A Cheaper Alternative to Marketing Analytics
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A Cheaper Alternative to Marketing Analytics

4 minute read
Tom Murphy avatar

If 2012 was the year of the cloud and 2013 saw broad acceptance of big data,2014 could go down as the year of cheaper analytics.

The year has been filled with announcements of new features from scores ofvendors of all sizes, from SaaS providers like Gainsightand gShift up to pricier systemsfrom Adobe, IBM,SDL and Oracle.

The latest example comes from RivalIQ, an 18-month-old, seed-funded startup in Seattle that already claimsthousands of users, including "a healthy community of paid users,"according to CMO Margaret Dawson — aka "Chief Marketing Badass, Fountain of Sarcasm."

A Simpler Approach

On Tuesday, Rival IQ released the beta version of a new SEO Analyticsfeature, which is now included  in all the company's service tiers, fromits free trial to its $399 a month ProPlus tier. The company's service alreadyincluded analytics for websites and social media.

To be sure, this probably isn't the ideal tool for corporations withmarketing budgets in the tens of millions of dollars. But for the SMB market, itmight fill a void or provide an easier approach for marketers who shy away fromtechnically advanced enterprise installations.

"I think a lot of marketers are dealing with the complexity of usingmultiple tools that are very expensive," said Dawson, who used  Radian6,SiteCatalyst (Omniture), NetBaseand other premium tools in her recent role as VP for product management in HP'scloud computing division.

Low-cost Data

"What we're trying to do is give enough dataacross all the different areas at a very affordable price so you have one placeto go where you can grab simple charts and very quick reports, and then exporteverything to PowerPoint, CSV or PDFs," she said.

With about 1,000 companies now swimming in the digital marketing/analyticspond, it seems like each has specialties, and Rival IQ is no exception.

"Our sweet spot is that we look at multiple digital channels. We look atsocial, SEO and web. Within social, we look at multiple networks. We also lookat web positioning and metrics around your website," Dawson told CMSWire inan interview. "We also do it for multiple companies. You can create amarket landscape and put in as many companies as you want."

Watching Competitors

The landscape feature is particularly interesting because it allows users tosee what their competitors are doing in social and SEO. It can also be used toresearch best practices for an entire area, such as e-commerce. 

As Dawson noted in herblog earlier this week, "with Google increasingly removing organickeyword source data from its own analytics products," it has become moredifficult for marketers at SMBs to determine which keywords are using, which thecompetition uses and how to optimize your keywords. She said her company'scustomers have been asking for help in this area.

Learning Opportunities

2014-26-June-RivalIQ.jpg

The beta SEO analytics tool currently looks at five areas, relying on datafrom SEMRush.  Theinitial five areas are:

  • Positioning and Change: Where your keywords rank and where you'veimproved and declined in ranking
  • Highest Traffic Keywords: The estimated percentage of traffic thatkeywords drive to your site, search volume and current position on Google
  • Keywords in Common: How multiple companies compete for the samekeywords, traffic volume, cost-per-click, and source URL, all shown in onechart
  • Top Keywords You Don't Own: The top keywords for your chosenlandscape, including search volumes, web traffic, source URL and currentsearch position for each keyword
  • Top Keywords By Company: Which keywords drive the most traffic toeach company in your landscape, including search volume, CPC, trafficpercentage and keyword ranking

Dawson said other areas will be added based on customer demand.

In the screenshot above, you can see how the Keywords in Common feature isused to look at keywords used by several companies. Hovering over any of thecompanies, pulls up data about the company's use of each term.

Slicing and Dicing

"So we have different ways of slicing and dicing the market to help youdrive strategy, to help you think what you need to do differently, to comparedifferent market landscapes in your general market," said Dawson, who beganusing Rival IQ while still at HP.

If this sounds like a simplified approach to marketing metrics, you'restarting to understand the goal of Rival IQ and some of the other SaaS playersin today's analytics market.

"The data-driven marketing discipline has become a necessity, but wehave so many different tools that we're trying to use to see how we're doing.That's what we need to change," Dawson told us. "My job is how do Imake this easy, fast, affordable and impactful so that marketers can besuccessful."