Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Top 10 Fastest Growing Marketing Automation Platforms

Marketing automation remains a hot category with multiple rapidly growing vendors. Google searches for the term "marketing automation" have increased 50% over last year. From Q2 to Q3, TrustRadius experienced a 25% increase in unique page views for marketing automation products – a measure for how many people are running product evaluations on our site. This figure factors some improvement in our search rankings, so it’s not a precise representation of category growth, however it indicates strong category growth.

In Q3, the most evaluated marketing automation products on TrustRadius were Hubspot and Marketo, followed by Pardot (from Salesforce), Act-On, Eloqua (from Oracle) and ExactTarget (from Salesforce). We include ExactTarget as a Marketing Automation solution as they have continued to add relationship management oriented features to their offering.

The most evaluated products sell to broad populations of businesses. Hubspot’s stated target market is companies with 10 to 2,000 employees and they are particularly strong among SMBs (75% of the Hubspot reviews on TrustRadius are companies with less than 50 employees). Marketo has offerings for small business through large enterprises and is currently most penetrated among mid-market companies (55% of Marketo reviews on TrustRadius are from companies from 51-500 employees). By contrast IBM Unica only sells to very large enterprises.

However, the most evaluated products also tend to have higher user satisfaction ratings than those that are less frequently evaluated. The average likelihood to recommend score on TrustRadius for the five most evaluated marketing automation products is 8.8/10 versus 7.6/10 for the next five.

The rankings are slightly different when looking at evaluation growth rates - the rate of growth in unique page views by product. The fastest evaluation growth rates on TrustRadius were experienced by Hubspot and Pardot, followed by ExactTarget, Marketo and Act-On. It seems that the Salesforce.com acquisition of ExactTarget and Pardot has helped increase the level of interest in those products.

While evaluation rates and their associated growth are strong indicators of company momentum and appear somewhat correlated to product satisfaction, it is important to remember that there’s rarely a one-size-fits-all right choice for every company. The feature sets of these offerings vary, and it’s important to understand which solutions are the best fit for your business objectives and context. One key factor that distinguishes these products is for what size of company they are optimized.

The Wild West of Social Media Management

The social media management software industry is a bit like The Wild West.

Exhibit A: Here, here and here are three different ways of naming and categorizing the tools that help businesses manage multiple social media accounts.

Exhibit B: There are 140+ products listed on TrustRadius that assist with some facet of social media management or marketing, meaning that this vendor landscape we launched last November is pretty much out of date. (This trend matches the proliferation of marketing technology in general: See the evolution of Scott Brinker's marketing technology landscape.)

Exhibit C: In a recent poll of the TrustRadius audience, 75% of the respondents who use social media management software use more than one tool... and 14% of those who use more than one tool actually use six or more.

In a follow-up question, we asked respondents whether they prefer to use a single tool with comprehensive social media management capabilities, or multiple tools with specialized features. Respondents that currently use more than one tool resoundingly would prefer a single tool -- 71% of them, to be exact. And respondents that currently use one tool definitely want to keep it that way -- 100% of them prefer a single tool.

Software vendors are certainly aware of their customers' collective desire to tame the beast. Vendors that were once focused on social listening are adding engagement features, and vendors that were once focused on management are adding more depth to their listening capabilities. Many are adding more niche capabilities to their arsenals through acquisitions. See Spredfast's merger with social curation platform Mass Relevance, HootSuite's acquisition of social analytics tool UberVu, and Sprinklr's decision to launch a paid media product.

Then, there's the marketing cloud vendors beefing up their social offerings as well. Salesforce is finally launching a unified social tool through Radian6 + Buddy Media Social Studio, and Oracle built its Social Relationship Management Platform through the three acquisitions of Vitrue, Collective Intellect, and Involver.

Can there really be one social media management tool that does it all? Maybe. But Richard Margetic, head of social media at Intuit and previously at Dell, says it hasn't happened yet. "We've got to pick and choose among the landscape to meet our needs," he says. "Each one does something well, but fails miserably in other areas that are important to a company. We end up with multiple tools that have overlapping functionality in order to get everything we need to be successful in social. We’re not optimizing our spend, and still not getting the cohesive capabilities that we need to meet the business requirements."

Our poll respondents who use more than one social media management tool but would prefer just one would likely agree. What do you think?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Why did HubSpot build a CRM? An interview with Mike Volpe, CMO.

Executive interview by Vinay Bhagat, CEO TrustRadius.

Just over a month ago, HubSpot, widely known for its comprehensive online marketing suite and as the torch bearer for inbound marketing, took many including myself, by surprise in announcing their own CRM solution at their user conference. 

HubSpot’s stated market focus is companies from 10 to 2,000 employees, however we estimate that 75% of their customers are SMBs with <50 employees (using the 158 reviews on TrustRadius as a guide). In recent years, HubSpot has been increasingly focused on attracting and retaining larger clients through adding more powerful marketing features. For example, in 2011, they acquired Performable, an email centric marketing automation provider, and in 2013 they upgraded their content management system (COS).  At first blush, entering the CRM category seems like a departure from this strategy as the likely initial market is smaller companies. It does however further reinforce their position with SMBs and allows them to ultimately earn a higher “share of wallet” among those customers, once they elect to charge for the offering. I caught up with Mike Volpe, CMO to ask about the move and learn more about their new offering.

What drove HubSpot to launch a CRM?

Our customers have been asking us to build a CRM for years--it’s been the #1 request by a large margin, so part of it is solving for our customers. But the second reason is that we really see a parallel between the shift that has transpired in marketing and what will happen in sales in the next few years. The way people shop and buy has fundamentally changed, and it’s not just marketers who need to adapt accordingly--sales needs to change too. There are a lot of sales acceleration tools available and a lot of CRMs available, but integrating them all to extract value can be a headache, so we designed the HubSpot Sales Platform to transform selling from interruptive to relevant, and created technology designed for the rep instead of just the sales manager. The result? A more relevant, targeted sales experience for your end consumer, and a sales team that can close leads faster, better, and smarter every day.

Note: A 2012 study by Dell of cloud business application adoption by companies with 50-499 employees indicated 69 percent prefer to purchase technology from a single, trusted vendor.

How large do you believe the market opportunity is?  

We believe sales technology is in its early innings, particularly in the sales acceleration space. Today the majority of our customers do not use a CRM (~60%) so we believe this is a greenfield opportunity. We are not looking to convert people who already have a CRM they like, that works for their business. We just think that the millions of businesses worldwide not using a CRM (or using HubSpot’s marketing platform or Google docs as a de facto CRM) can do better.

Note: The same 2012 Dell study indicated that 55 percent of companies with 50-499 employees surveyed had already adopted a CRM.  We have not found a similar study for companies <50 employees.

Of the 78k people using Sidekick/Signals, how many of them have a CRM? 

Note: Sidekick is HubSpot’s browser extension which helps sales people track email opens.

We aren’t releasing specific breakdowns of Sidekick users, but this percentage is higher--as you might imagine, sales reps worldwide want all the information they can possibly get about their prospective buyer, so sales reps at companies of many different sizes are using Sidekick to give them a competitive advantage selling.

What is the initial intended target market?

Small to mid-sized companies who don’t currently leverage a CRM or who have tried implementing a CRM but been unsuccessful. The reality is that small businesses often struggle to make CRMs work for them, so the HubSpot CRM is designed with the sales rep in mind and to play well with existing systems (such as Salesforce or the HubSpot marketing platform) to make adoption significantly easier. As far as company size, we think about our target market as 10 to 2,000 employees. The CRM specifically will likely have huge agency adoption (we have 1,900 agency partners worldwide) and adoption throughout our existing customer base, and we believe over time it will attract net new HubSpot users as well.

How do you differentiate from other CRM solutions?

Because we are starting with companies that don’t currently use a CRM, I see it less as a feature battle with existing players and more as a value proposition for companies to get off the sidelines and into the game. But generally, I’d say a few things make our product different:

a)    You get the benefits of using a CRM without feeling like you’re using a CRM--because the HubSpot CRM operates within your browser, sales reps no longer have to skip between countless screens and applications to connect and engage with prospects
b) Integration with HubSpot’s marketing platform: One of the reasons why CRM adoption falls short is that it’s incumbent upon reps to do it, and they are rarely incentivized to use CRMs unless their commissions are predicated upon its use. If your company is already using HubSpot for marketing, the integration power with the CRM starts day one, so it can help companies practice sales and marketing alignment in a meaningful way with truly integrated systems of record across marketing and sales departments. 
c) The HubSpot CRM is built for today’s sales rep: all of your data is available via the HubSpot mobile app, and every tweet, email, and interaction an individual has had with your brand is logged seamlessly all in one location. 

The product is currently positioned as designed more for the sales person versus the manager. Are there truly no managerial tools or is the distinction more one of current emphasis?

We think about that point a bit differently than you phrased it--currently most CRM systems work just fine for managers--they can track deals and opportunities and see what their pipeline looks like, but the only thing it does for the rep is create work. The average sales rep can spend hours logging calls and tracking each of their deals in a CRM, but with little payoff (except for their commission payout and compliance). We thought we could do better: why not create a CRM that transform the buying experience for your end customer that doesn’t create work for your sales rep? 

On the manager side, keep in mind that our system was designed not to displace existing CRMs, but rather to get more companies off the sidelines and into the sales technology game. So the comparison really should be to Google Docs or Excel or nothing at all. At many businesses worldwide, “managers” wear multiple hats (from sales and marketing to everything operations related), so having a single system of record across sales and marketing with sales functionality that helps your rep sell better, faster, and smarter is a huge asset. 

Can you elaborate on the “free” pricing offer – are there any restrictions?

The HubSpot CRM is currently in beta, and it’s free--we are currently in the process of rolling it out to existing HubSpot marketing platform customers, and will roll it out to additional users in 2015. The product is completely free, and we are going to get a better sense of how, when, and where people use it and revisit its packaging and usage from there. But right now, it’s completely free with no restrictions, which is why people should sign up for the waiting list ASAP. 

Does it share a common database with HubSpot marketing or is it a separate database?

It’s the exact same database, so there’s even more incentive to adopt HubSpot’s sales and marketing platforms together. 

Does your CRM only work with HubSpot’s marketing platform, or will it integrate with other online marketing tools?

Right now the CRM integrates with both Sidekick and the HubSpot marketing platform--once we launch, we’ll revisit additional integrations.

It looks like you’re positioning it as part of a larger sales platform along with Sidekick. What’s your vision?

Our vision is to transform sales in the same way that we’ve transformed marketing, helping companies sell more effectively and empowering reps to prospect and connect in relevant ways instead of relying upon outdated tactics and technology that don’t resonate. Sidekick is CRM agnostic, freemium, and incredibly easy to use, so, while I think every rep in the world should use it, I also believe you don’t have to be a sales person to benefit from Sidekick--every single person on our team uses it, so it’s not restricted to sales reps in terms of value. 

How does this announcement impact moving up-market? Is there anything you can share with respect to what you’re doing specifically to further serve the marketing needs of upper-mid market companies?

We aren’t moving up-market, we’re in the mid-market, which is unique in our space. We serve businesses primarily in the 10 employees to 2000 employee range, and that’s been consistent the past several years. Sidekick as I mentioned is effective for companies of any size, while the HubSpot CRM and HubSpot Marketing Platform are both designed specifically for the needs of mid-market companies. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ensighten buys Anametrix to bolster its competitive position against Adobe, Google

Tag management vendor Ensighten announced this week that it acquired Anametrix, a cloud-based marketing analytics tool that allows companies to unify data from paid, owned and earned media to optimize their marketing campaigns.

Ensighten says the combination of the two platforms “unlocks the true power of customer data” by bringing together digital and offline data from disparate sources, such as web analytics, mobile apps, social media and CRM.

Web analytics consultant Francois Salvert, who wrote a review of Anametrix on TrustRadius, says that Anametrix is a solid product that is still evolving, and has “proven to be capable of handling data complexity.” The acquisition means a stronger and larger development team for Anametrix, and a “more horizontal product approach to web analytics” for Ensighten, he says. “It could be a great play, as long as their product remains open to other solutions.” Ensighten confirmed that the Anametrix product will remain open to integration with competitive tag management vendors.

Vendors such as Ensighten, Tealium and Signal (formerly BrightTag), many of whom started out as tag management solutions, are increasingly competing against the analytics and marketing cloud vendors who provide tag management as a free or low-cost part of their other offerings. Adobe purchased the tag management tool Satellite in 2013 and created Adobe Tag Manager. Google launched Google Tag Manager in 2012. Qubit, an up-and-coming vendor offering web analytics, testing, targeting and personalization, offers tag management through Qubit OpenTag.

Tag management systems (TMS) allow companies to consolidate the website code that various technology vendors (such as web analytics, personalization, marketing automation, and display advertising) require be placed on a website. The main value propositions of a TMS are to improve website performance and data collection, and allow marketers to control the deployment and management of new marketing technologies without heavy reliance on IT.

However, the embedded tag management tools now offered by the likes of Adobe and Google have similar value propositions, making it difficult for pure-play TMS vendors to compete on tag management alone. Stephane Hamel, Director of Innovation at analytics consultancy Cardinal Path, and expert featured in the TrustRadius Buyer’s Guide to Digital Analytics Software, wrote in a review of Google Tag Manager, “Some competing vendor claims include data ownership, vendor independence, faster processing, datawarehousing of all data tags, etc. However, in many cases, those can be debunked, are not mature, or not applicable to most client scenarios.”

He also says, “Tag Management is a problem that should have been solved by web analytics vendors a long time ago.” Of the Ensighten acquisition of Anametrix, Hamel says, “It strengthens the value proposition and becomes a differentiating factor in a niche market bound for further consolidation and clearer demonstration of benefits.”

One way TMS vendors compete with marketing cloud vendors is by allowing marketers to build their own custom marketing cloud by seamlessly integrating various best-of-breed solutions. Marketing cloud vendors such as Adobe, Oracle, IBM and Salesforce usually say that opting for a cloud solution versus combining best-of-breed solutions allows for better integration. Consultants and experts have differing opinions on the suite versus best-of-breed question.

Ensighten founder and CEO Josh Minion says, “The closed suites offered by the incumbent marketing cloud vendors have been developed by acquiring solutions and loosely integrating them. Due to the opportunistic nature of acquisitions these marketing clouds have grown in an ad-hoc manner and the primary focus is on trying to make their disparate tools work together. In contrast, Ensighten’s open marketing platform was founded on the principle of supporting all third-party marketing providers and technologies. The result is a next generation open marketing platform which enables marketers to tailor solutions to meet their specific needs, and future-proof their marketing technology investments.”

Tag management vendors are now branching out beyond tag management and re-positioning themselves as data platforms that help companies achieve a 360-view of the customer. Ensighten’s acquisition of Anametrix is the latest example. Tealium launched AudienceStream last year, which the company says is an “audience segmentation and data distribution platform that helps marketers drive more profitable customer interactions across digital touch points, using their existing cloud applications.”

David Ray, Corporate Vice President at New York Life Insurance, wrote in a review of Tealium on TrustRadius, “Its AudienceStream product takes Tealium well beyond its initial TM solution, and into both personalization and multi-channel territory.”

These actions are likely in part a response to the threat of suite vendors adding tag management to their arsenals. However, it is also a recognition of the opportunity presented by the increasing desire businesses have to use data from multiple touch points in new ways to optimize the customer experience and drive revenue. Tag management vendors sit at the juncture of various marketing technologies and data collection channels.

Jason Burby, President, Americas of the marketing agency POSSIBLE, says by managing the tags on companies’ websites, tag management systems can pull together information about users and even build up a customer profile: “It’s the connective glue, if you will.”

As such, tag management vendors—whether pure-play or part of a suite—are uniquely positioned to respond to this growing desire to unify and act on all available data.

Monday, October 6, 2014

TrustRadius Reveals Top Rated A/B Testing Software for Small Businesses, Mid-size Companies and Enterprises

Austin Texas, Oct 7th, 2014 - TrustRadius, the leading community for professionals to share candid insights about business software, today announced the release of its TrustMaps™ for A/B testing software, which rank products based on user ratings and adoption within each market segment - small businesses, mid-size companies and enterprises.

Unveiled in its first Buyer’s Guide to A/B Testing and Web Optimization Software, the TrustMaps™ quickly help software buyers locate the solutions most highly rated and adopted by their direct peer group and therefore most closely aligned to their needs.

Each TrustMap™ depicts A/B testing products on two dimensions – likelihood to recommend ratings by users and the estimated relative number of websites using the product within that company segment size. All ratings come from authenticated users of A/B testing tools on TrustRadius.com.

The Buyer’s Guide also distills the pros and cons of each software product, as cited by software users in 200 in-depth reviews.

Because success is not solely contingent on software selection, the guide includes a discussion of key factors for achieving success with A/B testing, drawn from interviews with highly regarded testing, analytics and conversion experts.

“The introduction of low-cost and easy-to-use tools and growing awareness of potential ROI has increased the practice of testing amongst marketers” said Vinay Bhagat, CEO of TrustRadius. “Our A/B Testing TrustMaps™ provide digital marketers with a pragmatic approach to identify the best-fit solutions based on market segment user satisfaction and adoption. Pure-play testing vendors such as Monetate, Maxymiser, SiteSpect, Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer are besting traditional vendors.”

Jason Burby, President, Americas at Possible says: "It is great to see a guide like this that covers large and small players, broken out by the size of clients' organizations as well. If you are evaluating any of these tools you now know the questions to ask each vendor during the sales process." 

Justin Rondeau, Chief Testing Evangelist at WhichTestWon adds: “With the rapid growth of the conversion rate optimization and A/B testing community, marketers need a reliable source for picking a testing tech. In this Buyer's Guide, TrustRadius went above and beyond by studying hundreds of reviews from actual test practitioners, and providing technical specs.”

Click on the image to see a larger view

Based on user ratings and market segment adoption, the Leaders within the Enterprise segment are:
Strong Performers in the Enterprise segment are Qubit, AB Tasty and SiteSpect.

                                                    Click on the image to see a larger view

In the Mid-Size segment, the Leader is: 
Strong Performers with high user satisfaction but lower mid-size segment adoption are AB Tasty, Maxymiser and Monetate.

                                                    Click on the image to see a larger view

In the Small Business segment the Leaders are: 
The Strong Performer in this segment is Monetate. Though focused on enterprise customers, the tool is also highly rated among small businesses.

Additional Insights on A/B Testing Software Market
  • 44 percent of A/B testing software users spend more than $10,000 per year on A/B testing software, and 48 percent expect to increase their spend in the coming year [1]
  • Many companies are using more than one testing tool, each tailored to a different technical skill level (43% of survey respondents)
  • In general, companies move from having one A/B testing champion, to a team dedicated to testing, to a testing-based culture, where different business units across the organization are involved in testing.
The Free Buyer’s Guide to A/B Testing Software is available here: http://www.trustradius.com/guides/ab

Thursday, September 25, 2014

3 Key Takeaways on State of Online Testing in 2014

Today our friends at WhichTestWon released their annual State of Online Testing Report, with some interesting findings that dovetail nicely with TrustRadius’ conversion rate optimization (CRO) series of buyer’s guides.

Like TrustRadius, they are not part of any testing agency or software firm. Their goal is to evangelize, educate and inspire more digital marketers to test for better conversions.

Here are our key takeaways:

Testing as an industry is growing in every way possible

More marketers are testing, more of those who are testing are seeing results, business is booming for testing tech and services vendors, and more companies plan to grow their testing efforts. According to the WhichTestWon survey, a whopping ZERO percent of respondents plan on reducing testing staff in 2015. Similarly, a recent TrustRadius survey showed that 48% of companies expect to spend more on testing software in the coming year.

WhichTestWon says that while e-commerce and lead generation marketers are doing the most testing, the biggest area of growth was among engagement marketers. With more transactional goals such as a sale or a form fill, it’s easier for e-commerce and lead generation marketers to measure results. Given this rise in engagement and brand-focused tests, testing software vendors will have to make it easier for marketers to set up engagement goals and measure ROI. 

Still, not everyone is doing it right

For our upcoming Buyer’s Guide to A/B Testing Software (coming in October!), we talked to ten experts in the CRO industry, all of whom emphasized the importance of understanding your visitors and customers in figuring out what to test. Yet, according to WhichTestWon’s report, ideas from other websites, best practices, and people’s “gut” (all “navel-gazing” activities, the report says) are used more as research tools than usability studies, visitor surveys, heatmaps, and persona-based studies. 

Sophisticated practices are lagging

There hasn’t been a corresponding growth in the use of sophisticated testing practices such as segmentation, multivariate testing, and dynamic content. This matches TrustRadius’ finding that, while testing vendors are really excited about personalization, it’s still not a widely adopted practice among testers. Experts and consultants we spoke to see its potential, however, especially as it becomes more automated through machine-learning and predictive capabilities.

You can download the full WhichTestWon report here, and stay tuned for our upcoming Buyer’s Guide to A/B Testing Software.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A New Kid on the Block - Viralheat: An Analytics First Approach to Social Media Monitoring

Executive Interview Series by Vinay Bhagat, CEO

Viralheat is a new entrant in enterprise social media management. Launched as a self-serve freemium offering in 2012 by technologists trying to predict which YouTube videos were going to go viral, it now has its sights firmly set on the enterprise.

I spoke to Jeff Revoy, who joined as CEO in 2013, to learn more about Viralheat’s vision and strategy. This article follows interviews with executives at Sprinklr, Spredfast, Hootsuite and Oracle about the battle for the enterprise within social media management. In full disclosure, venture capital firm Mayfield, who is also an investor in TrustRadius, funds Viralheat.

Analytics Powered Social Media Monitoring

At its essence, Viralheat is a social media monitoring platform and has focused on analytics as its core competency. “We monitor across the entire social web including platforms, blogs, and visual networks,” Jeff says. “Our core is analytics, but you also need to be able to engage so we've added publishing capabilities as we feel that it’s important to have one end-to-end workflow.”

Historically, social monitoring has focused on brand monitoring, sentiment analysis, competitive research, and crisis management. Jeff reports an evolution in this process as social now penetrates other departments in the enterprise stating that Viralheat’s “analytics and engagement capabilities significantly help in areas like customer support, sales, and HR.”

For sales, Viralheat uses social data to predict the likelihood of a consumer to make a purchase. Customer service identifies and flags support queries that come through social channels for follow-up. HR’s use case involves monitoring sites like Glassdoor or Indeed for negative comments about a company and subsequently activating employees to respond.

While social monitoring use cases have spread across functions, the marketing team, as primary users, remains the hub of social media management. Viralheat supports functional use cases through integration with other systems. Jeff shared, “Our core capability is to pull data in and analyze. We are very API based and focus on integrations with other systems that complement the workflow.” For customer support, Viralheat integrates with  Zendesk and Desk.com. For sales, they have built integrations with Salesforce.com and Sugar CRM.

To date, Viralheat has not built specific use-case specific features. “The horizontal solution we provide is sophisticated enough for the use cases we support today, “Jeff says. “However, we do plan to develop more specific capabilities for verticals like retail or e-commerce”.

Customer Adoption

In its first two years, Viralheat provided a freemium self-service product which attracted 25k small business clients. While they have since shifted focus to the enterprise, Jeff believes that initially creating a self-service product helped Viralheat focus on the tool’s ease of use.

Since introducing an enterprise product in Q4 2013, Viralheat has shifted its product development to strengthen this offering. “Our entire go to market focus now is on the enterprise, who represents the bulk of our revenue,” Jeff says. “It’s difficult for companies to straddle SMB and enterprise – both perception wise and in terms of product development. We are very focused on delivering a great product for the mid-market and enterprise.”

They have had some success penetrating certain verticals in the market. Jeff says, “the entertainment industry is a strength. We recently announced a large deal with Variety who is using our sentiment and analytics capabilities. Our retail clients include Ann Taylor and Michael Kors. Given our Silicon Valley location, we also serve technology and telecom companies like Deutsche Telekom HBS and SolarWinds.”

Viralheat does not measure enterprise adoption in terms of seats across departments, but rather in terms of use cases supported. “Ann Taylor is a heavy user but has a small, centralized team. We work with another global brand that has standardized Viralheat across 19 business units.”

When Viralheat is adopted across an enterprise, users sometimes work in a distributed model where the enterprise is standardized on the technology but the local entities are autonomous. In other cases, customers use Viralheat technology with a more centralized model but use features like workflow, teams, and organizations.


Viralheat primarily competes against listening solutions like Sysomos, Radian6 and Brandwatch. It competes to a lesser extent against enterprise engagement platforms like Spredfast, Sprinklr and Hootsuite Enterprise.

When asked why someone picks Viralheat over other listening solutions Jeff answered,“We are a second generation solution and our analytics are actionable. We don’t rely on 3rd parties for analytics because we pull our own data directly from the networks. We are a platform based on machine learning and have strong integration which enables data to be taken into the enterprise.”

When asked to expand upon their analytics capabilities Jeff offered, “There has been a proliferation of what you can monitor, and  we have the ability to process enormous volumes of data – including billions of social mentions per week. Within that volume of data, there is a high noise to relevance ratio. We have a unique ability to pull out the relevant insights and actionable data from that noise.”

When asked about the positioning of large enterprise software companies who pitch their enterprise-wide marketing suites, Jeff reacted, “I agree that social is a key part of the overall marketing mix, however it doesn’t mean you have to buy it all from one vendor.  Salesforce,for example, has not been able to create a true seamless experience even after acquiring Radian6 and BuddyMedia”.

Where They Are Headed

Viralheat plans to continue its focus on analytics. “The volume of data is only going to go up, hence the increased importance and benefit of our ability to process it all and turn it into actionable insights,” Jeff says. Viralheat also plans to work on delivering vertical and use case specific insights.
One method to drive more actionable insights is through deeper collaboration with partner systems.

One of the upcoming integrations Jeff discussed was an integration with marketing automation system Marketo. Jeff shared, “In Marketo, you get a lead score based on visiting a company’s website, and we believe social is an extension of that. Through the use of our proprietary link shortener and analytics, we can also factor social activity into an individual’s lead score if that individual also engages with content on Twitter, Facebook, etc. This increased score may factor into how you engage with the individual.”

Another area of investment is predictive social analytics, i.e. being able to identify purchase intent via social. Jeff expands, “With search, there’s clear intent. With social, there is not. However, it is a forum where people talk openly about themselves, and it’s possible to mine that data for potential buyers engage them. Our goal is to surface predictive insights and pull that data into a CRM so you can move them into different nurture campaign.”

What Customers Think

Viralheat has 18 reviews on TrustRadius, 11 from small/medium businesses (1-50 employees), 3 from mid-market companies (51-500 employees), and 4 from enterprises (500+ employees). The majority of their small clients are legacy self-service clients who have been grandfathered into the new enterprise plan. They are rated very positively with an average likelihood to recommend score of 9.2/10.

Clients report that its strengths are its monitoring, reporting, ease of use and customer support. They also really like its Stream feature: Instead of monitoring many columns of one keyword, we can see all the conversations in one stream. We can even customize the stream to show positive or negative sentiment for particular keywords which really helps when we are doing competitive research.” 

Those who use it for sales also like its lead identification feature: Viralheat uses their lead ID technology to surface users on social media that are potential leads based on what they say on social. The ability to pinpoint users who are already warm and pre- or self-qualified is a major bonus.” 

When discussing areas for improvement, customers would like to see more customization in reporting: “I’d like to be able to customize the analytics and reports a little more. All the information is there, but it would be nice to pick and choose the data we see in one particular dashboard or report.

Another request is more CRM integrations: It would be great for Viralheat to integrate with more companies outside of SFDC and Sugar CRM.”

Stay tuned for a report with a deeper dive into features and customer sentiment on TrustRadius.