). It’s aimed at broadcasters, cable networks and service providers, letting them serve up TV and film content mixed with personalised ads.
  • Adobe Social – A social ROI tool that lets users manage social media campaigns across all the major platforms.
  • Adobe Target – Target helps businesses identify their best content through digital testing and optimisation. You can also use it to create anonymous profiles of site visitors, enabling personalised product or content recommendations.


Adobe Marketing Cloud review: What the analysts say

Gartner (which for some reason has its own name for marketing clouds – “digital marketing hubs”) has once again identified Adobe Marketing Cloud as top dog in its Magic Quadrant analysis:

A chart showing Gartner's Magic Quadrant 2016 analysis of digital marketing hubs, with Adobe Marketing Cloud reviewed as the most complete and joint best in execution.

“Many marketers have adopted Adobe as their standard for digital marketing applications, incorporating other providers only in areas where Adobe lacks offerings, such as e-commerce. While Adobe supports open integration with outside applications, its core service layer, including profiles and audiences, administration, and collaboration tools, creates incentives to stay within its suite. Consider Adobe if you are a midsize-to-large B2C enterprise looking to compete on quality of customer experience and personalization.” – Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Hubs, pub. 5 January 2016

A consultant to UNICEF gave the package a mixed review over at TrustRadius, finding it powerful but pricey, as well as potentially tricky to implement:

“ROI on Adobe Marketing Cloud purchase – Adobe Marketing Cloud has been a valuable customer-aquisition asset for several B2B companies I’ve had contact with. While return in investment depends on other variables surrounding the tool and the business, consistent increase in lead-to-conversion rates have been a good indication of increase in performance.
For B2C businesses, however, Adobe Marketing Cloud can be an overkill solution. Its high license, implementation and maintenance costs make it a hard investment to back, since cheaper solutions can provide the same kinds of insights.” – Rodrigo Domingues, Integrated Marketing Consultant, UNICEF


Adobe Marketing Cloud pricing: How much is it?

A picture of piles of coins for the Adobe Marketing Cloud pricing section

Adobe Marketing Cloud pricing is a bit tricky to nail down, as it is made up of eight products that can be subscribed to in any combination; pricing is also dependent on company size.

The services are for enterprise customers with complex digital marketing needs and budgets that can accommodate a minimum spend in the tens of thousands of dollars.

If you want to know exact pricing, it is best to contact an Adobe salesperson.

A former CMO for Acquia (a smaller CMS rival) argues that Adobe Marketing Cloud is simply not a mid-market product:

“It’s no secret that Adobe CQ [experience manager] is the most expensive CMS. Adobe said during their recent partner summit that the average CQ deal is $450,000 in license with the total implementation cost of over $2m USD. Adobe’s focus is squarely on the largest companies who value their entire Marketing Cloud…” – Tom Wentworth, writing as Chief Marketing Officer, Acquia


Adobe Marketing Cloud Exchange – what is it?

A screen grab of the home page of Adobe Marketing Cloud exchange

Adobe Marketing Cloud Exchange – launched in May 2014 – is a marketplace for AMC applications, some of which better integrate Adobe products with each other as well as third-party apps.


Adobe Marketing Cloud training videos

A picture of the home page for official Adobe Marketing Cloud video resources

Adobe has its own video platform, where a lot of its most valuable official content is hosted, as opposed to YouTube. Best to use the search function to look for walkthroughs about particular products.

If you’re feeling a bit lost with Adobe Analytics, it has an official YouTube Channel featuring a number of short videos ranging from simple to expert tips.

Digital marketing agency Axis41 publishes an Adobe Experience Manager podcast – as well as a few short spotlight videos on various aspects of the software – YouTube Playlist.

Here’s a quick video tour of Adobe Social, with a playlist of relevant videos also on the page.

This 13-minute Adobe Target product showcase will give you a good sense of the personalisation tools available.


Most valuable Adobe Marketing Cloud resources

Adobe has a well-stocked resource centre for its Marketing Cloud services.

Case study: See how Chelsea Football Club arrived at their purchase of Adobe Marketing Cloud via IT firm CACI and how they implement it across the business.

Case study: House of Fraser’s Paid Search Manager talks about how the company uses Adobe Media Optimizer for Search within Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Marketo updates: Latest news from a marketing automation leader

Welcome to TFM’s Marketo hub – a regularly updated resource of advice and information about one of the world’s leading marketing automation platforms.

Top links:

An image with the text Marketo updates hub featuring a cartoon scientist offering a comprehensive guide

What is Marketo?

Marketo, founded in 2006, is known for its marketing automation software, and claim to be the ‘best in class for marketing automation’. Marketo’s cloud-based applications cover a variety of bases including email, mobile, social, advertising, website management and analytics.

In its first 10 years, it wrestled with the likes of HubSpot for SME customers, but early 2016 saw Marketo shift towards competing with the giants of the marketing sector like Oracle, Salesforce and Adobe and their respective “marketing clouds”.

Gartner’s 2016 ‘Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Hubs’, positions Marketo as a leader in the category alongside Oracle, Adobe and Salesforce:

Gartner digital hub


It’s not just the consultants who like Marketo. Last year, TFM visitors voted Marketo the third most loved  marketing technology and users compare Marketo favourably to other marketing automation solutions in the market.

This comparison from users of TrustRadius shows an overall rating of 8.3 out of 10, with a particularly high score for lead management.

Marketo Trust Radius


Marketo in 20 seconds

We asked Elizabeth Smyth, Marketo’s Marketing Director to explain what they do in just 20 seconds. Here is what she said…

An open platform

A key difference between Marketo and its ‘Marketing Cloud’ competitors, is that they are an open platform, integrating with a wide range of partners, while Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce are focused on integrating with their own products.

Marketo’s Launchpoint ecosystem of partners means that it integrates easily with various partners, such as the leading social relationship platforms highlighted in Forrester Wave research:




Marketo’s demo page has some helpful 4 minute videos on different aspects of the products, such as this lead management demo:

Marketo summit: The Marketing Nation Summit

Taking place in Las Vegas from May 9-12 2016, The Marketing Nation Summit is Marketo’s branded conference, with Arianna Huffington and John Legend among this year’s keynote speakers.

Previous years have seen the summit based in San Francisco in early April with 2015 enjoying an international roadshow which visited various US cities as well as the UK, Germany, Paris, Canada and Australia.

Marketo updates: What’s the latest news?

MAY 2016 – Acquisition

Marketo has been acquired by Vista Equity Partners for $1.79 billion, taking the company private again  TFM.

the vista equity partners logo

CEO Phil Fernandez stated that:

“The acquisition will allow Marketo to continue to focus on customer success and to remain the independent category leader, continuing to set the agenda for product innovation and thought leadership for the entire digital marketing industry.”

MARCH 2016 – Strategic partnership
Marketo is teaming up with consulting firm Accenture to help it land big, strategic accounts/ This upmarket mission will put its sales team in direct competition with the likes of Oracle and Salesforce – Fortune.

The Marketo and Accenture logos

MARCH 2106 – Board reshuffle
Three existing Marketo executives will fill new roles: Fred Ball (former CFO) becomes executive vice president and chief administrative officer (CAO); Brian Kinion becomes senior vice president and chief financial officer (CFO); and Jason Holmes (former CCO) is promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO) – PR Newswire.

FEBRUARY 2016 – C-Suite appointment
Marketo hires its first chief security officer, 25-year veteran Jason Hoffman – CSO Online.


Marketo pricing: How much is it?

Marketo’s 2016 pricing is a little tricky to pin down, especially on its website – possibly because of the “desperate price competition coming from the large suite vendors” identified by Phil Fernandez, Marketo CEO.

Marketing Automation and G2 Crowd note Marketo’s three packages starting from $895 per month for Spark; Standard starts from $1,795 per month; Select is from $3,195.

Marketo offers a number of solution bundles including email marketing, lead management, consumer marketing, customer base marketing and mobile marketing – you’ll need to contact sales to find out more about pricing for these and enterprise packages.

Capterra published a marketing automation roundup in 2014, at which time Marketo’s three packages were priced as such: Spark (starting at $1,195 per month), Standard (starting at $1,995 per month) and Select (starting at $3,195 per month). In 2013, The Sales Lion published an in-depth look at Marketo, Pardot and Eloqua including a Total Cost of Ownership chart, finding that a mid-tier package would come to $47,940 a year for Marketo Standard.

Marketo API: What’s available?

Marketo offers a number of REST APIs including for leads, lists, campaigns, activities and more. These allow for the manipulation of data stored within Marketo.

Other REST APIs are covered on the Getting Started page, while developers can dive in with the Quick Start Guide.

Marketo also offers SOAP APIs.

Don’t know your API from your elbow? Our sister site eCommerce Insights took a top level look at the meaning of APIs.

Marketo certification and training

There are three certifications available from Marketo directly, for active customers only:

  • Certified Expert – involving the completion of the relevant learning path in Marketo University and passing a 90 minute exam.
  • Certified Revenue Cycle Analyst – involving the completion of the relevant learning path in Marketo University and passing a 90 minute exam.
  • Certified Consultant – this involves a 2-day workshop (the fee is $1995), strategy project and presentation in addition to a 90 minute exam.

Marketo have published a certification FAQ PDF.

Marketing Rockstar Guides has a few extra tips for people thinking about getting certified (for Marketo, that is).

HubSpot updates: Pricing, academy, certification, CRM

What’s in our HubSpot hub?

An image with the text the Hubspot updates hub featuring a cartoon scientist offering a comprehensive guide

What is HubSpot?

HubSpot software is all about inbound marketing. What is inbound marketing, you ask? It’s a catch-all term for everything that helps potential customers to find you, rather than you seeking them out (outbound marketing). One of the company’s maxims is “Don’t interrupt buyers, attract them”.

The HubSpot platform concerns itself with blogging, search engine optimisation (SEO), social media, lead management, landing pages, calls-to-action, marketing automation, email, analytics and mobile.

See what HubSpot has to say for itself in two and a half minutes:

HubSpot updates: What’s the latest news?

MARCH 2016 – Book review
An early book review of former HubSpot employee Dan Lyons’ forthcoming book describes a scathing exposé of the company’s culture – Kirkus.

JULY 2015 – C-Suite firing

Amidst a “mysterious ethics scandal” at HubSpot, CMO Mike Volpe was fired for violating the company’s code of business conduct and ethics code. A vice president, Joe Chernov, resigned and CEO Brian Halligan was fined over the incident, involving a forthcoming book written by former employee Dan Lyons – The Boston Globe.

JUNE 2015 – CRM release
HubSpot took its free CRM product out of beta, designed to help sales rep avoid tedious data entry and interaction management – TechCrunch.


HubSpot pricing: How much is it?

HubSpot’s pricing page delineates between its freemium sales/CRM software and its main marketing platform, which starts from £140 per month (it only bills annually, so £1680 per year) with a “required onboarding” – a one-off service charge – of £420.

The Basic marketing package covers blog and social publishing, SEO and certain calls-to-action, landing page, lead management, analytics and email marketing functionality. Marketing automation is only available via the Pro (£6,720 per year + £2,100 required onboarding) and Enterprise (£20,160 per year + £3,500 required onboarding) packages.

There are additional extras, including increasing the cap of the number of contacts you can have as well as website, reporting and advertising options.

HubSpot CRM is free, as is its smart email browser extension Sidekick. If you went to get into calling and setting meetings with prospects through Sidekick, you will need the $50 per user per month Sidekick for Business.

HubSpot Academy: Training and certification

HubSpot updates - the hubspot academy logo

The HubSpot Academy is stocked to the gills with training videos and step by step guides based around “Projects”, utilising several tools from across the platform. You’ll need a HubSpot account to access materials – you could always sign up for a 30 day free HubSpot trial in order to see what’s inside.

HubSpot Academy has published a handful of videos on its YouTube channel.

HubSpot offers classroom training across the US as well as in Dublin, Amsterdam and Singapore, but nothing in the UK as of yet.

You might be interested in the “inbound certification” (SEO, blogging, landing pages, lead nurturing, conversion analysis and reporting) that HubSpot offers for free, comprising 12 classes across 4.5 hours of video. This is available to anyone and concludes with an exam.

Separately, there is a free HubSpot Certification marketing course for customers involving an exam and a supervised “practicum”.

HubSpot CRM: Free software for small businesses

Aimed at helping out small businesses with small budgets, HubSpot offers a free CRM package for simplifying the management of sales contacts.

Reviewers praise its modernity, ease of use and its integrated database tools, whilst criticising its reporting features and email template cap (limited to five in the free version).

An optional, additional part of the free sales offering is Sidekick, a browser extension that enables email tracking, scheduling and the creation of contact profiles.

For features like calling, more sophisticated email scheduling and meeting booking, Sidekick for Business comes in at $50 per user per month.

Oracle Marketing Cloud updates: Pricing, academy, partners

An image with the text The Oracle marketing cloud updates hub featuring a cartoon scientist offering a comprehensive guideWhat’s in our Oracle Marketing Cloud hub?

What’s in the Oracle Marketing Cloud?

In April 2014, Oracle announced it was getting into the marketing cloud space, bringing together tech assembled through acquisition, including Eloqua (marketing automation), Responsys (cross-channel marketing), Compendium (content distribution) and BlueKai (data management). In December 2014 it added Datalogix (marketing analytics) and in the middle of 2015, testing and optimisation firm Maxymiser was acquired.

Oracle breaks up the offerings into cross-channel, content and social marketing and data management. This includes:

  • Oracle Eloqua – Marketing automation software based on cross-channel campaigns, with analytics. Ostensibly for marketing to businesses.
  • Oracle Responsys – A similar raft of tools but for marketing to consumers, with some nifty real-time consumer behaviour features.
  • Content Marketing – Includes centralised content planning, personlisation, tailored workflows for content generation, cross-channel and social media publishing and analytics.
  • Social Marketing – social listening, engagement, publishing and analytics.
  • Oracle Data Management Platform (AKA Oracle DMP or Oracle Bluekai) – For managing audience data, analytics, a 3rd party audience data marketplace and pre-integrated advertising partners.

Oracle’s approach is slightly different from its marketing cloud competitors, such as Salesforce (TFM’s updates hub), IBM (updates hub) and Adobe (updates hub), with an explicit emphasis being made on openness and integration rather than being a “monolithic suite”.

Oracle created a gently amusing cartoon series to elaborate on their “Modern Marketing” campaign for the marketing cloud – the trailer for Season 1 is an entertaining two minutes:

Oracle Marketing Cloud pricing

Oracle Eloqua’s monthly cost for a database under 10,000 contacts is $2,000 for the Basic plan (up to 10 marketing users), $4,000 for Standard (up to 50 marketing users and adding various features including priority service) and you’d need to contact sales about the Enterprise plan.

TrustRadius puts Oracle Responsys’s entry-level setup fee at $16,250 per account.

Oracle Marketing Cloud updates: What’s the latest news?

NOVEMBER 2015 – New features
A raft of new upgrades to OMC let marketers orchestrate mobile customer engagement, clearly attribute revenue to marketing activities, and optimise experiences for individual customers – VentureBeat.

OCTOBER 2015 – New features

New product Match Multiplier was announced the OpenWorld conference, designed to bring together participating Marketing Cloud users to anonymously “pool” their capacity to identify customers across multiple channels. Other new features include Offline Data Append and Business Units for Content MarketingAd Exchanger.

AUGUST 2015 – Acquisition

Oracle slots cloud-based marketing tools provider Maxymiser – used for testing, optimisation and personalisation – into its marketing cloud lineup – Business Cloud News.

Oracle Marketing Cloud Academy

A cartoon representation of an online course

The Oracle Marketing Cloud Academy offers a range of classes for marketing professionals to hone their chops.

Course are split up into the four broad segments that Oracle identifies for its marketing cloud products – B2B, B2C, data management and content marketing.

You can get onsite or remote, team or one-on-one training. Content can be consumed on demand or via interactive webcast.

Customer of OMC can buy an All Access Education Pass (AAEP) for individuals.

There are two Oracle Eloqua (B2B) certification programs – the B2B Marketing Masters and B2B Marketing Luminary.

Supposedly there are certification programmes coming (“in 2015”) for Oracle Responsys (B2C) – dubbed “B2C Marketing Campaign Master” and “B2C Marketing Program Master”.

Google Analytics updates: Certification, API, tutorial

Welcome for our hub for Google Analytics updates, a regularly updated page with the latest on GA certification, API, tutorials, videos and our pick of blog posts.

What’s in our Google Analytics hub?

A picture of a scientist making notes about the Google Analytics hub.

Download the Google Analytics Essentials 2016

Download our exclusive 25 page download

If you want to get more from Google Analytics, make sure you download this report about the world’s most popular and powerful analytics platforms.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics (often referred to as “GA” or its newer version “Universal Analytics”) is a service for you to track how people use your website or mobile apps. The basic features are free and available to anyone with a Google Account (also free). It can be used to measure simple things like the number of visitors over a given period or provide more complex data like how long a visitor spends on a particular page, what device they’re using and how they arrived there.

Google Analytics was launched in 2005, a time when many companies were paying for tools like WebTrends to generate website analytics. Gradually they realised that Google Analytics was free and more than adequate in terms of functionality. Google was able to provide the service for free because it fit so well with its highly profitable AdWords product, encouraging businesses to keep spending money on pay-per-click search campaigns.

Linking AdWords with Google Analytics enables a more complete data picture when it comes to AdWords campaigns – something which, unsurprisingly, Google encourages.

Google Analytics updates: What’s the latest news?

MARCH 2016 – New features
Google takes on the big marketing clouds through an upgrade to Google Analytics Premium, dubbed the Google Analytics 360 Suite, turning it into a capable marketing data management and analysis platform – Smart Insights.

DECEMBER 2015 – Features

The Smart Goals feature, via Google Analytics, comes to AdWords for advertisers that aren’t able to track conversions in order to optimise campaigns – press release.

JUNE 2015 – Features

Google brings Remarketing Lists for Search Ads [now known as “Audiences”] to Google Analytics, with limitations – analysis from Search Engine Land.

Here’s a guide to how “Remarketing” works – Google Support.


How Google Analytics Works

Congratulations – you’ve enabled a powerful tool that will generate lots of statistics for you. Trouble is, that torrent of information won’t be much use until you define what it is you want to know in the first place.

Broadly speaking, when using Google Analytics, you’re taking part in the cycle: measure, learn from the results, tweak accordingly, measure and so on.

Some things you can find out include:

  • How is my audience finding my site? (where they came from = “source”)
  • How many people are visiting my site? (visitors = “users”)
  • How long do they stay? (duration of a single visit = a “session”)
  • How many different pages are they clicking between? (“pages per session”)
  • Which pages are most interesting?
  • What search queries are bringing people to my site?

As with your business, you should have goals that you want your website to achieve, for instance by August, you want to see newsletter subscriptions grow to 10,000.

To help you measure whether you’re reaching your goals, Google Analytics has a feature aptly named “Goals”. The helpful people over at Kissmetrics have written an in-depth guide to the different types of goals.

The Google Small Business YouTube channel has a video which can help you decide what you want to measure:

If there’s a term you didn’t quite understand, there’s a handy glossary over at Socialmediaexaminer.com.

Google Analytics is designed around the structure of Accounts, Properties and Views:

  • An Account (of which you can have 100) is the umbrella under which…
  • …you can track up to 50 Properties (distinct websites or apps)…
  • …and you can have 25 Views per Property. This is the level at which you’ll create reports

For more info on these hierarchies, have a look at Google’s support pages.

Google Analytics review: What the analysts say

This Datanyze chart compares analytics software used across the top 1 million Alexa-ranked websites: Google Analytics and Google Universal Analytics enjoy a whopping 65% combined market share:

A Datanyze chart of the market share of analytics software across the Alexa top ranking 1 million sites, showing Google Analytics and Universal Analytics enjoying a combined 65%
TrustRadius published reviews of Google Analytics all score the service 7/10 or above, although there are some caveats:

“For most SMB’s I would definitely recommend Google Analytics. If a business sells a lot of ‘complex’ products with many attributes, then Omniture [Adobe Analytics] may be a better solution.” – Michael Baker, Digital Marketing Manager, Raymour & Flanagan.

Generally, people are effusive:

“As a free product, Google Analytics is hands down a fantastic value and a terrific tool for everyone from professional marketers, to beginning bloggers or search engine marketers.” – Joshua Van Horsen, Marketing Manager, Drury Hotels

Google Analytics Academy, training and certification

A picture of the three pillars of the Google Analytics Academy: "View lessons from experts", "test your knowledge" and "join the learning community"

Google Analytics Academy is a website stuffed full of free courses and resources. The courses cover things like Tag Manager Fundamentals, Mobile App Analytics and Ecommerce Analytics.

If you’re so inclined, you can take short quizzes and try exercises.

There are numerous other providers of local or online GA training, such as UK-based Jellyfish (£500 + VAT for a one day London course) and Lynda.com (which operates a monthly membership subscription + free one month trial).

The Google Partners accreditation scheme for advertising agencies, digital marketing professionals and other online consultants offers a Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ). The exam is free, although there are plenty of hoops to jump through to become a Google Partner, not least a minimum AdWords spend in the tens of thousands USD.

The Google Analytics IQ exam tests knowledge of both digital analytics and GA. In advance you should consider these Analytics Academy courses: Digital Analytics Fundamentals and Google Analytics Platform Principles.

Then there is the company level The Google Analytics Certified Partner accreditation program with its own set of requirements.

What is available through the Google Analytics API?

A flowchart showing the Google analytics structure and APIs

There are a number of APIs for Google Analytics, including the Management API (info relating to GA accounts) and the Core Reporting API (the report data itself – pageviews etc).

The Google Developers site gives a good overview of the various APIs, as well as resources relating to them.

Optimizesmart.com has a simple to follow but deep guide to using the basic GA APIs without any coding.

Google Analytics tutorial: Useful resources

The Google Developers site is a great place to start for technical know-how.

Here’s a top-level overview presentation about the importance of analytics, if you need a primer –

Digital agency ArcStone has collected together a useful list of resources, starting from the basics.

This video covers the essential functionality of the platform:

Google has its own repository of white papers and other resources with some things to read on the customer journey, for instance this guide to digital attribution and customer touchpoint mapping: “Four Ways To Measure What Matters Most” – PDF.

This article, for search marketers, goes over the benefits of combining Google Analytics with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads – Search Engine Land.

Building reports and filters

The various standard reports live on the left-hand sidebar of the main reporting screen.

A picture of the Google Analytics reporting dashboard

These defaults can be limited in terms of how relevant they are to your particular business.

Custom reports can be used to isolate the stats that really matter – Econsultancy has a few handy examples of custom reports.


Filters are a handy way to help keep things simple and relevant. They can be set to include or exclude certain data, and can cut across all domains or be applied just to one. A good example is that you might want to differentiate traffic caused by your own employees on your website from that of customers.

You can access filters via the Admin tab:

A screengrab of the Google Analytics admin tab showing where filters are
Google Analytics’ support pages cover Filters extensively, including this introduction video:

A quick history of Google Analytics

Google Analytics service was launched in November 2005 following Google’s acquisition of web statistics company Urchin. After some hiccups with high demand causing capacity issues, the service was made available to everyone in August 2006.

In late 2009, Google launched a new version of the tracking code added to users’ websites, improving the accuracy of the data generated and addressing previous complaints that the service was causing websites to load more slowly for their visitors.

Over the years, the kinks have been ironed out of Google Analytics’ usability, with the somewhat addictive feature of real-time data being added in 2011, meaning you can see who is using your site at any given moment.

Universal Analytics, announced in 2012 and launched in 2014, was the last major update to the platform, designed to help users keep track of site visitors across different devices. It currently exists alongside “classic” Google Analytics and, as with older versions of Windows, is causing some companies anxiety over the ease and timing of migration.

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